IS & Ex

Inventory management for LNG

September 2021 IS & Ex

Increased demand for liquified natural gas (LNG) is driving a new global business. The number of small- to medium-scale terminals is increasing, while at the same time, tank sizes are increasing in new-design centralised terminals. These developments bring complex challenges to the safe and efficient management of LNG inventory in tanks, terminals, or other storage facilities.

The storage of LNG at cryogenic temperatures presents unique challenges that must be appropriately handled to ensure safe and efficient operation. A typical LNG tank requires a wide range of instruments to measure liquid level, density, liquid and vapour pressure and temperature, skin temperature and more.

Additionally, stratification occurs when the product in the tanks forms layers with different densities temperatures. For safe operation, users need to ensure that two layers of different densities are not rapidly mixing and releasing large amounts of gas, known as rollover.

Endress+Hauser’s innovative instrumentation and advanced inventory management solutions for LNG storage tanks ensure safe operation of plant and high levels of inventory transparency. These solutions offer a wide set of functionality and benefits, including:

• High precision servo tank gauging with the intelligent Proservo NMS8x for constant primary level measurement, or in redundant operation to reliably monitor level. Also performs density profiling as required.

• Separate servo or radar gauges for high level alarms ensure 24/7 plant safety.

• The safe operation of LNG tanks to ensure that different densities and temperatures do not create layers that could result in rollover effects: LTD (level temperature density) gauges monitor density changes in different LNG layers, creating a density and temperature profile of the tank.

• Highly accurate pressure transmitters provide alerts for any significant pressure changes in the LNG tanks and boil-off gas management.

• Redundant inventory management system to ensure 24/7 plant availability.

• Stratification and rollover prediction software – not only important for knowing what is happening in the tank, but also helps you determine the next process actions.

• Skin temperature for cooldown and leak detection and temperature monitoring software.

The rollover prediction software within Tankvision allows users to visualise the evolution of temperature, density and layer thickness of the stratified layers within a tank. The software predicts rollover and enables upfront countermeasures. The change in boil-off rate and vapour pressure can also be visualised with time.

LNG tank management system

The Tankvision LMS inventory management system features reliable LNG real-time management. It is a truly open and redundant system and allows tank redundant data, a multi-user system with remote access capability. It can be used as a client/server or standalone package and provides the following features: inventory calculation, gauge operation, LTD detail monitoring, alarm generation, real-time trending, profile viewers, stratification analysis, skin temperature distribution graphics and schedule commands.

Rollover prediction software

The rollover prediction algorithms are based upon a lumped parameter model using energy and material balance equations. This allows the user to visualise the evolution of temperature, density and layer thickness of the stratified layers within a tank from an initial condition for temperature, layer depth and composition. The change in boil-off rate and vapour pressure can also be visualised with time. The model can be run for any profile available in the history by using the manual profile selection or automatic selection. The model can incorporate various tank operations such as tank filling (top or bottom), tank emptying (top or bottom) and external recirculation.

Cool down and leak detection software

The cool down and leak detection sensors, located around the base, sides and roof of the LNG tank, are used to detect any abnormalities in the shell insulation that may result in a leak of product. The software provides the following functionalities:

• View menu – skin temperatures.

• Temperature maps.

• Shell-layer drop down selection.

• Historical skin temperatures.

• Thresholds/trends/alarms.


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