May 2013

Safety/Loss Prevention

Flare header failure: An investigation

A 60-in. flare header suffered three identical failures with buckling and cracking at the circumferential weld at the bottom of the pipe. The failures are believed to have originated during hot relief..

Tharakan, J., Suncor Energy Products

A 60-in. flare header suffered three identical failures with buckling and cracking at the circumferential weld at the bottom of the pipe. The failures are believed to have originated during hot reliefs. The flare header handles liquid, vapor and gas intermittently relieved from various process units. The flare header runs horizontally for a length of 3 km and has a built slope of 1 in 500 for free draining. The hottest relief is from the coker unit, which could be at a maximum temperature of 815°F. The flare header was designed to ASME B 31.3, non-severe cyclic service with a design pressure of 50 psig at 815°F. It was fabricated using 0.375-in. thick carbon steel plate with non-

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