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Chemical Process Technology

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Friday, November 7, 2008

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Plant debottlenecking and upgrading may involve some hot work and new tie-ins on existing facilities. To facilitate safe construction of new tie-ins, conventionally the existing system will needs to be shutdown and decommission to allow safe hot work. Production loss and inventory loss will incur a large cost for a simple modification. Thus, hot tap technology has been created to facilitate construction of new hot tap while allowing continue production and zero inventory loss. Read more on "Hot Tapping and Line Stopping Without Shutdown Services". You may view the the detailed hot tapping procedure by click this link.

In normal operation of a plant, certain unavoidable phenomena such as equipment wear and tear, corrosion, decay, etc would lead to valve deteriorate and required to be replaced / changed out. Similarly, this activities would lead production shutdown and inventory loss in order to carry out the change-out activities. Now a new technique has been introduced to remove and replace a ball valve without shutting down the plant. It has been successfully implemented in changed-out of a 6" ball valve located on a live cryogenic tank. This surely and significantly reduction in production and inventory losses. In principle, it apply the similar hot tapping procedure to carry out the valve change-out. Read more on "Ground-breaking procedure on live propane tank avoids costly shutdown".

Applying hot tapping and valve change-out with live plant, it is a significant challenge to all parties involve. Several factors shall be in consideration :

i) Safety Analysis - The entire hot tapping work shall be properly analysed. All stringent safety analysis i.e PHA, HAZOP, etc shall be properly conducted and documented.

ii) Competent operator - The entire works shall be carried out by a team of competent operator. In some counties, the group of people shall have license to carry such activities.

iii) Cost - The hot tap activities is highly hazard and require high technology to conduct this activities. This will results a high cost.

Although hot tapping and online valve change-out is very attractive, nevertheless, there are still many established oil and gas operator keep them away from using this technology. The main concern still the risk involve and confident and success stories for these techniques. Having said that, it no doubt is a technique may be considered in special case.

What do you think ?

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posted by Webworm, 1:05 PM


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