training specialists to the upstream oil and gas industry

Oil and Gas Process Optimisation and Troubleshooting

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Course overview

Hydrocarbon, Petrochemical, Chemical, Pharmacological, Power, water and food production processes consist of many complex apparatus involving both moving and static parts as well as interconnecting pipes, control mechanisms and electronics, mechanical and thermal stages, heat exchangers, waste and side product processing units, power ducts and many others. Bringing such a complicated unit online and ensuring its continued productivity requires substantial skill at anticipating, detecting and solving acute problems. Failure to identify and resolve these problems quickly can lead to lost production, off-spec product, equipment loss, and even catastrophic accidents. Therefore, the ability to troubleshoot process operations is one of the most valuable skills operations personnel can possess.

Troubleshooting is the process used to diagnose the fault safely and efficiently, decide on corrective action and prevent the fault from reoccurring. Process engineering, especially troubleshooting, is different from most other branches of technology in another respect: It is not advancing at a satisfactory rate. The principles of distillation, hydraulics, phase separation, and heat transfer, as they apply to process applications, have been well known for many years. The challenge in troubleshooting consists of untangling the differing influences that aspects such as human error, mechanical failure, and corrosion have on these well-known principles.

This course is designed to provide understanding of these process and instruction in the different types of troubleshooting techniques, procedures, and methods used to solve process problems. Participants study concepts related to troubleshooting commissioning, normal startup, normal operations, normal shutdown, turnarounds, and abnormal situations, as well as the Process team role in performing tasks associated with these concepts within an operating unit.

The course is designed for

This course is intended for process engineers, maintenance engineers, maintenance superintendents, maintenance supervisors, maintenance foremen, plant managers, team leaders, section heads, production managers, production engineers, operations managers, operations engineers, field managers, field engineers, superintendents, supervisors, shift foremen, plant supervisors, plant foremen, plant technicians, plant operators and technical staff.

Learning objectives

Upon the successful completion of this course, each participant will be able to:

  • Characterize and differentiate the different properties and production problems associated with a wide range of hydrocarbon products
  • Understand the composition and describe the hierarchy of hydrocarbon structures
  • Discuss difficulties associated with hydrocarbon components, processing equipment, additives, catalysts and their application, and the health safety and environmental concerns related to the production and processing of oil and gas and associated products
  • Apply a comprehensive range of knowledge and skills in troubleshooting in the hydrocarbons and chemicals production and processing industry
  • Follow a structured technique for problem solving and troubleshooting operations, using guide-words: engage – define – explore – plan – do – check – act - monitor
  • Analyse mental problem-solving processes and demonstrate the use of the troubleshooter’s worksheet
  • Practice the rules-of-thumb techniques for trouble-shooting and enumerate the typical causes of problems with an extensive range of process equipment
  • Develop problem solving, data gathering & interpersonal skills and recognize the importance of these skills in troubleshooting process operations
  • Conduct workshops on trouble-shooting skills in a wide range of case studies drawn from hydrocarbon and chemical process industries

Course outline

Problem Solving Skills

Developing Awareness of the Problem-Solving Process
Exploring the "Context": What is the Real Problem?

Data Gathering Skills

How to Select Valid Diagnostic Actions
Consistency: Definitions, Cause-Effect and Fundamentals
Recognizing Patterns

Interpersonal Skills

Interpersonal Skills
Factors that Affect Personal Performance
The Environment

What is Troubleshooting?

Characteristics of a Trouble-Shooting Problems
Characteristics of the Process Used to Solve Trouble-Shooting Problems

The Mental Problem-Solving Process

Problem Solving
Overall Summary of Major Skills and a Worksheet
Example Use of the Trouble-Shooter's Worksheet

Case Studies


Rules of Thumb for Troubleshooting

Transportation Problems
Energy Exchange
Homogenous Separation
Heterogeneous Separations
Reactor Problems
Mixing Problems
Size-Decrease Problems
Size Enlargement
Vessels, Bins, Hoppers and Storage Tanks
"Systems" Thinking
Health, Fire and Stability


Location Start Date End Date Cost Trainer Book
Upon request       Ron Roberts Make enquiry

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"The brainstorming sessions on troubleshooting were really beneficial."
- NCOC/Kazakhstan

Website: Studio Beam Ltd