Maintenance & Reliability

Reliability: When slow-rolling machines can cause failures, and how to avoid them

Bloch, Heinz P., Hydrocarbon Processing Staff

All the book learning in the world will fail if we do not use common sense. We could also say that we need to think things through and should recognize that intuitive logic can lead us astray. If that sounds like semantic banter, let us zero in on three practical field examples that illustrate the issues at hand.

How changes to functional safety standards can optimize fire and gas detection

Naranjo, E., Emerson Automation Solutions

ANSI/ISA-84 is one of the most influential standards in functional safety and has been a driver for instrumented process safety improvements over the last 20 yr. It is a comprehensive norm covering a wide range of aspects related to functional safety in process industries, including the entire life cycle of designing, implementing and operating safety systems.

HC condensate sphere inlet pipe failure investigation

Rinawi, A., KELM Engineering LLC; Al Bukhari, A., Al Hajji, M., Al Boobaid, M., Saudi Aramco

During a normal turnaround and inspection (T&I) of a hydrocarbon sphere, a fatigue failure in the 24-in. inlet pipe riser was discovered. As per the original 2003 design, the sphere serves as a surge tank during pipeline scraping, as well as a backup for a stabilizer during T&I. Each stabilizer has a capacity of 78,000 bpd. However, due to asymmetry in the piping configuration, the sphere typically receives higher flow of 90,000 bpd, with rates sometimes reaching 110,000 bpd as a result of scraping or other activities happening concurrently. The sphere was upgraded to work continuously in 2012 to handle the anticipated additional condensate by adding an overhead gas compressor and a dedicated condensate shipper pump.

Consider installing a VFD to increase reliability and savings

Vila Forteza, M., Petronor

The Petronor oil refinery is in the north of Spain and is part of REPSOL Group. In 2019, the facility upgraded the driver of a reformer’s draft fan from a general-purpose steam turbine and gearbox to a variable frequency drive (VFD) electric motor.

Inspection: Best practices for inspecting guyed structures

Anwer, A., Contributing Editor

Guyed structures are common in petrochemicals, oil and gas and chemical industries. Half of the installed flare structures at many facilities are guyed. Various routine inspection programs are in place to examine these structures. This work describes some very basic checks, which should be in place to maintain their mechanical integrity.

Reliability: Improve condition monitoring with shock pulse technology

Bloch, Heinz P., Hydrocarbon Processing Staff

Shock pulse technology is generally well known to vibration analysts and reliability technicians. A handheld combination of sensor and display meter would typically be used to detect discontinuities in bearings and would respond to the impact of two masses. The resulting shockwaves will create a shock pulse of a certain magnitude that commonly manifests itself at a particular repeat frequency. The respective magnitude of relevant excursions and their trends can be observed by the person entrusted with the monitoring task.

Editorial Comment: Honoring the industry’s best … take 2!

Nichols, Lee, Hydrocarbon Processing Staff

Due to Tropical Storm Imelda, Hydrocarbon Processing issued its first force majeure in postponing the third annual HP Awards.

Using ball valves in high-temperature applications

Jablonski, J., Helfer, W., Emerson Automation Solutions

Ball valves are often an economical solution for controlling flows in refinery high-temperature applications, but their application can be complex, particularly in high-temperature uses.

Improved cooling system performance begins with data

Dalebroux, J., Emerson Automation Solutions; Aleynik, B., Consultant

Refineries consume large amounts of energy and water to refine crude oil into products. Up to 10% of crude oil’s energy content is consumed during processing, and it takes 1.5 bbl of water to process one barrel of crude oil. Refining processes also generate large quantities of excess thermal energy that needs to be expelled into the environment using a once-through or recirculating cooling system.

Hydrocarbon Processing Awards Winners

Hydrocarbon Processing, the downstream processing sector’s leading technical publication, has announced the winners for its third annual awards. The HP Awards celebrate innovative technologies and people that have been instrumental in improving facility operations over the past year.