Mitigating Loss of Containment Risks

by , , , , | Dec 10, 2020 | Downstream Hydrocarbons, Safety

Jim Cahill

Chief Blogger, Social Marketing Leader

At the Emerson Exchange America Virtual Series, Emerson’s Ed Schodowski, David Macedonia, Christiane Lederer and Brian Ledeboer were on a panel to discuss innovations in process safety around loss of containment for refiners, chemical and petrochemical producers. Here is their panel abstract:

Loss of containment is the largest cause of Tier 1 and Tier 2 safety incidents. Digital technologies can greatly reduce the risk of incidents when properly applied.
Safety First: An overview of Loss of Containment Safety Issues, Regulations and How They Affect You
Tank Safety Solutions– Ensure that all support systems for tank operation and safety working properly. Modern digital tank technologies can reduce safety risks of overfill, explosion and other loss of containment incidents.
Corrosion Monitoring– Corrosion can be the largest contributor to loss of containment and increases safety risks. On-line monitoring of corrosion gives faster feedback to allow mitigation through feed changes, inhibitor or process adjustments.
Fire & Gas Monitoring– Small gas leaks can be detected with new technologies that increase geographic coverage, cost effectively reducing the risk of explosions.

Ed opened describing areas to focus to mitigate risks in loss of containment.

Ways to mitigate loss of containment

David highlighted storage tanks as an area to improve containment. Storage tanks are second only to piping in loss of containment incidents. The full portfolio of solutions can manage tank blanketing and vapor recovery, emergency pressure change protection, overfill protection and corrosion monitoring.

Flame arrestors prevent flames from propagating through the plant to provide protection of people, equipment, and the environment. Automatic overfill protection monitor tank levels and connect with safety instrumented systems for high level shutdowns. Emerson can help with tank walkdowns to identify areas that need attention and improvement.

Christiane described the role of continuous corrosion monitoring for piping and vessels. This monitoring helps mitigate process safety and personnel safety risks. Real-time corrosion monitoring provides accurate and consistent measurements, enabled operations staff to focus on higher value activities, and reduces the need for plant staff to go into dangerous or inaccessible locations.

Wireless corrosion measurements feed analytics software to provide visualization and suggested actions to provide advanced warning of loss of containment incidents to enable repairs to be scheduled and performed.

She shared an example of an amine absorber application which experienced carbonic acid attacks. Real-time corrosion monitoring spotted weak spots in the piping system to enable repairs to be made during scheduled downtime. Other applications she shared included HF Alky units and High TAN crude oil processing.

Brian discussed flame and gas detectors for toxic and combustible gases. Pressurized gas releases are difficult to detect given variables such as the wind. Conventional gas detectors require transport of gas to the sensor element and depend on gas accumulation. Installing point gas detectors in 3D grid pattern may be costly and impractical.

Brian shared better placement strategies.

Gas detection placement strategies

Some of the gas detection technologies include ultrasonic, flame, open path, point gas, and wireless gas monitoring sensors. These sensors feed the flame and gas or safety instrumented system to perform safe shutdowns. These systems also activate systems such as audio alarms, flame suppression and other systems.

Visit the Refining Safety, Storage Terminal Safety, Corrosion & Erosion Monitoring, Gas Leak Detectors and Sensors sections on Emerson.com for more on each of these ways to help you mitigate loss of containment risks at your plant. Listen to this podcast and learn more about storage terminal safety.

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The opinions expressed here are the personal opinions of the authors. Content published here is not read or approved by Emerson before it is posted and does not necessarily represent the views and opinions of Emerson.