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Flood Indirect Impact

These are among the reasons why we are having CPO shortage!!! This happen in Segamat. In Kota Tinggi, about the same thing happen. The CPO tanker is already trapped in the fierce flood.

As an indirect result from this, my plant is forced to have a shutdown this 31st December 2006, Sunday. And guess what...That is a public holiday here in Malaysia because of the Haj Celebration and also the next day is the New Year!!! I have to work on that public holidays!!!

posted by Kipas Repair JB @ 10:47 PM, ,

Heavy Rain & Flood Impact To The Industry

It's still raining today. The rain keeps on pouring, heavily. The state/country is currently hit with one of the worse flood in history. Luckily my house and the surrounding area is not flooding. However, it gave a significant impact to my work. Not just when I go or return back from work, water clogging (minor flood), very bad traffic jammed, a lots of hole on the road, some damage to vehicles etc; it also force us (my company) to be prepared for a plant shutdown, simply becausethe crude palm oil (CPO) supply shortage.

We never expected such scenario to occur. Due to heavy rain, a lot of palm oil plantations was badly affected by the flood. Hundreds of workers associated to palm oil harvesting and milling could not go to work. CPO Tanker could not reach us because the road structure collapsed. We have a serius shortage of CPO. Most of our CPO tanks in the factory are empty. If the CPO run out, we have to stop the plant!!! We cannot blindly and easily stop the plant just like that. Therefore, we have to take the opportunity to perform any maintenance work. That's why now I'm quite busy alongside with my colleague preparing for the shutdown. I also have to carry the umbrella everywhere...

Not just that, the CPO price has already escalated to nearly about RM2000 per metric tonne (that's about US$570/tonne). I could not recall the price rised up that high in the past.

For more pictures showing the floods, you can click at my personal blog here.

posted by Kipas Repair JB @ 11:06 PM, ,

100th Posts in Chem-Eng World talks about Chlorophyll

I can't believed that it's already my 100 posts inside this blog within a space of 5 months. Well, I hope i can continue posting some good chemical engineering stuff.

Few days ago, I have a meeting with a bleaching earth supplier, Taiko Clay. We have some technical discussion. I found that the discussion was very interesting and getting very technical as well. One of the interesting point that caught my attention was chlorophyll, which is always associated with plants. Chloropyll is also one of the impurities inside the crude palm oil (CPO). Before this i never know the chemical formula and structure of chlorophyll. I also did not know there are various types / forms of chlorophyll: ie. chloropyll a; b etc.I did not know that there is magnesium inside chlorophyll!!!

Therefore, I would like to share some piece of info that I picked up that day.

chlorophyll a (′klör·ə′fil ′ā)

C55H72O5N4Mg A magnesium chelate of dihydroporphyrin that is esterified with phytol and has a cyclopentanone ring; occurs in all higher plants and algae.

chlorophyll b (′klör·ə′fil ′bē)

C55H70O6N4Mg An ester similar to chlorophyll a but with a CHO substituted for a CH3; occurs in small amounts in all green plants and algae.

Read more about chlorophyll from wikipedia
Read more about chlorophyll from Answers.com

posted by Kipas Repair JB @ 10:28 PM, ,

35cm of Rain in Just A Day

This was the chronology of what happened to me on my way to work yesterday...

0715 Hrs - Began driving from home to go to work
0900 Hrs - I'm stuck in Kempas (usually at normal day, I can reach here at 0730 Hrs)
0940 Hrs - I'm stuck in PLUS Highway exit to Pasir Gudang Highway (usually at normal day,
I can reach here at 0740 Hrs)
1015 - 1250 Hrs - I'm stucked in Pasir Gudang Highway (usually I can reached my work place at 0800 Hrs; but now, it was already extraordinarily extremely very late!!!)
1300 Hrs - I managed to escape from the terrible jam and head back to my house. The flood was really worse. Rain was very heavy. So, I was forced not too go to work by nature!!!

Following is the news regarding the terrible flood occured that i Adopted from http://www.thestar.com.my

JOHOR BARU: Continuous rain over the past 24 hours caused rivers to burst their banks, spilling water into streets and villages, and bringing the state to a virtual standstill.

WATERLOGGED: Only the roofs of houses can be seen after Kampung Laut in Skudai became submerged in water yesterday.
An estimated 9,000 people were forced to leave their homes following what has been regarded as the state’s highest rainfall in 100 years.

Sungai Segamat in Segamat, Sungai Skudai in Johor Baru and Sungai Mengkibol in Kluang were among five rivers whose waters overflowed.

At press time, 26 main roads were closed to traffic and nine cases of landslide had occurred.

So far, there has been no fatality because rescue teams managed to get the people to higher ground.

Mentri Besar Datuk Abdul Ghani Othman warned Johoreans to prepare for the worst as heavy rain was expected to continue until Friday.

SEEKING REFUGE: Flood victims from Kampung Laut and Kampung SK in Skudai taking shelter at SJK(C) Pu Tze in Skudai after being evacuated.
Annual rainfall in total was usually about 240cm, but in just one day (Dec 18-19), Johor got 35cm of rain, he told a flood briefing at the Johor police contingent headquarters yesterday.

Malacca was also not spared. Close to 200 people were evacuated in Jasin district, while a bridge in Durian Tunggal town had to be closed because the river overflowed.

As of 5pm yesterday, more than 3,700 people who vacated their houses in Johor Baru had been placed in 13 relief centres.

Johor Baru (North) OCPD Asst Comm Ruslan Hassan advised the people not to return home until the authorities give the all-clear.

“We had to rescue 29 people stranded on rooftops. These people ignored the danger and went home to salvage their stuff, but the water rose too fast,” said ACP Ruslan.

LOOMING DANGER: A landslide which occurred along Jalan Kolam Air has caused the wall surrounding this house close to collapse.
Besides the police, personnel from the Army, the Civil Defence Department, the Fire and Rescue Department, and Rela helped in evacuation efforts.

In Muar, more than 1,600 people were moved to nine relief centres. Flooded areas included Lenga, Pagoh, Gersik, Sagil, Bakri, Bukit Gambir, Tangkak, Sungai Mati, Kampung Batu 23, Gombang, Felda Maokil, Kampung Paya Redan, Kampung Paya Lempah, Kampung Paya Pulai and Kampung Teratai.

Muar police chief Asst Comm Mohd Nizar Mohd Ali reminded parents to keep a tight rein on their children and not let them play in the flood waters.

In Kluang, close to 3,000 people from 20 villages fled their homes, while 540 residents from Parit Raja in Batu Pahat and 170 people from Pontian had to seek shelter at relief centres.

ROADS UNDER WATER: Pedestrians walking through a flooded road near Wisma Persekutuan in Johor Baru yesterday.
The Plentong police station was covered by 1.2m of water, and 26 detainees there had to be transferred to the Pasir Gudang police station lock-up.

Johor Drainage and Irrigation Department (DID) acting director Chong Chee Han said water in the Sembrong Dam and Machap Dam was at a high level, but the DID could not release the water.

“If water is channelled into the rivers, the low-lying areas of Parit Raja and Simpang Rengam could be inundated,” said Chong, who attributed the high rainfall to the North-East Monsoon.

Meanwhile, the Army has put seven brigades and 20 boats on standby.

An Army spokesman said the military would send in a Nuri helicopter for rescue operations if necessary.

posted by Kipas Repair JB @ 11:07 PM, ,

Visitors to Plant

Last week, my scheduled was so tight. In a space of 2 days, I have to standby and wait for three different visitors who happen to be very important to the company. I have to ensure the plant is in extra clean and in good condition. Well, although the day and date is known, the exact time of visit to the control room and plant is unknown. There was no indication of what time they are coming. Therefore, I have to wait and do what ever work i can do in the control room. Well, that's fine, at least i can do a little bit of work using the PC available in the control room.

The first group of visitors were from Australia and they are oil traders. The second group was from the Iran ministry of health. The third group was from the ministry of Sabah. As for me, when all these visitors came, I have to explain briefly our process on how we convert crude palm (CPO) oil to refined bleached deodorized palm oil (RBDPO).

posted by Kipas Repair JB @ 7:57 PM, ,

Some Comparisons of My Jobs

Since I graduated in 1999, I have been in three different chemical engineering fields. The first is Reaction Engineering, Chemical Engineering Research (Aug 1999 - Dec 2002) which I gained my Masters Degree from. The second is Chemical Engineering in Oil and Gas Industry (Jan 2003 - June 2005) and at present, Chemical Engineering in Oil and Fats Industry (June 2005 - present)...

If asked...which one I enjoyed the most:
Chemical Engineering in Oil and Gas Industry - I tasted and experienced a lot of interesting stuff

If asked...which one I learned a lot (really practicing chemical engineering fundamental):
Chemical Engineering in Oil and Fats Industry - I practiced a lot of Unit Operations

If asked...which one is more relaxing:
Chemical Engineering in Oil and Gas Industry - Maybe because it's a service company...

If asked...which one is more challenging:
Chemical Engineering in Oil and Fats Industry &
Chemical Engineering in Oil and Gas Industry - Both have different angles of challenge

If asked...which one I prefer to be in now:
Chemical Engineering Research - I love doing research + publication

If asked...which one I make the most money (salary + allowances):
Chemical Engineering in Oil and Gas Industry - Undeniably the wealthiest field

If asked...which one really consumed a lot of my time:
Chemical Engineering in Oil and Fats Industry - I just work, work, work till late ....

If asked...which one I have more downlines:
Chemical Engineering in Oil and Fats Industry - I have skillful operators to help running the plant

If asked...which one I felt more pride:
Chemical Engineering in Oil and Gas Industry - Well, it's a proud feeling being in this industry

If asked...which one allows me to travel more:
Chemical Engineering in Oil and Gas Industry - Went overseas as well as offshore...from a four wheel drive Pajero to a Sikhorsky 76 chopper....from an antic mercedes to a boeing 737 aircraft....from Singaporean dollar to Rupiah....

If asked...which one allows me to do more publications:
Chemical Engineering Research - I published quite a number of papers and journal with my supervisor

If asked...which one gives me more exposure:
Chemical Engineering in Oil and Gas Industry - Living in an oil rig platform is fun, interesting and makes me eat all the time....provided if you don't stay there 4 weeks in a row....

The above points are just my opinion and purely what I feel from my experiences. For your information, I did my full time research in University Teknologi Malaysia. I worked in a service company which deal in oil and gas as a chemical engineer cum project engineer. Latest, I am a process engineer taking care of a physical refinery plant processing mostly palm oil and sometimes some lauric oil. I think I'll continue this subject later....I think it might be interesting....to elaborate further....


posted by Kipas Repair JB @ 10:37 PM, ,

Biofuels: new fuels from bacteria

Another interesting article about biofuel / biodiesel which I read from EngineerLive.com. Well, there'll be a lot more to be discovered about biofuel as well as huge area to explore...The following article is about biofuel from bacteria....

‘Microdiesel’ can also use readily available bulk plant materials or even recycled waste paper if engineering of the production strain is more advanced

A breakthrough in the production of biofuels has been developed by scientists in Germany. Research published in the September 2006 issue of Microbiology, a Society for General Microbiology journal, describes how specially engineered bacteria could be used to make fuel completely from food crops.

“Biodiesel is an alternative energy source and a substitute for petroleum-based diesel fuel,” explains Professor Steinbüchel of the Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität in Münster. “A growing number of countries are already making biodiesel on a large scale, but the current method of production is still costly”.

“Biodiesel production depends on plant oils obtained from seeds of oilseed crops like rapeseed or soy”, explains Professor Steinbüchel. “However, production of plant oils has a huge demand of acreage which is one of the main factors limiting a more widespread use of biodiesel today. In addition, biodiesel production must compete with the production of food, which also raises some ethical concerns”.

Microdiesel, as the scientists have named it, is different from other production methods because it not only uses the same plant oils, but can also use readily available bulk plant materials or even recycled waste paper if engineering of the production strain is more advanced.

Also, it does not rely on the addition of toxic methanol from fossil resources, like many other biodiesels. The bacteria developed for use in the Microdiesel process make their own ethanol instead. This could help to keep the costs of production down and means that the fuel is made from 100 per cent renewable resources.

“Due to the much lower price of the raw materials used in this new process, as well as their great abundance, the Microdiesel process can result in a more widespread production of biofuel at a competitive price in the future”, says Professor Steinbüchel.

There is a growing number of fuels used in cars and homes that are produced with the help of microbes. UK ministers are considering doubling the targets for the amount of biofuels sold in Britain by 2015.

The Society for General Microbiology disseminates current research findings in microbiology in its four journals. The SGM is the largest microbiology society in Europe, and has over 5,500 members worldwide. The Society provides a common meeting ground for scientists working in research and in fields with applications in microbiology including medicine, veterinary medicine, pharmaceuticals, industry, agriculture, food, the environment and education.

posted by Kipas Repair JB @ 10:22 PM, ,

OSEA 2006 is now in Singapore

OSEA2006 is now on. See you at Suntec Singapore! To register for the event or if you had pre-registered but did not receive your confirmation email or number, please bring along your business card and register at Suntec Singapore (Level 4) at Halls 402 & 403 during the show days. Unfortunately I could not come because I'm so attached with the work in my plant. Perhaps the next OSEA I will attend. If anybody have attended this very big event, why not tell something about it...Few details about OSEA2006 below...

Exhibition & International Conference
Date: 5-8 December 2006 (Tuesday – Friday)

Venue: Suntec Singapore

Opening Hours: 1030 hrs – 1800 hrs

The Event

OSEA was established three decades ago to be the industry event for Asia’s oil and gas industry. This international event brings together 10,000 industry professionals to tackle the pertinent concerns of the Asian oil and gas industry, from its technological front to changing market trends and expectations to new business potential and the running of its daily operations.

The international character and regional audience of OSEA present unparalleled marketing, education and networking opportunities. Join this event to take on the challenges of today’s global energy industry and tomorrow’s borderless markets.

Flashback to OSEA2004:

9,109 Trade Visitors from 60 countries

896 Exhibiting Companies from 48 Countries

5 National Oil Organisations: BPMIGAS, Kuwait Petroleum Corporation, Philippine National Oil Company, Singapore Petroleum Company, Timor Leste JDA.

48 International Press

Attendees include: ABB, Aker Kvaerner, Amerada Hess, Amoseas, Atwood Oceanic, Baker Hughes, BJ Services, Brunei Shell, Cairn Energy, Carigali-Triton, Ceylon Petroleum Corp, Chevron Offshore, China Offshore, China Oilfield, Chiyoda, CNOOC, Con Son JOC, Conoco Phillips, Cooper Cameron, Crest Petroleum, CS Mutiara, Cuu Long JOC, Devon Energy, Dialog, Diamond Offshore, Ensco, EPIC Energy, ExxonMobil, Federal, FMC, Foster Wheeler, Frigstad, Fugro, Gazprom, Halliburton, Iran Marine, Jay McDermott, Japex, JGC, Kellogg Brown & Root, Keppel, Shell, KNOC, MedcoEnergi, Murphy Sarawak, Naftogas, Oil India, Pearl energy, Petra Fabricators, Petronas, Petrovietnam, Premier Oil , PTTEP, Rainhill, Saipem, Saudi Aramco, Schlumberger, Smedvig, Stolt Offshore, Technip, Titan Group, Total, Transocean, Unocal, Vico Indonesia, Weatherford, Woodside, Worley, Yantai Raffles
..and many others

Check out the conference program here

posted by Kipas Repair JB @ 9:03 PM, ,

Found Abnormality, Take Immediate Action

Just now in the afternoon, I walked pass my plant and i saw the suction pipe to the 37.5kW pump delivering water to one of my cooling tower is vibrating badly. I have a closer look to inspect it. I saw water dripping from it and i felt that the pipe is already very thin. The pipe has experienced a bad errosion from the acidic water flowing through it. I immedietly called my plant operator and asked them to switch pump, and called maintenance team to replace piece of the pipe which is already beginning to break down into pieces. After issuing a job order to rectify the situation, maintenance team prepared their stuff and immedietly came to the site and replaced the piece of pipe which is badly fractured. Within 2 hours from the time i informed my operator, everything was sorted out smoothly and the suction pipe to the pump has is ready to resume operation.


1. When you see some abnormality(s), immedietly report or take action.
2. Anything that might affect your plan process/system, must be immedietly rectified.
3. Never delay any abnormality or problem - you might forget about it, and after a few hours of taking action, it might be late!
4. Follow up! Do not take any instruction you gave for granted. Maybe your downline delay it. So, create some urgency in the instruction depending on the situation.
5. I cannot think for some more....I'm exhausted....

posted by Kipas Repair JB @ 8:46 PM, ,

Understanding Plant Tips

For you chemical engineers out there who happen to become a production executive or a process engineer (or what ever position it is named after) who has the responsibility of taking care of the plant, here are some useful tips to ensure you understand the plant as fast possible.

1. Learn all the piping system in your plant. With this you can have better comprehension on the plant process.
2. Learn how to start and stop the plant. This is always the important thing to know. If the plant is having problem - you stop it. If problem solved - start it back.
3. Don't be embarased to ask the supervisors or plant operators about the plant. In most plant, they have been operating the plant for a lot of years. They have tremendous experience on operating the plant and some trouble shooting. You can asked about the plant and asked from a lot of them. Therefore, you'll get more informations from a lot of operators, and most of the time the info that you need will be common.

I hope those tips can be useful. It is useful for me. I'm still learning my plant as well. It is a continuous process of learning. Furthermore, the plant that I'm handling is very big (size and capacity!!!). I would like to thank my senior collegues (2 of them) who gave me those useful tips. I appreciate their kindness of passing me the knowledge, informations, skills and tips....Thanks as well to my supervisors and operators for their hardwork and duty in running the plant. Not to mention all the maintenance, electrical, instrumentation team. I hope my plant will continue to run smoothly...

posted by Kipas Repair JB @ 11:45 AM, ,

The Author


I’m Zaki. I used to be a project, process and chemical engineer. Few years ago I successfully became a Chartered Engineer (IChemE) and Professional Engineer (BEM). I'm now employed as a chemical engineering educator/researcher/consultant. Hope you like reading my blog. I welcome any feedback from you. My email: zaki.yz[alias]gmail.com. TQ!

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