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Chemical Process Technology

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Saturday, January 26, 2008

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Nowadays, sweet field is getting less and less. Oil and gas activities are moving into exploration and production of high Carbon Dioxide, high mercury and sour field. One of the example is recent project on a gas field development which contains very high carbon dioxide (~ 40% CO2), reasonably high Hydrogen Sulphide (>120ppm h2S), high mercury level (> 5000 microgram/Nm3 at 25 barg) and high sand production (> 2 kg/h) as discussed in "Several Concerns in High CO2 Field Development".

With present exploration & production environment, minimizing release of CO2 to atmosphere and injection into reservoir is for well maintenance and disposal is generally encouraged. Release of of H2S to atmosphere is prohibited. H2S is normally injected together with Co2 gas or recover to produce sulphur (S) as by product. Handling sulphur in powder form potential poses the danger of fire or possibly dust explosions.
"Eighty percent of all industrial dusts are combustible, and even a dust layer of 1 mm in a closed room is sufficient to trigger an explosion when the dust is swirled up and ignited. These facts, combined with the fact that those affected are not sufficiently aware of the danger (in contrast to the danger of gas explosions) underlines the importance of preventing dust explosions. "
What is dust explosion ? What are the factors affecting dust explosion ? What are the protection measures ? How to selection equipment dealing with powder from dust explosion perspective ?... The following article (by STAHL) will help you analyse the danger of a dust explosion in your facilities and to take the suitable technical and organisational steps to minimise this risk.

Another article (by BARTEC) "Dust Explosion Protection" would bring some additional information on dust explosion.

One of the recommended standard for prevention of fire and dust explosion is NFPA 654 – Standard for the Prevention of Fire and Dust Explosions from the Manufacturing, Processing, and Handling of Combustible Particulate Solids. You may visit NFPA website to obtain a formal copy.

While dealing with dust explosion and NFPA 654, the following questions may be raised :
  • What is NFPA 654 and how does it affect my plant?
  • Who is responsible for implementing NFPA 654 standards at the plant?
  • What explosion protection methods are required by NFPA 654?
  • How do I begin the process protection design to comply with NFPA 654?
  • What process equipment is covered by NFPA 654 ?
  • All of my process equipment has deflagration venting installed on it. Is that all I have to do?
  • Does ‘return air’ to the plant from an air separation device present a danger?
  • Where should I consider the use of building vents?
Read "UNDERSTANDING NFPA 654 - Protecting Your Plant From Dust Explosions" (by BS&B) will probably provides some ideas for above questions.

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posted by Webworm, 2:57 PM


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