Feeling the pressure: process upsets in flaring

45 per cent of oil and gas megaprojects suffer extended project shutdowns into their second year of production. Referring to large-scale, complex ventures that typically cost billions of dollars, megaprojects demand strict budget constraints and complete operational efficiency. Equipment failure could cause an entire shutdown of a project and result in operators missing production uptime and veering away from efficiency targets.

Referred to as process upsets, factors that cause the shutdown of megaprojects can cost operators millions in lost revenue.

Common process upsets

Common operational faults include compressor and pump failures, stuck valves, pipeline and process leakages, scaling or sand clogging and false alarms.

When process upsets occur, they can alter temperatures, increase/decrease pressure and cause equipment to decrease in accuracy and efficiency. Oil and gas operators often work in hazardous conditions and with flammable or explosive materials. If temperatures were to rise significantly during a process upset or equipment was to become over pressurised, there is an increased risk of explosion.

The role of flaring

With equipment under pressure, operators could release a build-up of gas that is common is downstream processing. However, releasing – or venting – excess gas into the atmosphere is environmentally damaging. Venting emits methane, a greenhouse gas that is thirty times more damaging than Carbon Dioxide (CO­2), while chemical processing can also release toxic compounds. As a less harmful alternative, flaring burns excess natural gas to release Carbon Dioxide (CO2).

The extraction of highly flammable liquids and gases from the earth is a precise and potentially dangerous operation but flaring helps ensure the safety of employees and the smooth operation of processes. Flaring is a critical part of the oil and gas industry’s safety regime and helps operators maintain control over unpredictable process upsets.

Measuring up

Fluenta’s FGM 160 Flare Gas Meter uses ultrasonic technology to provide accurate flare gas measurement, enabling operators to better track flaring for clear and accurate reporting.

For more information on Fluenta’s FGM 160 Flare Gas Meter, click here.

October 8, 2018 | News

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