Synergy and Strength: Joining Forces Through Global LPG Teams - Makeen Energy And The Construction Of It's Global Outreach
Anders C Anderson
MAKEEN Energy might be relatively new to many in the energy industry. But the names you meet in the company’s LPG branch will probably echo in many ears. Kosan Crisplant and Siraga are both part of MAKEEN Energy, and they bring equally heavy amounts of experience and knowledge to the table. Together, they can reach even further – both in terms of geography and development. And it is difficult to look past the benefits this yields.
Combined efforts drives development
When two companies join forces, you suddenly have two backpacks filled with expert insights. And when those companies are Kosan Crisplant and Siraga, your new and bigger backpack actually contains more than a century’s know-how from the LPG filling industry. According to Anders C. Anderson, CEO of MAKEEN Energy, the combined experiences give the company a solid foundation for driving future developments:
“Before Kosan Crisplant and Siraga were united in our house of energy, they had separate product portfolios and track records to draw on. But as MAKEEN Energy, we can combine all our expertise. And with so many people who know the industry and equipment inside out, we have the best starting point for growing and developing our activities.”
Especially the possibilities of improving and developing existing as well as new solutions are a central advantage and focus point for MAKEEN Energy. Twenty years ago, the average maximum capacity of an LPG filling line was 1,200 cylinders/day. Today, the bar has been raised to 4,000 or more, and only by committing to innovation it is possible to create similar result in the future.
“We have made a promise to ourselves. We will continue to use the same resources on development as the two companies did combined. And now we have one crucial advantage: We can coordinate our efforts. That gives our customers a better product at a better price”, explains Anders C. Anderson, CEO of MAKEEN Energy.”
“Wherever you are, we are”
As the pins on MAKEEN Energy’s world map show, the company’s offices, work sites and people are all over the world. Bangladesh, Kenya, Denmark and Brazil to mention just a few places. And the CEO points out one simple explanation. The customers wanted them to be geographically closer, and MAKEEN Energy listened. That was the foundation for the ‘wherever you are, we are’ philosophy that now runs through every vein of the company.
“Take for instance our customers in Chile. Previously, they would need to get up extremely early to make a call to Denmark, and they might not be lucky to get hold of someone who could explain the technical details in Spanish. Our customers really wanted us to be near them, and we listened and acted on it.”
Besides expanding their geographical reach, MAKEEN Energy also focuses on further developing their products and services. Looking a handful of decades back, the LPG activities were only dedicated to providing equipment and solutions of the highest quality. But according to Anders C. Anderson, the customers are now looking for more than that.
“If you ask me, the future started 15 years ago. Back then, we introduced the concept of operating our customers’ facilities. That is what we call facility management. It is a service offer that our customers can grab and join when they are ready and want to. And it is a trend that will only grow stronger.”
At MAKEEN Energy, they are also open to develop deeper collaborations with the customers that find it valuable to create a business that rests on mutual trust and collaboration. And Anders C. Anderson stresses the importance of trust. He explains how real partnerships can take the relations somewhere beyond facility management and position both players as true partners.
A future fueled by gas
It is no secret that the energy sector is changing and moving. And at MAKEEN Energy, they are determined to change and move with it – while keeping their focus on gas. Anders C. Anderson elaborates:
“We are committed to the gas industry, and we are here to stay. Our LPG solutions form the backbone of our business, and of course we will keep developing this area. To maintain a position in the front seat of the industry takes an effort. We know that. Lately, we have also stepped into the worlds of LNG and LBG, and other areas might join in the future.”
Fact about MAKEEN ENERGY
- MAKEEN Energy is a world-leading house of energy that unites Kosan Crisplant, Siraga, KC LNG, KC ProSupply and MAKEEN Power under the same roof.
- Together, these companies and brands make it possible for MAKEEN Energy to provide 360 degree energy solutions of every kind – LPG, LNG, spare parts and power plants.
- MAKEEN Energy is owned by Saudi Al-Ayuni Investment & Contracting Co., and its headquarters is located in Denmark.
- As a globally oriented house of energy, MAKEEN Energy is represented all over the world. Today, the company has offices in 19 different countries.
Interview With Barbara Masin Of Trovan Ltd, RFID As An Essential Asset Tracking Technology For LPG
Electronic Identification Devices, Ltd.
1. Tell us about your journey in the LPG Industry. When and how did it begin?
I have been working with Trovan for over 20 years. Before that I worked in global sales and marketing in the high end/luxury paper business and in automation systems. I speak four languages (English, German, Spanish, French), which helps.
Trovan has been involved in the LPG industry for several years now. We came to this business by way of beverage keg tracking and industrial gas cylinder tracking, for which our products were already widely used. Customers using Trovan products for their asset management requirements included Coca Cola, Gaffel Brauerei, Flensburger Brauerei, Praxair, Honeywell, Los Alamos National Labs in the United States among many others. The Trovan brand was consequently well known, and we were approached by interested parties in the LPG sector to develop a solution for the problems the industry is facing with respect to ensuring cylinder safety, timely maintenance of assets, excessively long cycle times, boot legging, and consumer-facing service issues. Since then, we have developed an ATEX-certified line of products especially for use in the explosive environment in LPG filling plants, consisting of LPG cylinder tags, portable and fixed-mounted readers. We have also developed an end-to-end asset tracking solution that allows customers to track their cylinders through the filling process and into the supply chain, in consultation with companies in the sector. The solution includes an app that allows customers to book cylinders and schedule delivery, as well as tracking of customer loyalty program results. The rest, as they say, is history.
2. What role does TROVAN play in the industry and what are its most popular products?
Trovan, Ltd. was founded in 1989 and began as a developer of RFID hardware (tags and readers). Key industry patents were based on Trovan-developed technology and as a result the users of Trovan products benefit from some technologies that are seminal to the automated production processes for tags. Only with production automation is it possible to eliminate the human factor and ensure consistent product quality with minimal failure rates. Our tag failure rate is currently less than 2 parts per million: better than 6 Sigma (3.2 parts per million).
Subsequently, we have developed other products based on Trovan’s core telemetry technology, such as remote sensing devices used in military applications. We have also built a software team which has depth in a number of areas, including blockchain, security, enterprise-level database construction and other critical skill areas required for the cutting edge solutions we are offering to the LPG sectory.
3. What regions does TROVAN currently operate in?
We have installations in over 60 countries and on all continents.
4. What are some of the key reasons for TROVAN’s success in these markets?
We attribute our success to Trovan’s superior technology, and an extremely capable team that provides customer support at all steps of the way.
5. What type of clients does TROVAN serve? What do these companies primarily do?
In the LPG sector, we serve LPG marketers that fill gas cylinders and sell them to distributors and/or directly to end customers. Elsewhere in the oil and gas sector, we work with marketers of industrial and specialty gases, also to track their cylinders through the supply chain. We also work with companies in the off-shore sector, providing solutions that allow them to monitor whether maintenance and sections are being done in a timely fashion on valves, hoses, and other mission critical components on drilling rigs. These companies have realised that it is very important to select the right technology for the job. Barcode and QR codes do not survive in this harsh environment. In this environment, the only technology which works reliably is the correct kind of RFID.
6. How do you see the LPG market in these regions progressing in the next 5 years?
Asset tracking is widely practiced and appreciated in other markets. However, the benefits of asset control to companies’ bottom line is not as appreciate in the LPG industry as yet. The situation is analogous to the introduction of the PC in the early 1980s. Many companies, banks, manufacturers etc., did not really appreciate the benefits of the technology and struggled to make a case for ROI. Once they implemented PCs in their back offices, they started to see and appreciate the efficiencies that could be achieved, and started seeing more and more new areas where the technology could yield massive cost savings and efficiency benefits. We believe the next 5 years will see a similar development in the LPG sector with respect to RFID asset tracking.
The Importance of Good Industry Practices for LPG: A Look at WLPGA’s Guidelines
In order to ensure the continued, efficient and successful growth and development of the LPG industry, it is incumbent on the community to ensure that good industry practices are carried out by every stakeholder and at every part of the value chain.
The backbone of any industry is the people that it is made up of. The people behind the industry need to understand that the quality of the business process is what drives the business to greater heights. The gears that move the industry in new areas (especially in Africa and Asia) rely on educating a public that is only just beginning to understand its benefits. If these gears are poorly oiled and sloppily maintained, it only spells disaster for growth. This is especially pertinent in an industry where safety is a huge factor. Accidents are the bane of the LPG industry and it is solely due to poor business practices that these accidents occur.
Good Industry Practices are an extremely important part of the LPG industry and the WLPGA has been a core component in the establishment and development of good industry practices for the LPG industry for almost 20 years now. They have successfully come up with a full set of official guidelines for the industry which cover numerous areas from cylinder management to bulk installations. The WLPGA’s Guidelines for Good Business Practices in the LPG Industry has dissected each part part of the value chain, looking at the result of sacrificing essential business practices and then looking at preventive measures or good business practices that can stop these events from occurring.
The Guidelines have been a core component of the Associations mission goals and they have translated the document into several languages since its first publishing in 2001. The document has been endorsed by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC). The Guideline’s sister publication, Guidelines for Good Safety Practices in the LPG Industry has been endorsed by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
Let’s go through some of the key areas that have been outlined in their document, looking at the results of bad practices and what can be done to prevent them from occurring.
As storage facilities are normally one of the largest expenditures in the value chain which should be managed and built with the best business practices in mind as problems here can lead to huge additional costs in the long run.
Badly designed and constructed facilities results in…
- Greater operational risks
- Unfair competition as a result of lower capital outlay
- Higher maintenance and upgrading costs
- Construction delays and marketing plans not being met
- Reduced asset life
- Increased risk of downtime and delays in delivering the customer proposition
- Increased risk to the customer and the general public
- Increased liability exposure and increased monitoring by relevant authorities
and can be prevented by…
- Promoting proper industry standards
- Adoption of adequate industry design standards and codes of practice
- Use of proper materials and good project management techniques
- Use of qualified contractors throughout the design, installation and commission stages
- Designing for Propane rated vessels
Proper Training of Staff
Staff training has been identified by many professionals in the area as being one of the, if not the most important part of the LPG business. Operator errors can lead to huge catastrophes and possible catastrophes can also be avoided by having great operators.
Inadequate training of staff results in…
- A high-risk environment
- Operational errors
- Risk to assets
- Lowly motivated staff
- Higher staff turnover
- Possible litigation
and can be prevented by…
- A thorough understanding of staff skills and job requirements
- Regular on-going training programmes including…
- On the job training
- Assessment and re-assessment of the competence of critical staff
Proper Product Specification and Quality Control
Product quality control is another key point that requires monitoring. A poor product can result in unpredictable behavior during handling which greatly reduces the safety of all operators on site as well as increases risk for damage to equipment.
Poor product quality control results in…
- Off-specification or unusable stock
- The customer proposition not being met
- Customer complaints and possible litigation
- Clean up costs
- Risk of stock out
- Risk to Assets
and can be prevented by…
- Adopting fit- for- purpose product specifications
- Regular checking of product specification
- Proper and clear procedures
- Regular housekeeping
Good Housekeeping and Maintenance
Ensuring that facilities are kept clean and well maintained is crucial to safe and smooth operations. Making sure that equipment has been inspected greatly reduces the chance of accidents and unplanned shutdowns as well as extending the life of the equipment saving a company thousands of dollars.
Inadequate housekeeping and maintenance results in…
- Untidy facilities
- Increased risk of fire, accident, incident or obstruction
- Damage to the company image and brand
and can be prevented by…
- Programmed maintenance
- Clearly stated procedures
- Regular audits and inspections
- Assessment of critical assets
Practices in fillings plants are the final leg before reaching the retailer and consumer. Efficiency in this part of the chain determines how much of LPG gets distributed and how quickly product can reach end users. This area of the value chain directly determines the safety of the end user as it is the point where all safety issues need to be resolved before passing the gas on to the public.
Bad filing plant operation and design results in…
- Operational problems and reduced safety levels
- Increased operating expenses that are ultimately passed on to customers
- Dissatisfied customers and employees
• Damage to cylinders
- Operational errors and reduced levels of safety for employees and the general public
and can be prevented by…
- Planning for the future, training of personnel
- Using temporary facilities initially or…
- Contracting out cylinder-filling process
- An integrated approach to design
- Liaising with local authorities
Bulk loading is another very important area that can be huge area for incidence if good practices are not applied. It is important make sure that no short cuts or profit gaining methods are made when bulk loading LPG into tankers. Overloading can result in structural damage to the tank and can make spillage through pressure relief valves a very real hazard.
Incorrect loading and inaccurate metering results in…
- Overloading and damage to plant and vehicle
- Dissatisfied customers
- Possible regulatory violations
- Unscheduled product releases and reduced safety to the operator
and can be prevented by…
- Clear operating procedures
- Well trained staff
- Regular audits and monitoring
- Accurate scheduling
The document is far more detailed and specific, covering many more areas of the value chain. The full document can be downloaded from the WLPGA website here:
Special Thanks to David Tyler, Project and Business Practices Director of the WLPGA. He has been one of the key people leading the WLPGA’s works in the development of the ‘Guidelines for Good Industry Practices in the LPG Industry’. Having worked on the guidelines as a consultant several years prior to joining the WLPGA, he has continued to work on and improve them since he joined in 2009.
LPG Summit Team Meets NLPGA At 8th NLPGA Summit In Abuja
LPG Summit Team met with Nigerian LPG Association (NLPGA) secretariat and other Nigerian LPG dignitaries at the 8th NLPGA Conference and Exhibition in Abuja, Nigeria from 29-30 November
President: Nuhu Yakubu
Deputy President: Felix Ekundayo
1st Vice President: Baylon Duru
2nd Vice President: Ladi Falola
Hon. Treasurer: Ditan Oyekan
Acting Executive Secretary: Omolara Lawal,
Dayo Adeshina, Program Manager, National LPG Expansion Plan, Office Of The Vice President