Wednesday, February 17th 2021

Manufacturing: Samsung Semiconductor Fabs in Texas Shut Down Following State-wide Power Shortages

News just keep flowing that are bound to have impact on pricing for components users of this website know and love. The Austin-American Statesman reports that Samsung has been ordered to shutter its Texas factories in wake of recent power shortages that have impacted the state. The order, which came from Austin Energy, doesn't just affect Samsung: all industrial and semiconductor manufacturers in the state were ordered to idle or shut down their facilities, meaning that NXP Semiconductors and Infineon Semiconductors have also been affected. According to Austin Energy, all companies have complied with the order. A date for the lifting of these restrictions still hasn't been given.

As we know, semiconductor manufacturing is a drawn-out process, with some particular wafers taking several months in their journey from initial fabrication until they reach completion. This meas that it's a particularly sensitive business in regards to power outages or general service interruptions. The entire semiconductor manufacturing lines - and products therein, in various stages of production - can be rendered unusable due to these events, which will have a sizable impact in the final manufacturing output of a given factory. It remains to be seen the scale of this production impact, but a few percentage points difference in the overall global semiconductor manufacturing could have dire implications for availability and pricing, considering the already insufficient operational capacity in regards to demand. Considering the impact adverse temperatures are having on Texas residents, here's hoping for the quick resolution of these problems, which affect much more than just semiconductor manufacturing capabilities.
Sources: Austin-American Statesman, via Tom's Hardware
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92 Comments on Manufacturing: Samsung Semiconductor Fabs in Texas Shut Down Following State-wide Power Shortages

#76
Fourstaff
Why_Me
Those are pics of gas lines covered in ice going into a building. That's no reason for those lines to freeze. Again gas can go through uninsulated lines without a problem in subzero temps which I highly doubt Texas had. There's more to this story than what's being reported.
All it takes is a few instruments to freeze for the whole pipeline network to shut in due to safety concerns.

As for gas production, its regular practice for to inject MEG to fight hydrates forming here (ambient temps of 20-30C), I can imagine that there will be wells which will be unable to flow due to the low temps. Source: I work in E&P (aka oil/gas production).
Posted on Reply
#77
80-watt Hamster
Caring1
So some "blonde" posts pics of machinery and water lines with ice on it as an explanation as to why gas lines are frozen?
Correct or not, what does the poster's physical appearance have to do with anything?
Posted on Reply
#78
Caring1
80-watt Hamster
Correct or not, what does the poster's physical appearance have to do with anything?
Nothing, just like her unqualified postings online.
She may as well have posted pictures of clouds and blamed them, or her cat maybe.
Posted on Reply
#79
80-watt Hamster
Caring1
Nothing, just like her unqualified postings online.
She may as well have posted pictures of clouds and blamed them, or her cat maybe.
Then address her position. Calling her out based on being "blonde" just makes you look like a dick.
Posted on Reply
#80
Slizzo
80-watt Hamster
Then address her position. Calling her out based on being "blonde" just makes you look like a dick.
Sexist. Though also still a dick.
Posted on Reply
#81
dragontamer5788
Caring1
So some "blonde" posts pics of machinery and water lines with ice on it as an explanation as to why gas lines are frozen?
As an explanation why Texas lost 30GWs of nuclear, gas, and coal power.

It turns out that those thermal power-plants need water to create steam, and steam to spin their generators. So yes: frozen above-grade uninsulated water pipes are a perfectly adequate explanation to the phenomenon that occurred this past week.
Posted on Reply
#82
ThrashZone
Hi,
Yeah bottom line nothing was winterized but the blame game continues
Posted on Reply
#83
JustAnEngineer
Here are the recommendations after the similar hard freeze in Texas in 2011:
www.nerc.com/pa/rrm/ea/ColdWeatherTrainingMaterials/FERC%20NERC%20Findings%20and%20Recommendations.pdf
El Paso followed these recommendations.

Federal guidelines for power plant winterization were not applied within ERCOT:
www.nerc.com/comm/OC_Reliability_Guidelines_DL/Reliability_Guideline_Generating_Unit_Winter_Weather_Readiness_v3_Final.pdf

Guidelines for assessing risks to the natural gas supply:
www.nerc.com/comm/PC_Reliability_Guidelines_DL/Fuel_Assurance_and_Fuel-Related_Reliability_Risk_Analysis_for_the_Bulk_Power_System.pdf

Here's the report of the hard freeze across the southern U.S. three years ago:
www.ferc.gov/sites/default/files/2020-07/SouthCentralUnitedStatesColdWeatherBulkElectricSystemEventofJanuary17-2018.pdf
Posted on Reply
#84
Why_Me
Fourstaff
All it takes is a few instruments to freeze for the whole pipeline network to shut in due to safety concerns.

As for gas production, its regular practice for to inject MEG to fight hydrates forming here (ambient temps of 20-30C), I can imagine that there will be wells which will be unable to flow due to the low temps. Source: I work in E&P (aka oil/gas production).
If Alaska wells don't have a problem pushing up gas & oil at -50 I'm not sure why the wells in Texas can't do the same in temps that didn't hit below zero. Source: I spent nearly two decades working in the oil patch up on Alaska's north slope.

Shlumberger cleaning well heads in -30 temps. The rest of those well houses were online and pumping like they always do.

Posted on Reply
#85
80-watt Hamster
I'm having a hard time figuring out what there truly is to argue about here. Stuff worked before. Then some of it stopped working when it got cold. That means something was under-designed for cold weather operation (probably multiple somethings), or cold-sensitive critical components/systems weren't maintained properly, or both. Said stuff works in other places when cold, so we can pretty confidently land on under-preparedness of some sort being the problem.

One could draw yet another analogy to cars. In a deep cold snap, a certain number will fall prey to one or more of: weak coolant, old battery, un-winterized fuel (for diesels), water (now ice) in fuel lines, and other issues I'm not thinking of. Power generation has it's own temperature-related risks, which the rest of the US has very clearly managed. Texas seems to be a slow learner in that regard.

On the subject of regulation (since it keeps getting brought up), it's not a bad thing in and of itself, but can be over-used like anything else. One of the neat aspects of the US is how much room the states have to govern themselves. That's a valuable and somewhat fragile thing; I feel we should be wary of how often blanket federal law is applied. If Texas wants to structure their power grid to avoid federal standards, bully for them (I haven't corroborated this claim from earlier in the thread). But then it's up to Texas to set and enforce its own standards and regs to avoid flusterclucks like this.
Posted on Reply
#86
MikeSnow
Why_Me
That's a pic of a monitoring station .. all it does is monitor the gas so they know how much to charge (cubic ft.). The gas line going into my cabin goes 3/4 of the way around the outside of this place and none of its insulated. I've had -40 temps multiple times and have never had an issue.
In my experience, the critical things to protect are the diaphragm valves between the high pressure and low pressure parts of the system. My newly built apartment building had such a valve outside, at the base of the building, and the valve was not isolated properly. When the temperature outside went negative (in Celsius), the valve froze, and we remained without gas for a few days. After this incident, the entire thing was enveloped in glass wool, and we never had any more problems in the last 10 years.

Natural gas contains some amount of water vapor, and when the gas is converted from high pressure to low pressure, which happens at the level of the valve I talked about earlier, it cools down even further, which causes the water to freeze on the surfaces inside the valve. The higher the pressure difference, the more it cools when it passes through the valve. The gas being cold on the high pressure side exacerbates the problem. If the gas line you were talking about, going into your cabin, is low pressure, it's not a big deal if it's not isolated. But I bet the previous high pressure segment properly isolated, including the valve between it and the lower pressure segment.

You can read more about this here: welker.com/freeze-protection-for-natural-gas-pipeline-systems-and-measurement-instrumentation/
Posted on Reply
#87
Caring1
Slizzo
Sexist. Though also still a dick.
Please tell me how noting the colour of her hair is sexist?
it may be leaning towards a generalization, but it's not sexist.
dragontamer5788
It turns out that those thermal power-plants need water to create steam, and steam to spin their generators. So yes: frozen above-grade uninsulated water pipes are a perfectly adequate explanation to the phenomenon that occurred this past week.
Ahh yes, if only they had some thermal means of heating those pipes and or their own water retention system.
It's not like water is used to cool power plants. :rolleyes:
Posted on Reply
#88
Fourstaff
Why_Me
If Alaska wells don't have a problem pushing up gas & oil at -50 I'm not sure why the wells in Texas can't do the same in temps that didn't hit below zero. Source: I spent nearly two decades working in the oil patch up on Alaska's north slope.

Shlumberger cleaning well heads in -30 temps. The rest of those well houses were online and pumping like they always do.


North Slope wells are designed to produce under cold temps, I am pretty sure a lot of Texan ones are designed to curtail/defer during periods of bad weather. The same way how the DW gulf platforms are designed to shut in during hurricanes - its cheaper to shut in production than to install a weather proof piece of equipment which gets used once a decade.
Posted on Reply
#89
Why_Me
Fourstaff
North Slope wells are designed to produce under cold temps, I am pretty sure a lot of Texan ones are designed to curtail/defer during periods of bad weather. The same way how the DW gulf platforms are designed to shut in during hurricanes - its cheaper to shut in production than to install a weather proof piece of equipment which gets used once a decade.
The only weather proof equipment in those well houses are the well houses themselves. They're made out of sheet metal and each corner along with the roof is connected via a piece of angle iron. Oil comes out of the ground at around 140F.
Posted on Reply
#90
tfdsaf
mechtech
Interesting. I never heard of windmills freezing up here in Canada. Maybe we got the ‘winter’ grade?
You probably have redundant energy, there are always issues in any system, so you want to generally be producing more than what the consumption is, plus that way you also future proof for bigger population down the road in 20-30 years. I think Texas doesn't even achieve full coverage with its own electricity, so they import electricity from other states, not by much, probably just 2-4% to supplement theirs, which in cases like these really hurts you.

Generally you want 10% higher output than consumption, just in case.
Posted on Reply
#91
Vayra86
Why_Me
It's even more amusing that some people put so much faith into windmill farms. Just ask the Germans who tout green energy yet are having the Russians build them a second gas line (Nordstream 2) but only after screwing the Hungarians for attempting to do the same (Southstream).


Funny that seeing how the Dutch are knee deep with the Germans when it comes to importing Russian natural gas. Natural gas is clean and easy hence the reason its the #1 source of energy for northern Europe, the US and Canada.


Those are pics of gas lines covered in ice going into a building. That's no reason for those lines to freeze. Again gas can go through uninsulated lines without a problem in subzero temps which I highly doubt Texas had. There's more to this story than what's being reported.
Its a definite choice of evils, but they all point to a singular problem: energy self sufficiency and the EU needs it much like its own production capacity.
Posted on Reply
#92
Slizzo
Caring1
Please tell me how noting the colour of her hair is sexist?
it may be leaning towards a generalization, but it's not sexist.
It's entirely irrelevant to the conversation.
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