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One Common Goal: Fire & Gas Safety System

Tuesday, October 12, 2010 @ 11:10 AM gHale


Refinery, Pipeline Contractor Need Extra Layer of Protection for Any Emergency Situation
By Gregory Hale
Reliance Industries and the main contractor working on the BTC pipeline, Tekfen Construction & Installation Co., couldn’t be further apart in the oil and gas spectrum.
Reliance, a relatively new refinery in India, wanted to add capacity, while the BTC pipeline is the second longest pipeline in the world that needed a way to protect its marine terminal in Turkey. Both are different in design, but similar in that they needed a fire and gas system to protect against potential disasters.
Taking a look at the BTC pipeline marine terminal in Turkey, Cenk Sezer knew it was time.
The project leader at Tekfen was looking at this huge pipeline that connected oil from Azerbaijan through Georgia and Turkey and realized they didn’t have a fire and gas safety system in place at its Ceyhan marine terminal. It had been in operation for four years, but they realized they needed a system for any kind of emergency situation that could arise.
“It was time to investigate any next-generation fire and gas solutions that could alert our employees in a reliable, accurate and quick manner by providing the information and needed time to perform any necessary actions to protect our site,” Sezer said.

System in Charge
Once a hazardous incident occurs, a fire and gas system will take action to reduce the consequences. The system automates emergency actions in an attempt to cease extended damage.
A fire and gas safety system consists of detection, logic control and alarm and mitigation functions. Logic Solver is the central control unit of the overall fire and gas detection and control system. The controller receives alarm and status or analog signals from field monitoring devices required for fire and gas detection. The controller handles the required actions to initiate alarms and mitigate the hazard.
Fire and gas systems can detect early warnings of explosive and health hazards, including combustible and toxic gas releases, thermal radiation from fires and minute traces of smoke in sensitive equipment enclosures. They also provide audible and visual alarm indications so operators and personnel are aware of hazardous situations.
Integration at the controller level provides plant-wide safety instrumented system (SIS) point data, diagnostics and system information, as well as alarms and events, operator displays and sequence of event information to any station. By doing this, it minimizes intervention and shutdowns, reduces hardware costs, and allows plants to recover quicker from process upsets.
The new generation of fire and gas solutions provides alerts of abnormal situations in a fast, accurate and structured way, giving personnel time to decide upon the correct course of action. These solutions include integration capabilities with process simulation tools, fire and gas detectors and control communication protocols, enabling safety engineers to design and build large integrated and distributed plant-wide safety strategies.

An Extra Level
Sezer knew the Ceyhan marine terminal needed one more layer of protection as the endpoint of the $3.9 billion, 1,700 kilometer BTC pipeline, which has a projected lifespan of 40 years. When the pipeline is working at normal capacity, it transports 1 million barrels of oil per day. It needs 10 million barrels of oil to fill the pipeline. Oil flows through the pipeline at a speed of 2 meters (6.6 ft) per second. There are eight pump stations through the pipeline route (two in Azerbaijan, two in Georgia, four in Turkey). The pipeline includes the Ceyhan Marine Terminal, three intermediate pigging stations, one pressure reduction station, and 101 small block valves. It has 150,000 individual joints of line pipe, each measuring 12 meters (39 ft) in length. This corresponds to a weight of 655,000 short tons. The pipeline is 1,070 millimeters (42 in) diameter for most of its length, narrowing to 865 millimeters (34.1 in) diameter as it nears Ceyhan.
Tekfen decided they needed a fire and gas system and services with open path gas detectors, a closed-circuit television (CCTV) system with flame detectors to cover the tank farm, metering and jetty areas.
They also brought in a DCS for the terminal’s central control room so they could monitor all aspects of the system including alarming and video recording. They also wanted the fire and gas system to integrate with existing automation systems on the BTC pipeline, further increasing plant safety by providing operators information on gas levels and flame detection. In essence, they were looking for as much vision of the pipeline as possible.
As a result, Tekfen was able to gain increased reliability and improved safety; proactive monitoring which provided fast and accurate notification of potential issues; integration with the DCS in the central control room providing the ability to monitor all field information in one central system; a fire and gas system that can protect the plant and mitigate damages that may occur, and meet compliance standards while optimizing operational performance and lifecycle sustainability.
The goal was once the system was up and running, they would be able to monitor and detect any flame, or gas leakage and simplify the user’s ability to control the entire process.
“We now have control over the entire process and the ability to proactively monitor any situation that may arise,” Sezer said.
Sezer knows you can never ensure a completely safe environment. But “you can build layers of protection to eliminate as much risk as possible,” said Ged Farnaby, global solutions manager for fire and gas solutions at Honeywell. “There is an acceptable level of risk all companies have to accept at some point,” he said. “It’s like driving a car, you can take all the precautions, like filling your tires to the proper levels to make sure you are safe, but you never know what the other guy will do.”
The potential risk of equipment under control could be the outcome of the probability the hazard occurs, and the consequences of the hazard: Risk = probability x consequences.
The reduction measures either decrease the risk probability, or mitigate consequences through the fire and gas system. Fisks for the equipment under control can diminish through a combination of several reduction measures, where each measure takes care of a part of the total required risk reduction factor.

Eliminating Risk with Expansion
Reliance Industries wanted to reduce its risk as they moved to expand capacity in an effort to create the world’s largest single location oil refining operation. Officials wanted to add 600,000 barrels of refining capacity per day. Spread over 25 square kilometers, the Jamnagar complex in Gujarat, India, was already the largest refinery complex ever built from the ground up.
With toxic or combustible gases a part of the process, Reliance Industries needed early warnings of fire or gas release. They were looking for integrated fire and gas detection, CCTV systems that work with all detection devices like combustible gas detectors, toxic gas detectors, smoke detectors, heat detectors, fire alarm panels, fire suppression systems and manual call points. They also had a deadline because they wanted to get the job done before they started to take on the hydrocarbon feed.
The gas sensors were electrochemical, catalytic bead, open-path and point Infrared. The fire alarm panels supported the XP95 protocol that could talk to third-party manual call points, the video manager brought streaming data from CCTV to a single location and the dual redundant Safety Manager was able to integrate into the DCS bringing all the alarms together.
Going back to the deadline, Reliance’s integrator, Honeywell, understood the tight timeline and formed a team with experts in fire and gas, CCTV and networking. The team worked with Reliance and was able to meet the time barrier.
“Industrial operations benefit from a holistic approach to safety that supports everything from a secure process control network to the perimeter of the plant,” Farnaby said. “This layered safety strategy encompasses process and system technology, along with the people who interact with that technology, to help plants achieve their safety objectives.”
This layered safety strategy brought together all plant protection layers required for achieving optimum functional safety. It also provided the required functional safety with a high safety integrity level. This includes visualization and logging capabilities enabling optimal operator response and accurate evaluations. By integrating basic control, prevention and mitigation components, a chemical process industry company can vastly reduce its overall project costs and ongoing maintenance expenses.

Core Strength
At the core of a layered safety strategy is process design, which is the essence of the business, safety and production considerations necessary for effective operations. The next level of the layered approach implements tools and procedures for managing abnormal situations and reducing incidents. When an abnormal situation occurs, alarm management, early event detection, and abnormal situation management-designed displays ensure operators have the information available in the context they need. This enables faster reaction to hazardous situations. Again, the faster the ability to react, the safer everything will be and the quicker everyone is able to get back to normal operations.
Properly designed emergency shutdown systems and automated procedures can move a plant to a safe state in case an incident escalates beyond the inner sphere of protection.
Should an incident occur, fire and gas detection solutions, along with the rapid location of individuals and an emergency response procedure, will help contain the impact.
“The goal of a fire and gas system is for the smaller incidents to get caught before they turn into a bigger problem,” Farnaby said. “You look to detect the lowest level of exposure as possible.”
By being able to detect incidents before they get out of hand and by documenting a clean safety history, it could aid in helping move manufacturers toward a potential reduction in insurance costs.
Manufacturers have always had to deal with increased accident, incident and insurance costs, along with compliance to strict standards and codes such as NFPA, API and OSHA in the U.S. and BS EN and SEVESO II in Europe.
“When insurance companies assess facilities, if you can show them policies and procedures and they see automation protection layers in place, along with all the records, it is possible you will get lower insurance premiums,” Farnaby said.
Plants need to hike the effectiveness of fire and gas systems these days by getting more out of fire and gas detection coverage, system safety availability and mitigation effectiveness, while at the same time, reducing the cost of ownership for safety equipment and cutting down on unplanned downtime.
Manufacturers need to become smarter and integrate with other systems and there has to be an overall plant safety strategy with a unified platform for emergency shutdown and fire and gas detection so there is a single window for operators and a common tool for engineering and maintenance to drive down operational risk and costs.
Whether it is a refinery in India or a pipeline in Turkey, more companies understand fire and gas safety systems can cut down on unplanned downtime and add revenue to the bottom line.
Gregory Hale is editor and founder of Industrial Safety and Security Source (ISSSource.com), the online news site covering safety and security in the manufacturing automation sector. His email is ghale@isssource.com.



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