AOMG benchmarks outside the industry for best practice

Category: News Published: Friday, 21 June 2013

The 3rd AOMG Technical Workshop 2013 was held at Hyatt Regency Kuantan Resort from June 17 – 18, 2013 with the theme of waste minimization and safe handling of hydrogen gas. Unlike previous workshops the first day was a field trip to visit best in class companies. The workshop was attended by 20 participants from Indonesia and Malaysia and included production managers & engineers, maintenance engineers, safety and loss prevention leaders, SHE manager & superintendant, process engineer, manufacturing director, general manager and a COO.

The first company visited on Monday morning was BASF-PETRONAS Chemicals in Gebeng. The presentation and factory tour was led by Dato' Ir Jeffrey Khor Chooi Beng, General Manager - Operations Technical and Dr Azir Salleh, Manager – Environment. We learnt that BASF is people focussed and places their safety as priority. It is also very much into CSR with initiatives covering a radius of 25km of its operations. The Verbund concept lends itself to sustainability eg the ‘waste’ of one block is the feed for another block.  We were briefed on how the environment is managed with respect to water, air, noise and waste. Members discussed at length the challenges of totally reusing treated waste water that already met discharge standards.

In the afternoon participants visited the Air Products Malaysia hydrogen generation plant in Kuantan port. Mr Chin Jun Fu, the H2 Operations Manager, received us with several members of his team from the rest of Malaysia as well as Singapore. We were given a briefing and a factory tour. On the way back to the hotel participants visited a tourist spot viz the Batu Hitam beach and made a shopping stop for Kuantan’s famous seafood especially salted fish.
In the evening FPG Oleochemicals hosted a seafood BBQ dinner for participants at the ‘Coals on the beach’. Our thanks to FPG Oleochemicals.
Tuesday morning started with a briefing by the Air Products team on their capability, their operations and maintenance management as well as the safe handling of hydrogen gas.  Air Products is committed to be an industry leader in environmental, health and safety performance in managing their businesses. Mr Chin’s briefing included how they applied safety techniques such as Hazard and Operability (HAZOP) study, Safety Integrity Level (SIL) Assessment and Layer of Protection Analysis (LOPA) methodology. Mr Wong Fok Gee, Senior General Manager, PT Musim Mas facilitated the discussions that followed.

Ir Qua Kiat Seng, IChemE’s Industry Partnership Liaison then spoke on the need for passing on of knowledge to the younger generation which is a reason for the annual AOMG workshops. He showed that the issue is not unique to the oleochemical industry.  He referred to the quote “There is no new accidents in major hazards, it’s just new people making the old accidents.” He used the example of catastrophic incidents involving ammonium nitrate starting with Oppau in 1921 to West in 2013. He closed his talk by showing the competencies required of a professional process safety engineer.

After lunch Mr Ng Wooi Heong, Production Manager, Acidchem International, facilitated observations and discussions on the previous day’s visit to BASF-PETRONAS Chemicals before the workshop ended.

 First time participant, Rajesh Xavier, MPD Ester/Loss Elimination Program Owner, FPG Oleochemicals said, “It was a very rewarding learning experience for myself, especially on benchmarking sustainability-related practices at BPC against what is being implemented at FPG. The detailed briefing & discussion on H2 gas safe handling practices certainly helped to deepen my understanding on the subject, since it relates closely to the activities at FPG.

I have also managed to network with the participants from the oleochemical industry and learn more about their organizations.  This new found network would help greatly in terms of sharing best practices & other industry-relevant information in the industry.

Personally, I'm looking forward to future events organized by AOMG, be it technical workshops or seminars conducted locally.

Participants suggested for next year's workshop to be held in Medan to cover process safety techniques such as LOPA.

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