Mr. Anthony Afangide is the Manager of Ventek Global Solutions Nigerian and the Manager of Operations of the Company in West Africa.
In this interview with Emeka Chukwuaku he tells you need to know Oil and Gas Terminal Audit, bunker survey and Petroleum Storage Tank Calibration. Read on
Sir, What is Oil and Gas Terminal Audit?
Oil and Gas Terminal Audit has to do with the ability of an inspection firm just as we are to be able to give account of movement of oil in and out of a particular terminal. For instance you may be having many people storing their cargoes in a Particular terminal under throughput. Through-put is a situation where you give somebody your tank to store cargo for a particular period of time and he pays for the time. What you do is to safeguard and manage the cargo of the person until the time period elapses. Often, there is a percentage of about 5% of the cargo agreed to be given to you for taking care of the cargo, it is called through-put agreement.
When an inspection firm like ours is contracted to do a job, and suppose the contractor is a bank, or any other firm who may not be apportuned to be at the site regularly, what we do is that we become the eye of the bank so that no sharp practice should take place. So, we take inventory of the cargo and report to the bank and update them on daily basis on what is happening.
We can also do that for a whole terminal and giving them report of activities in the terminal on daily basis.
Oil and Gas terminal Audit also entails knowing the temperature and measuring of the volume of the cargo to a certain standard in other to know the weight.
Atmosphere temperature also affects the volume of a product. When a cargo is measured, its temperature will be determined. We use a thermometer called volume correction factor to convert it to standard volume.
One funny thing is that the product can be lower in volume but the weight still remains the same. For instance a vessel that was loaded in Russia that have a very cold weather with for instance 20,000 liters of PMS will amount to about 25,000 liters here in Nigeria because of the temperature of the two regions. Nigeria is a very hot region compared to Prussia. When this happens, it does not mean that there was a mistake. In terms of weight, it is the same quantity loaded in Russia that we received here. It only increased in volume but the weight remains the same.
What is bunker survey?
To answer that question, we have to know what is bunker first before we talk about the survey. Just as you have petrol or gas, bunker is the fuel ship barges use for movement. Bunker here is very difficult from the army bunker we used to. Bunker is just ship’s fuel in a very simplitistic term. When you talk about bunker survey, we are talking about inspection done to ascertain the quantity and quality of bunker. For instance if one charters a ship to obtain bunker from another ship which is at may be Lome, what Veritek does if they are contracted by the charterer is to go there to cheek everywhere, where they have storage facility for Bunker calculate, tell you what was there. There is what we call on hire and off hire survey, the on hire is to let you the quantity before you take up the hiring and the off hire is when we must have finished, we tell you the quantity now compared to before.
You know ’sharp’ practices happen everywhere even on board a ship, a ship can divert bunker, so if we carry this survey, the probability of this happening will be drastically minimized. So we prevent it from happening, that’s why we check the bunker and the cargo to make sure. Even whether the person that contracted asked us to do it or not, we will do it because we know it is going to affect our job.
How do you carryout the quality and quantity control on petroleum products?
We do a Laboratory analysis. We have technical’s to that effect. Already department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) has laid down standards, we check whatever result we have from the laboratory against that standard, if does not conform to that stand, then it is either adulterated or fake or rather substandard.
Does that mean that every vessel carrying petroleum product into the country is subjected to that laboratory test analysis of whether it is up to standard?
No, it is not every vessel, it is only if we are asked to do it on maybe suspicions of that. PPMC also have their inspection agents called GMD, these people test product for quality, the same thing we do if we are contracted to do it. You are the one to tell us what you want, if it is about the quality, we go there, take the sample to the laboratory and analyse.
What is the storage Tank Calibration?
We have three licences from DPR, one for quantity control inspection one for qulity which we have talked about and the other one for calibration. Well, calibration is a process where calibrators use their technical expertise to determine the measurement of any storage tank to determine the volume at every level. They use a calibration tape or UTI Haulage Temperature Interphase. When this devise touches oil, it gives out a beeping sound and that will help the calibrator to determine the level, thus the volume. You can also use the tape, but this will only give you the level of the oil and not the quantity. It is the calibration devise that will let you know the volume.
What is the difference between the level and the quantity?
The level is where the product inside a tank reaches, but does that give you the quantity or the volume, no. you only know that it stopped at a particular point but that does not give you the volume or the quantity. You can only determine that using calibration. There other mathematical jargons which you may not understand involved in it.
Does calibration has anything to do with metering?
Metering is a different aspect but it is also calibrated as well. The Tank farms you see around have a calibration department. Calibration must be carried out before the volume I determined. The calibrators become handy when the tank farms have products in them. Even road tankers are also calibrated as well,. In all this, there is one particular that should be maintained. There is what is called safe level. The tanker should not be filed to the brim; they have to give room for evaporation to avoid explosion.