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Eliminating Flare Gas Recovery Bottlenecks During Maintenance & TA Activities - MACT, RTR, & JA

Updated: Feb 12


The Oil & Gas industry is challenged with developing alternative technologies to control hazardous and regulated emissions. Federal and State Agencies have emphasized efforts to minimize flare usage as a control device during maintenance activities. The implementation of Refinery RTR is creating significant concern for operations. Turnaround planners now have to take into account how to meet new regulations while maintaining schedule deadlines and optimization.

New MACT standards restricts refiners’ ability to openly purge process equipment to the atmosphere, eliminating the SSM exemption, while placing significant constraints on when units can be opened to the atmosphere. Limited flare and/or flare gas recovery capacity causes bottlenecks during deinventory and cleaning operations, resulting in additional costs in meeting these new standards.

Regulatory/FGR Impacts

• Additional downtime - higher costs, lost revenue, and decreased profits

• Increased potential for a safety or environmental incident

• Pressure limitations - less effective deinventory and cleaning operations

• Temperature limits for vapor phase cleaning

Refineries are looking for alternative technologies to flares that can provide flexibility during various operations and maintenance activities. During unit shutdowns and turnarounds, there may be periods that the refinery Flare Gas Recovery System capacity can be challenged. The deployment of mobile technologies can help operators reduce and potentially improve operational execution/efficiency, if implemented correctly.

Key Points to Solution Criteria:

• Safety of employees during process

• Minimize or eliminate delays to turnaround schedule

• Meet H2S reduction requirements

• Not impede emergency relief to flare system in case of upset conditions

• System design must meet process safety review

Vapor Point utilizes ASME code pressurized vessels and innovative processes to eliminate pressure limitations. Custom engineered temporary vessels for liquid and vapor phase product management have also been developed and are key elements in some applications. The vapor phase emission control systems and specially designed process vessels have met the needs of the refining industry with numerous field implementations.

Vapor Point applies high efficiency liquid scrubbing systems to remove VOC, H2S, and other HAPS during different phases of unit decontamination. The Vapor Point system allows for vapor to go to atmosphere after scrubbing, limiting reliance on flare capacity. Vapor Point successfully implements temporary liquid and vapor phase management systems, helping operators maintain schedule while reducing cost impacts.

Learn how Vapor Point eliminates flare gas recovery bottlenecks during maintenance and turnaround activities.

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About the Author:

Sean Kirkpatrick joined Vapor Point in 2012 as the Chief Operating Officer. Sean applies this rare combination of technical and management expertise to ensure that Vapor Point's internal operations work seamlessly in support of our clients' environmental initiatives. He also works closely with clients to design and implement innovative vapor control systems that meet regulatory compliance and protect their workers. Contact: skirkpatrick@vaporpoint.net

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