A group of Oil & Gas students visited PDO-Oil & Gas Exhibition Center and Oman Refineries Petrochemical Industrial Company (ORPIC) at Mina Al Fahal, Muscat on March 06, 2016. The group was comprised of 31 students (14 males and 17 females) and 2 faculty staff advisers, namely, Dr. Antonio and Eng’r. Chandilyan.
NCT’s objectives for this industrial visit include the identification of petroleum production set-ups and refinery equipment units, the understanding of flow separation and reaction processes, and the appreciation of interdependent operations within the petrochemical plant.
The half-day visit at PDO Planetarium and Oil & Gas Exhibition Center (from 9:30 AM – 12:30 PM) was made possible through the help of Mr. Suleiman Hilal Al Bausaidi, PDO curator. The remaining half-day (from 1:30 – 4:30PM) was spent at ORPIC through the kind permission and consent of Mr. Isam Al Shibani, ORPIC General Manager.
First Destination: PDO Planetarium
The students were comfortably seated inside the Planetarium where an audio-visual presentation was moderated by Mr. Suleiman Hilal Al Bausaidi of PDO. He discussed the origin of stars and planets as well as their significant connections to our planet earth. He also reviewed our students on the basics of the solar system and the universe. The initial discussion was followed by a short animated film which featured the possibility of other planets in the galaxy to harbor life. Mr. Suleiman’s explanations, in Arabic and English, were highly commendable.
Second Destination: PDO Oil & Gas Exhibition Center (Oil & Gas Museum)
The students then proceeded to the Oil & Gas Exhibition Center where the curator, Mr. Saud Al Hasmi, allowed the group to have a tour inside, and to view different sections of the Center. Starting from petroleum origins, lithology of reservoirs, oil rigs, drilling process, horizontal mud-motor equipment, pipeline inspection gadgets (PIG) and up to the enhanced oil recovery (EOR) technology applied in Harweel, Fahud and Marmul, students inspected each display with ardent interest and curiosity. Students were split into teams and managed by two lecturers (Dr. Antonio and Eng’r. Chandilyan) in explaining all objects and demonstrators on display.
It was actually here that our students easily related their fundamental knowledge in Oil & Gas engineering. After scrutinizing each tool or each process unit, they began to understand more about actual mechanisms or concepts involved in petroleum engineering. In fact, some students were able to identify possible topics for their Diploma Projects in the next semester.
Third Destination: ORPIC Refinery and Petrochemical Plant
NCT student group and staff were met at the gate by ORPIC personnel at around 1:30 PM, through the assistance of Ms. Ahlam and Ms. Aliya. Upon reaching the receiving area, briefing was done immediately by the ORPIC Training Department on Operations (crude oil distillation, platforming, alkylation, naphtha treating, cracking, sulfur removal, sulfur recovery, mercaptan oxidation or MEROX, and safety procedures). According to Eng’r. Jamal, the processing capacity of Mina Al Fahal or MAF refinery is approximately 106,000 barrels per day as of 2016.
ORPIC Eng’rs Yousuf, Jamal and Yasser have explained to our students the overall crude-oil refining process in the most basic way. From the main oil pipeline, Oman’s crude oil is processed in two main refineries: (1) Mina Al Fahal ORPIC plant, and (2) Sohar Refinery plant. Crude oil components are distilled or separated with respect to their boiling points, and these fractionated portions (LPG, gasoline, naptha, kerosene, diesel, and heavy fuels) are processed further to come up with more purified products of high quality, for example, improvement of octane rating of gasoline (Research Octane Number or RON), or reformulation of kerosene into aircraft or jet-fuel.
A safari-like trip to the refinery and storage depot (tank farm) inside ORPIC premises was conducted by Eng’r. Yousuf Abdullah, an alumnus of NCT. He has elucidated important points about plant equipment, processes, operations, and best safety practices at MAF crude oil refinery. The NCT activity at ORPIC ended at 5:30PM.
In conclusion, although quite exhausting, it was a very purposeful and inspiring industrial tour, both for NCT students and lecturers.
On behalf of the Diploma students in Oil & Gas Engineering, we are grateful to the following people for making this Industrial Visit possible and meaningful:
• Dr. Hafidh Taher Ba Omar, Dean of NCT, for approving and encouraging this industrial visit to ORPIC
• Dr. Khalid Zayed Al Muharrami, AD for Academic Affairs, for approving and supporting this industrial visit to ORPIC.
• Mr. Ismail Al Riyami, HoD Business Center, for his full coordination with ORPIC, PDO’s Planetarium and Oil & Gas Exhibition Center.
• Mr. Isam Al Shibani, ORPIC General Manager, for permitting and allowing us to enter ORPIC premises, refineries and chemical plant.
• ORPIC Engineers : Yousuf, Jamal, and Yasser, and ORPIC Staff: Ms. Ahlam and Ms. Aliya, for their gracious accommodation and for sharing their knowledge about crude oil refining and ORPIC operations.
• Dr. Saravanan, HoD Engineering, and Mr. Fazal, HoS, for their support to our Diploma students in Oil & Gas to push through with this industrial visit.
• Ms. Munira Mansur, Administrative Affairs, for her close supervision and monitoring of the activity.
• Mr. Mohammed Al Abadi, HoD Administrative Affairs, for his efforts in arranging the transportation.
• Mr. Lafi (our driver), for his patience and understanding all throughout the trip.
• Mr. Suleiman Hilal Al Bausaidi of PDO, for his interesting discussion at the Planetarium
• Mr. Saud Al Hasmi of PDO, for allowing us to visit the Oil & Gas Exhibition Center
• Mr. Jamal Said Al Sinawi of PDO, for his tireless effort in sharing his knowledge in Renewable Energy technology
Thank you very much for your help and assistance on this activity.
Report Prepared by:
Dr. Antonio L. Mateo, Jr., Lecturer – Oil & Gas Engineering
Engr. Chandilyan Sivaraj, Lecturer – Oil & Gas Engineering