«Kazakhstan Petrochemical Industries Inc.»
(«Казахстан Петрокемикал Индастриз Инк.»)
Limited Liability Partnership

The first “digital” plant in Kazakhstan trains specialists

26 July
2021
The first “digital” plant in Kazakhstan trains specialists
The construction of a unique integrated petrochemical complex of “Kazakhstan Petrochemical Industries Inc.” LLP in Atyrau, which will become the first digital enterprise in Kazakhstan, is nearing completion. High-tech production, certainly, sets strict requirements for the training of future employees, which began a year and a half before the planned launch of production. To solve this sophisticated problem, KPI has implemented training using computer simulator complexes (CSC).

It will be recalled that KPI will produce polypropylene in granules (design capacity 500 thousand tons per year), processing propane supplied from the Tengiz field. These products are in demand in the European Union, the Middle East, China, Russia, and other regions. Polypropylene is widely used in mechanical engineering, medicine, electrical engineering, in the production of packaging materials, containers, fibers, pipes, office equipment, consumer electronics, etc. The relative ease of processing polypropylene granules into the final product makes it an extremely attractive material that can compete with more expensive polymers. The Atyrau plant is going to start with the production of 11 grades of polypropylene, but the capabilities of the enterprise allow increasing the range to 64 grades.

In oil refining and petrochemical industries, technological units are controlled using a distribution control system (DCS). At KPI, what is meant here is propane dehydrogenation (PDH) and propylene polymerization (PP) plants. In the PDH, propane coming from Tengiz is converted into propylene, and in the second unit - into polypropylene, which is used in everyday life.

But how do we train operators to work in DCS before a plant launching? Computer simulators are an effective solution in this case. They are designed so that the personnel of the PP plant, for example, can develop the skills to recover from an emergency using computer simulation. The goal is to involve all operators in mastering the technological process. At the moment, 40 specialists are undergoing preparation for commissioning work at CSC.

Computer simulators, introduced as part of the digital transformation of “KazMunaiGas”, have given a fine account of themselves at the refineries of Atyrau, Pavlodar and Shymkent. For KPI, CSC were developed by the American company Lummus Technology, which is the licensor of the company's technological processes.

- The simulator completely repeats the functioning of the plant's technological units. The personnel can work out in a virtual mode process control, actions in emergency situations, and also learn to make quick decisions in difficult conditions, - says Daniyar Yessembayev, the Head of propylene polymerization production at “KPI Inc.” LLP - Now in the training groups on propylene polymerization, under the guidance of an instructor, 5 plant operators are trained at the same time. Thus, they have a good knowledge base and a level of process control that will need to be verified on a regular basis.

The skills acquired after training in CSC will help specialists in the future correctly predict the development of a particular situation, minimize the human factor and the risk of emergencies. After all, if the operator has the right to make a mistake on the simulator, then in real conditions he/she does not.

- Now we are working out a simulated start-up of the unit, various scenarios for the development of events, including emergency ones. We are also considering ways to solve possible problems that may arise during operation, for example, in the event of a power outage, - says Dmitry Gorin, operator of propane dehydrogenation - Already today, sitting at a computer, you can feel like at the control panel of the DCS and study all the specifics of the upcoming work.

It remains to add that the training of KPI personnel is not limited only to CSC. Within the framework of cooperation between KMG and the Russian company “SIBUR”, operators undergo theoretical and practical training in real production conditions at the largest integrated petrochemical plant “SIBUR” in Tobolsk.