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2016 UPTIME AWARDS WINNER Best Green Reliability Program

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2016 UPTIME AWARDS WINNER Best Green Reliability Program

by Brian J. Pertuit

LOOP LLC operates the only crude oil deepwater port complex in the United States, consisting of an off-loading facility in the Gulf of Mexico and pipeline, storage and domestic terminaling facilities in southeastern Louisiana. The deepwater port complex is a vital energy hub, with pipeline connections to approximately 50 percent of the nation’s refining capacity. The Clovelly Hub facility can store over 70 million barrels of crude in belowground caverns and aboveground tanks. LOOP’s unique pumping systems can transport crude at rates in excess of 100,000 barrels per hour on multiple, interconnected pipelines.

In 2011, LOOP initiated a vision of becoming market driven and operationally excellent. Related strategies and tactical objectives were developed and implemented early on, and are now being enhanced for its future successes in the evolving petroleum market. As LOOP’s strategic planning process evolved, the company identified a specific strategy to provide dependable and secure execution of services that add value to its customers and owners. The uptime or availability of assets, along with its environmental stewardship and energy consumption reduction, are all considered critical components of LOOP’s business performance. These initiatives, therefore, align with the company’s vision for a successful future. Its proactive systems and programs have changed LOOP’s culture, as evident by the statistics, but also in normal coffee break talks in the breakrooms and actions throughout its facilities. LOOP continues to plan its work and work its plans, making it habitual to seek opportunities for continuous improvement in all aspects of the business, always and everywhere throughout its facilities and even in the company’s third-party service shops.

The results have been rewarding, as the company achieved a record 99.75 percent uptime on its main oil line (MOL) assets in 2013. LOOP remains over 99 percent and has now exceeded 98 percent uptime for over eight years. In 2014, LOOP won the Uptime® Awards for Best Work Execution Management Program and is honored to have recently received the 2016 Uptime Awards for Best Green Reliability Program as well.

In 2015, LOOP handled 875,646,384 barrels of crude (that’s 36.8 billion gallons) at its Clovelly Hub in Cut Off, Louisiana; 445,309,410 barrels in and 430,336,974 barrels out. Though LOOP recorded 12 reportable releases that year – the company reports every drop of potentially hazardous fluid that enters the water – the total volume released was only five ounces or less than one cup. That ratio of throughput to release volume is a new record for LOOP, but its target goal is always zero for both safety and environmental incidents, so there is more work to be done.

The company also established a five-year goal in 2013 to reduce its energy consumption per barrel of crude oil transported by 15 percent when compared to its 2012 baseline numbers. This was accomplished in less than two years and LOOP continues to decrease energy consumption through 2017, as the company is now consuming over 26 percent less energy per barrel than it did when compared to 2012 usage. By the end of 2015, energy consumption had decreased over 21.5 percent when compared to the benchmark year in an inverse relationship to its increased throughput and equipment uptime, as shown in Figure 1.

figure 1 Figure 1: Energy consumption reduction per barrel of crude oil transported

LOOP converts diesel consumed for its offshore platform, support vessels and onshore facilities, as well as helicopter fuel, to a common unit of energy: a kilowatt-hour (kWh). This energy consumption is then added to its electricity usage at its onshore facilities, which is also tracked in kWhs. The company then calculates how many kWhs it takes to move a barrel of crude oil at LOOP (kWh/barrel). Engineering, reliability, operations and maintenance have worked hand in hand to pioneer new ways to optimize the company’s marine terminal (MT) MOL pumps so they operate at their best efficiency point most of the time. Operational changes to oil movements and scheduling, as well as optimization of the company’s boat and helicopter usage, have significantly reduced LOOP’s energy consumption per barrel. The company continuously strives to become even leaner as it realizes this is good for both the business and the environment. LOOP understands and appreciates Terrence O’Hanlon’s, CEO of Reliabilityweb.com® and the creator of the Uptime Awards, theory of the triple bottom line of people, planet and profit, and supports and encourages those related initiatives within its work groups.

LOOP made a commitment after its first Uptime Award in 2014 not to camp out at success or rest on its laurels. Among the many investments in growth and continuous improvement efforts, the company has enhanced a warehousing program and is now enhancing its condition-based monitoring program for field assets. Another investment recently completed successfully on budget, ahead of schedule and without incident was the replacement of the marine terminal living quarters on the control platform in the Gulf of Mexico. The old living quarters were in service for over 35 years. The effort included two critical lifts exceeding 700 tons (out with the old) and 800 tons (in with the new), as shown in Figure 2. This quarters building not only provides office space and housing for personnel, it is also the point from which LOOP’s critical vessel traffic control system is operated and maintained. A larger helipad was also installed above the quarters. As part of the replacement project, higher efficiency HVAC systems were installed, as well as LED lighting, which consumes about 40 percent of the amount of electricity that incandescent lighting uses. The building itself was also sealed tight and designed for positive pressure, thus preventing moisture intrusion and energy losses due to air leaks. With this project, LOOP reinvested both in the company and the safety of its personnel.

figure 2 Figure 2: LOOP marine terminal living quarters and helipad replacement project, 2015

In 2015, LOOP also introduced a green initiative to reduce the quantity of mislabeled waste drums throughout all operating facilities. This effort helps reduce ineffective landfill selection and management practices by segregating and labeling oily rags and other hazardous waste correctly, as well as normal waste and recyclables. Company efforts were very successful; out of 813 drums inspected, only one was improperly labeled (Figure 3). Therefore, LOOP achieved a 99.88 percent success rate for proper labeling and characterizing of waste drums in 2015. The one drum found in error was corrected prior to being transported for off-site disposal, so the company was actually 100 percent successful with this initiative overall.

figure 3 Figure 3: Improved waste management is another green initiative at LOOP’s operating facilities

This proves, just as in asset health management, with well-placed efforts and effective leadership operators can successfully manage what is measured. As always, data quality is important when it comes to metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs), as well as relevance. The company learned to measure the things that should be managed and where a cultural evolution has already taken place to eliminate data tracking that is no longer pertinent. This leaning out of its metrics and KPIs allows the company more time to focus on current, relevant objectives and tactics that are being embedded into its positive, proactive processes.

In 2017, LOOP is implementing the recommendations set forth in the American Petroleum Institute’s RP1173 for a more structured and integrated pipeline safety management system. This includes a Deming cycle style of plan-do-check-act (or adjust) component for all its processes and programs, starting with risk assessments and mitigation evaluations at all operating facilities. Although this was a recommendation and not a regulatory compliance requirement, the company opted to get ahead of the game by improving where it can as early as it can in the process. There are similarities between API RP1173 and ISO55000, so LOOP’s efforts are yielding a win-win for the company and its assets.

All LOOP employees, its owners and strategic contract partners are very proud of its stellar team performance and successes. As stated in 2014 and again with its 2016 award:

With an embedded, proactive culture, a clear focus on “getting it right” and a passion for “continuous improvement,” LOOP continues its journey toward operational excellence.

figure 4 Figure 4: LOOP leadership team (all members not present due to other commitments)