Tuesday, 29 September 2009

IET Brunei Visits Total's Onshore Processing Plant

On 11th September 2009, I went with several other IET (Institute of Engineering and Technology) members to visit the TOTAL E&P BORNEO BV (TEPB) Onshore Processing Plant (OPP) in Lumut. I met up with a few members to car pool at about 8am.

The visit was definitely interesting for me though I have no engineering background unlike the other members. After all the expected members have arrived, we got ourselves registered at the guardhouse by the gate of the plant. Visitors with camera are to also register their equipment by filling in another sheet.

We were then brought to the main control building where we heard a safety presentation as well as a presentation on the operations of the plant, including Total's operations within our region. After the presentation, safety gears were distributed. These included overalls, safety boots, gloves, protective eyewear, safety helmets and ear plugs. Those bringing cameras are to wear a gas detector so that on detection of gas, one should stop taking photos for fear the gas leak may cause an explosion spurred by the click of the photographic device.

We were guided to the control room where staff members were on close monitor of the readings taken from site sensors and meters. They measure all sorts of parameters; pressure, temperature, flow, density and so forth. The status and readings of the valves, chambers and pipes are all monitored from a separate computer. This particular system looks similar to the one I saw at a visit to the Public Water Works, which used Geographic Information System (GIS). There were other panels with buttons and screens, all for the purpose of control and monitor.

Next, we visited the plant. The general process goes like this:

The oil would arrive and be fed into the slugcatcher. Here, the liquids and the gas are separated. Because the slugcatcher is made up of a series of inclined pipes, the liquids will flow downwards while the gas being lighter will flow upwards. Solid residues will be left in these inclined pipes.

The liquids are processed to separate and stabilise the condensate and water. These are then delivered to the Seria Crude Oil Terminal (SCOT). The gas are processed to remove mercury and CO2 before they are delivered to Brunei Liquefied Natural Gas Sdn Bhd (BLNG).

The plant looks new but from its proudly displayed safety achievement plaque, it has been running for ten years. IET engineer members were applauding Total's effort for keeping the plant well-maintained. The reservoirs and chambers showed no sign of corrosion and everything looked well-kept.

The last time I learned so much on oil and gas was back in my junior high school years during my geography lessons. Having paid such a visit where I get to see the real thing and listen to the experts, this is extraordinary for me.

Reports on this visit can be found here, here and here

At the entrance of the plant

IET members listening to the presentation

More IET members on the other side of the room

All the boot were huge! Roch, the plant's HSE supervisor, got me size 6 boots for my size 3 feet.

Everyone putting on the safety attire

Staff member explaining the monitoring system in the control room

View of the slugcatcher from the control room

Flare gas meter

Screen showing meter readings

Panels with buttons

Engineer (in SPIE overall) explaining to IET members. SPIE is a French company, like Total, and is hired by Total in HSE.

Group photo with the plant (photo taken by Total HR staff member). I am the smallest person in the picture.

Chambers containing different chemicals and gases

Plug panel

More pipes

Water pipes

Explosion-proof CO2 analyzer

Warning signs

Emergency shower station where water flow is triggered by placing your foot on the hinge below.


Photo of souvenier presentation by one of IET's former chairmen, Hj Sapawi and IET's IPRA, Sam Lee, to Total's Process Engineer, Tan and Supervisor in HSE, Roch.

A proudly displayed "10 years Without Loss Time Injury" plaque

A group photo just before departing from the plant

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Changi Transit Hotel & Jackpot

Thank heavens to transit hotels! I was completely drained after arriving Singapore from Shanghai. Prior to the flight, I was actually excited to touch down in Changi, thinking of the shopping I can do. But the complete opposite happened. All three of us were exhausted and we found ourselves earnestly (no kidding!) looking for the Ambassador Transit Hotel at Terminal Two.

I was coming down with a cold as I was having a sore throat. We had to wait for about an hour before the room is ready. So, all three of us lazed at the nearest couch right in front of the reception counter. We were all too tired to care about how unsightly we might have looked. The staff were nice and left us to do whatever that was comfortable for us.

When we finally got the room and was in it, ahh.. what wonders! The bed was so comfy and the room clean and spacious. I slept for a good number of hours. It felt SO GOOD! And, they have a nice spacious bathroom. The big shower tap had such good water pressure, I wished we have more water on Earth for me to stay in the shower for another 5 minutes! We, three little Bruneian ladies, were so delighted and were well-comforted by the room facilities of the transit hotel. There's only one little minus point; the room has no windows and the drapes hung over the wall by the study table hides a non-existent window. We thought the room rates were reasonable. You stay for a minimum of 6 hours for a charge of about S$60 and for each extended hour, you pay S$15. Thank you, transit hotel! I have never felt so well-rested since a long time!

The time says 6.51am. This was minutes before I got knocked out in bed by exhaustion. Forget the delayed baggage or wearing the same clothes for days. The bed's so wonderful, the shower too!

We woke up with a few hours to spare. So, window shopping it was for me. My sis got some perfumes which influenced me to getting one, the Paul Smith's summer edition of Rose. And, she got herself a few trials at the big slot machine. Well, what do you know? She won a S$77 and a S$7 vouchers! We didn't know what to spend it on and finally threw a celebration meal for all three of us at airport's DeliFrance. It was all so swell. This marks the end of my journal entry for Tibet. It was an adventure and definitely life-changing for me. I'm glad the travel agent I signed the trip with managed to get me in despite the circumstance. I hope the whole world will attain the peace like the one I felt while in the countryside of Tibet.

Sis wanted a picture of the slot machine which I didn't take earlier. So, yeah, thank you for the S$84, Mr Slot Machine! Erm, slot machines don't look female to me.

Monday, 14 September 2009

Shanghai Night lights, Huangpu River Cruise

We visited a Chinese pharmaceutical before going on the Huangpu River Cruise. Much like the medical centre we had visited in Tibet, they offer free consultation to tourists where they would take your pulse and explain to you what illness you may have. If you are lucky, you will get a Chinese doctor who's genuine about the free consultation while others may be a little pushy about getting you a prescription. Again, a pharmaceutical pushing for sales under the guise of a free consultation offer to help people just got me reeking of disrespect and contempt. And, these doctors that are a little too enterprising to my liking happened to be females, both in Shanghai and Tibet medical centres. One even said this to my sister, "If you do not buy, you will regret". Now you see where my onion attitude is coming from.

We had a scrumptious Shanghai dinner, which I now have little recollection of. It is the result of seven days of Chinese food in all three meals of the day. Having said this, I feel a sense of guilt as I remember the level of poverty in Tibet. Sigh.

The river cruise is not too different from the one in Hong Kong. The colourful lights from the buildings painted the river. Two things got me excited. First, it was the full moon that appeared. As the boat moved, the moon began to align itself perfectly with the aperture of the Shanghai World Financial Centre, making it visible through it from the boat. What strange coincidence that was! The moon that night was strangely shrouded by the clouds as it appeared to have a section cut off or like another piece of sky has just been put partially over it. Second, the display lights coming from the walls of some of the buildings are amazing. They looked like billboards with moving images.

City lights reflected on the river

Blue on night waters

Night lights of a city

The moon is coincidentally appearing at the same height as the aperture of the Shanghai World Financial Centre, currently the tallest building in the world by its roof.

Tada! The moon "trapped" in the aperture. The aperture is said to resemble a Chinese moon gate but its purpose is to reduce wind pressure.

It's pretty watching the buildings glitter like diamonds. The tower on the left is the Oriental Pearl Tower, said to be the current tallest tower in Asia.

Moon just about to be covered by the clouds

Moon looking like it's covered by another piece of the sky

Moon completely covered but still shining so bright

Beautiful lights from the buildings

The visuals coming from Citi Bank's building is the prettiest as the butterfly flapped its wings as it moved towards the flowers

Beautiful steel latticed roof of Jin Mao Tower. It looks so regal in the dark. Almost like a magnified diamond crested on a ring.

By the end of the cruise, everyone's rushing out.

Life in Shanghai & Fenshine Plaza

Like a microfilm slide show, I watched intently at people in the crowded and busy city of Shanghai. We are now heading towards Fenshine Fashion and Accessories Plaza, which really is like Chatuchak (Jatujak or JJ Market) of Thailand except, what scaled in breadth is now squashed and pushed upwards to make up in height. It kinda saves you from walking too much especially when you're buying a lot of things. With its many floors, Fenshine brings to you all sorts of items; clothes, bags, shoes, cosmetics, toys, electronics, luggage and so forth, and all with prices which you can bargain with courage and confidence. Be ready to say no when you are being persistently obliged by shopkeepers to visit their shops. This is especially true for shopkeepers whose shops are located in the upper floors where not many tourists go as we are already drawn in so quickly by what is offered in the first few floors. This is not a warning to stop you from venturing further but rather to keep shopkeepers from pestering you. Competition is stiff in these shops as they are selling similar products. So, do look around before making a hasty purchase. I remember a shoes and bags shop which is selling nicer stuff than the ones below. So, keep a look if you have time.

Another alley shot and we have here a man cycling with a cigarette in his mouth

An ordinary looking house

Boy with dyed golden hair

Wooden sticks as scaffoldings rather than the metal bars we use back home

A family at a busstop

Gloomy-looking Shanghai

"Karang guni" or junk dealer in Shanghai with a really huge bulk of stuff on his bicycle

The toilet in Fenshine Plaza

Wall of advertisements, Fenshine Plaza

Man with many mineral water bottles tied to his bike

Fenshine Plaza sign

A pedestrian dashing to cross the road

Fruit stall and people in cycles

Old building that looks like a club

Old terraced houses

Built up of traffic at certain routes

An interesting looking architecture

Rollercoaster rails of highway