Meeting Archives

2000 Fall: Houston, TX, October 5

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Crude Oil Quality Association
Houston, TX
October 5, 2000

The meeting agenda was distributed to those in attendance. There were 41 attendees of which 14 paid the attendance fee.

Legal Review of Anti-Trust – Tish Marshall, COQA Facilitator reminded all attendees to review the Standard Setting Rules prior to each meeting.

Quality Banks – Mr. Max Cummings of Allocation Specialists, Ltd. (ASL) spoke to the groupabout quality bank management. The purpose of a Quality Bank is to mitigate, to the fullest extent possible, damage and/or improvements to shippers whose oil is commingled in a common stream crude oil pipeline system. Differences in sulfur and gravity of all the shippers’ oils that are mixed within the common crude stream in the pipeline system either increase or decrease the quality of the common stream. The quality bank charges the shipper or pays the shipper depending on the quality of the common stream and the shipper crude. Currently, quality banks are set up on gravity and sulfur but could be managed on other parameters, HTSD data for instance. ASL, as the quality bank manager, calculates the gravity and sulfur differential, invoices the members, handles the receipts and disburses the payments. Quality banks are managed by ASL for several Gulf of Mexico pipeline systems, including Poseidon, Eugene Island, Auger, Mars, Delta and Gravcap Inc. which includes Bonito, Whitecap, Ship Shoal, and Capline pipeline systems.

ASL appreciated the opportunity to service the industry in Quality Bank management and would be glad to assist all shippers in establishing any new banks.

TAN in Crude Oil – Ms. Michelle Moffitt of BetzDearborn defined Total Acid Number in crude oil and discussed ways of dealing with it.  TAN technically is the number of milligrams of KOH/gm of sample that is required to titrate a sample to a specified endpoint. NAN is an analytical method developed to remove the interference from the TAN method. NAN is a better indicator of corrosivity but a harder test to perform. A TAN as low as 0.5 could be problematic but it really depends on the refinery kit and the distribution of NAN in the crude.

There are many ways of dealing with the corrosivity indicated by a TAN or NAN number. Corrosion inhibitors film the metal surface to prevent contact with the acid. There are no current chemistries to adequately neutralize the acidity so a complete corrosion monitoring program is usually necessary to assess the degree of the problem to the refinery and to find the best way to deal with the specific situation.

HLS and LLS Quality Data - Mr. Bill Hlavaty of Williams Energy discussed iron and calcium in crude oil and the operational and mechanical difficulties they caused at the Williams Memphis, TN refinery.  The Memphis refinery configuration dictates a low metal, low concarbon crude slate. Although the sulfur and gravity did not reflect the problem, Williams encountered high levels of iron and calcium in the resid fraction of the crude slate. The contamination led to poisoned catalyst that had to be replaced with consequent lower throughput and feedstock inventory build. The source of the extraneous iron/calcium was suspected to be previous cargoes on foreign crude delivery vessels. Williams’s ongoing plans to guard against future problems include a focus on desalting and an in-depth analysis of the logistics system employed with any crude delivery.

Methanol in Crude – Mr. Joe Clemens of Unocal Corp addressed the group with questions concerning the effects of methanol in crude on refineries. A discussion ensued as to why methanol is such problem for refineries. It is primarily a concern in the wastewater effluent as the methanol renders the HC eating bacteria less effective and, thus, permit excursions can occur. The ability of a refinery to handle methanol varies considerably but all agree that "slugs" of methanol are very difficult for most refineries to handle. Water washing at the production end is about 85% effective. It is desirable to follow washing with settling time to increase the removal.

(Please note: Methanol and other production chemicals have been brought up to the COQA many times. To address these concerns more fully, the COQA is establishing a subcommittee to discuss these chemicals and their detrimental effects and suggest possible ways of handling them. The subcommittee will meet for the first time at our next meeting.)

Overview of Crude Oil Quality Round Robin No. 10 - Mr. Gerald Lekberg of Williams presented the results of Round Robin No. 10, HLS crude.  Forty-four samples were distributed, 28 labs returned results in time for tabulation. The first sample for the ASTM Round Robin was sent to 85 participants. Anyone desiring information on the ASTM crosscheck program can contact Clifford Mills of Conoco or ASTM directly on 610 832-9682.

Report on Water Measurement Discussion Group - The discussion paper was finalized at the morning session and will be distributed to all COQA members. Anyone interested in reviewing the paper before final dissemination should please contact the COQA facilitator

Capline Common Stream Parameters Update – Ms. Patti Edens of Equilon Pipeline reported that the LLS specification program is going extremely well with only two excursions reported so far in 2000. 

Mid-Continent Testing/Analyses Update – Mr. Rick Barrett updated the group on Equilon Pipeline’s efforts to deliver on-spec Domestic Sweet and Super Sweet at Cushing.  The enforcement program previously instituted was not working well so a team strategy was put together by all connecting carriers and Equilon Pipeline. Instead of a punitive program, the new strategy is in the form of a shared goal to deliver on-spec crude. Training sessions and meetings were held and alarm points established. The alarm points are set at a level to guarantee that Cushing receipts do not exceed the 0.42% specification. When the alarm point is reached, the carrier is given an hour to fix the situation before shut down occurs. After three months, no violations on the composite samples of all receipts at all incoming stations have occurred.

Aaron Dillard of Conoco reiterated the discontinuation of the Basin testing program Although a Shippers’ Summit to discuss Mid-continent pipeline quality issues has not yet been forthcoming, it is still planned for sometime in the future, possibly first quarter of next year. In the interim, the Basin Subcommittee will work on drafting a letter to be signed by all shippers and sent to all carriers reiterating the need for quality in crude oil.

Update on CCQTA Projects – Mr. Bruce Kennedy of PetroCanada updated us on the Canadian projects.  A well service company has announced the development of a phosphorous free fracturing chemistry, which is slated for commercial operation this fall. This is a very significant development for the petroleum industry. Work continues on the other projects: crude testing, relaxation of BS&W specification and additive screening.

COQA Web Site and Budget Report – The COQA director presented the financial report for the first eight months of 2000.

Other Business – The Water Measurement Discussion group was disbanded as the Discussion Paper has been finalized. A new subcommittee to study production chemicals will be instituted at the next COQA meeting.

Next Meeting - The next meeting will be held in New Orleans on February 1.

Tish Marshall, COQA Facilitator