Container system Ex p

 - an optimized solution in Oil- & Gas-plants

Figure 1: Container system ready for transport

The current situation in the Oil- & Gas-industry:
It is common knowledge, our world is still growing in population. Latest insights show a world population increasing from 6.5 billion to more than 9 billion in 2050. This results in a similar development towards our world energy hunger. Of course energy saving techniques will have some effect, but the energy requirements are expected to grow from the approximately 550 EJ of today to more than 700 EJ in 2030.
Globally, European-wide, and country-specific scenarios show 10% to 25% shares of primary energy coming from renewable sources by 2030. Taditional sources such as coal, oil and gas will remain quite stable. Especially for natural gas there will be even more growth.

Figure 2: Shares of raw oil varieties at deposit claims

Taking a look at those traditional sources with a focus on Oil & Gas, it is a fact that the largest oil & gas reserves have already been discovered in the last 40 years. Main reserves are scattered on smaller and medium scale sites. Available recoverable Oil & Gas reserves are concentrated in Northern Europe, North-East Europe, the Middle East, Africa, North America and Asia.
A closer look at the types of oil reserves:

  • 30% Conventional Oil
  • 30 % Oil sands (Bitumen)
  • 25% Extra heavy Oil
  • 15% Heavy oil

The non-conventional type of oil reserves increase the effort an techniques required for exploration, and the overall difficulty of exploration of these reserves.
The location of the exploration wells is becoming more extreme; colder, warmer and more remote locations that increase the production costs even further. Illustrating this fact is the number of onshore and offshore rigs between 1996 and 2011. The number of active rigs in the 90’s was around 2000 units. By November 2011 this had increased to more than 3500 active rigs.
Therefore, we can expect that the number of exploration wells will increase over the next 20 years, as our world energy hunger rises and renewables do not offer a real alternative. The main Oil & Gas reserves will shift to a harsher environment (warm/cold/deepwater etc.) and are scattered over more exploration wells.

Figure 3: Oil derrick in rough area in Sibiria

Together we invent the solution!
Another well known fact is that the Oil & Gas industry is in search of qualified and experienced personnel. With oil and gas usage expected to increase, combined with more demanding exploration techniques, the industry needs to invest more and more effort, developing new extraction techniques to keep and increase current levels of production. The average age of the employees in our industry is approximately 55 years. This means that the majority of employees will retire in the next 10 to 15 years. Add the fact that the oil and gas business is known as a heavy work environment, this makes it difficult to attract young workers.
The oil and gas business is in need of experienced, qualified and responsible suppliers. STAHL experiences this increasing demand as an Ex , NEC, ATEX and IEC Ex partner every day. System solutions based on expertise, system capability and responsibility are becoming more and more important. Offering system solutions is a role we have embraced with enthusiasm for more than 50 years.

The historical approach for shelters, Remote (instrument) Buildings
The common approach in the case of supplying shelter solutions is that the work is mostly executed by multiple parties, such as: local contractors for utility buildings, contractors for electrical installations, control vendors & system integrators, and OEMs (Original Equipment Vendors). This results in a demanding and complex project management, not only logistically but also functionally. It is also not to be forgotten that certification, testing and explosion protection should be guaranteed by all parties involved. End-users are or should be fully aware that they are dealing with shared responsibility in this matter as they have final responsibility for safety. Furthermore, working with multiple parties often results in additional overhead costs and extra finalizing time to gather all the required information, of which the End-user should also be informed.

The Transportable Ventilated Container (TVC)
Form follows function, an engineering concept is ingrained in our organization. With 50 years of experience in dealing with unit control panels placed in hazardous environments, we have come to realize that the purpose and function of the TVC is more important than the shape of the unit.
The TVC principle offers a new approach to modular trending with functionality, combined with full certified explosion protection as a logical but important factor. A TVC is constructed in such a way that the internal atmosphere has a guaranteed safe non-hazardous atmosphere enabling application of several pieces of electrical equipment such as control systems, VSD (Variable Speed Drive), workshops and complete equipment packages.
As sensitive instruments will be placed in the TVC, the functions of these units are critical in securing the quality of the production process of our customers. Moreover, an incident is not allowed to escalate into a catastrophe. It is therefore understood that we will not compromise on the safety or quality of our TVC solution. We do not only believe in the current trend of increasing safety standards in the industry, we endorse them. We build in accordance to the ATEX- and IECEx- and NEC-guidelines.

Figure 4: The 3 functional units A, B and C of the R. STAHL Ex p container system

Function principle
The units comply to one of the following criteria:

  • Typ TVC-ev, positive pressure differential for environmental protection (A), 
  • Typ TVP-op, positive pressure differential to maintain a safe operation environment (B),
  • Typ TVC-up, negative pressure differential to avoid an inside accumulation of gas (C).
Figure 5: Standardized TVC design with sunroof

The heart of the TVC package
Pressurization by means of ventilation is executed with a unique integrated explosion protected modular range of standardized HVAC. The double function of these HVAC enables IECEx certified pressurization by means of ventilation combined with full heating and air-conditioning functionality. Cooling range of the HVAC varies from 2 KW up to 140 KW enabling operation of small 10 ft containers and even buildings or 60 ft containers equipped with heavy load and heat generating equipment.

Figure 6: Standard TVC with pressurizing HVAC module

Functional description

  • A containerized explosion protected stand alone electrical system,
  • Transportable, for temporary and for permanent use,
  • Containers for non-human occupation under normal operation circumstances, 
  •  Containers for human occupation under normal operation circumstances.

Possible functional contents:

  • Control system, power distribution, office, workshop, operator room, (wireless) communications, emergency power, and alarming system,
  • Integrated power conversions for remote applications,
  • Diagnostic interface based on GSM/GPRS or Fieldbus,
  • Suitable for installation in Zone 1 and in Zone 2 ,
  • ATEX rating Gas IIB T4,
  • NEC, GOST, Norsok and others,
  • Ambient tempearture –50 to +50 °C (project dependent).

Summary of descriptions of TVC packages
They are fully tested on functionality and explosion protection because we believe in plug-and-play solutions that our customer can install in accordance to all the necessary certification requirements. These units are engineered not only in a high security level but also to reduce the costs for unit and installation. Furthermore they allow an ergonomically designed workspace and at the production facility energie effiecient operation. Our 50-year experience as system integrator enables us to build the complete system including project management, programming , electrical , hardware/software, mechanical design and transport.

The services

We adopt project planning including:

  • Engineering electrical and (3D) mechanical,
  • Software and programming,
  • Procurement of material,
  • Construction and services,
  • Extended Factory Acceptance Test, (FAT)
  • System certification,
  • Documents services, transport and insurance,
  • Commissioning support, Site Acceptance Testing.

With this service we minimize project costs, shorten turn-around, and enable one-stop-shopping, combined with energy efficient design ready for connection, which shortens SAT testing, and clear certified responsibility on explosion protection.

Figure 7: Interior of an Ex p container with integrated electric control units
Figure 8: Zone 1 ventilated container with safety indications
Figure 9: Transport preparation of containers
Figure 10: R.STAHL container workshop (in Hengelo, NL)


Brochure by R. STAHL: 'Together we invent the solution'
Brochure by Electromach: 'HVAC pressurization & ventilation'
Shell Energy planning 2005
USGS BP-statistic 2005 and Oil and Gasjournal, December 2005
Baker Hughes Energy, WTRG economics 2011
World energy 10/2007

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