Supervisors of the EP Petroecuador Balao terminal decided to carry out a complete renewal and updating project of the pumping station operations, which included the development of an automatic control system for the management of the maritime terminal.
Transport management is a unit of EP Petroecuador. This unit is responsible for managing the transport system pipeline TRANS-Ecuadorian system, SOTE, as well as pipelines, storage stations, and the distribution of the finished products derived from petroleum, among which stands out the Balao Terminal.
At the Balao maritime terminal they oversee the receiving of finished products and communication to the tankers that perform operations for loading and unloading derived products from hydrocarbons, to and from the refinery in Esmeraldas.
The office of the supervisors of the Balao terminal, which is located in the province of Esmeraldas, Ecuador (the South American Pacific coast) serves an average of 450 ships per year both international and coastal. This number takes into account the effect on maritime services that facilitate the operations of ships and port facilities.
Some time ago, the supervisor of the Balao Terminal carried out a technical inspection of the terminal and decided to optimize its facilities, which included the total renovation of this station. "We developed a draft on mechanical engineering, electrical, procurement of materials, construction and assembly of the station. We only needed the automation part" recalls Luis Montaño, supervisor of the Balao terminal.
It was this that lead to the development of an automatic control system for the management of the maritime terminal. Transport management for EP Petroecuador carried out a public bidding process in which Rockwell Automation Ltda. Ecuador won by reaching the highest technical score and at the same time presenting the most economical offer out of all qualified bids.
“They offered us a solution, high-quality equipment, and highly qualified personnel. In addition, they offered a number of proposals for improvements to the original project free of charge which constituted a fundamental added value" added Montaño.
Specifically, the terminal had pumping units that were 35 years or older which received little investment and maintenance during that time. The reliability of these units was very low, which generated a series of operational problems on an ongoing basis. Not to mention, the time it took to unload products from ships was extremely long.