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Flare Tip Joint Industry Project (JIP) – Driving Innovation in Flare Tip Design ______________________________________________________________________________________ Introduction Replacing flare tips costs operating companies millions of dollars each year in lost production, capital expenditure, and maintenance costs. Nevertheless, no repository of objective flare tip reliability data exists upon which operating companies can base the selection of flare tips for their facilities. As a result, operators are forced to base their flare tip buying decisions on price and limited anecdotal reliability information. Furthermore, most operating companies have no system in place to manage the types and numbers of flare tips they have across their operations. Thus, as a practical matter, operating companies are not able to implement rational “sparing” programs that would make replacement tips available when unanticipated failures occur. This article presents a joint industry project (JIP) aimed at providing operating companies with an objective repository of flare tip reliability data. This repository will allow participants to select tips based on realistic estimates of complete life-cycle cost, not simply initial price and anecdotal reliability information. This repository will also provide flare tip manufacturers with a business justification to further invest in flare tip technology improvements. In addition, this JIP provides participating operating companies with a mechanism to identify the numbers and types of flare tips they have across their operations, thereby providing a basis for development and implementation of a corporate-wide “sparing” program. This joint industry project is being funded by some of the world’s largest operating companies. Case Studies To put the current situation into perspective, two case studies are provided below: Offshore Production Platform An offshore facility produced 80,000 BPD. A conventional flare tip was purchased and installed for a total cost of $260,000. The tip developed severe cracking after three and one half years of operation. The failure resulted in production being shut-in for three days. The total cost of lost production at $25 per barrel was $6 million.

Facility A Initial Purchase Cost Total Installed Cost Time to Failure Replacement Purchase Cost Total Installed Cost Number of Down Days Price Per Barrel Facility Production Total Cost of Lost Production

Berwanger, Inc.

Initial Cost $65,000 $260,000 Replacement Cost 3 1/2 years $80,000 $160,000 Lost Production Cost 3 $25 80,000 BPD $6.0 million

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Flare Tip Joint Industry Project (JIP) – Driving Innovation in Flare Tip Design ______________________________________________________________________________________

Refinery A refinery processed 200,000 BPD. A “smokeless” flare tip was purchased and installed for $175,000. The tip began to smoke severely after about four years of operation, ultimately forcing a turnaround to be accelerated by one year. The refining margin was $5 per barrel and the cost of capital was 10%. The duration of the turnaround was 20 days. Acceleration of the turnaround resulted in a NPV equivalent loss of $2,000,000.

Facility B Initial Purchase Cost Total Installed Cost Time to Failure Replacement Purchase Cost Total Installed Cost Duration of Turnaround Refining Margin Processing Capacity Cost of Capital (Annual) Total cost of lost production

Initial Cost $45,000 $175,000 Replacement Cost 4.2 years $55,000 $110,000 Lost Production Cost 20 $5 200,000 BPD 10% $2.0 million

Right Tool for the Job Flare tip JIP participants collect and share actual results from their operations on an anonymous basis. Participants have access to industry-wide data when selecting a flare tip based on realistic estimates of lifecycle cost and reliability, not simply on flare tip manufacturers recommendations. The data is collected on existing flare tips worldwide and compiled to provide an unbiased information source of tip reliability trends. The flare tip JIP analyzes actual cost of flare tip unreliability based on service life, shut down times, frequency of flare failures, production loss per flare failure, and available replacement and inspection methods. This information enables operating companies to make sound flare tip buying decisions, thereby reducing the frequency of flare outages (downtime) and costly production losses. In addition, participants with a large number of installations can use the information collected to develop a systematic flare tip sparing philosophy based on the numbers, types, sizes, and specifications of tips currently in service. Information Management The flare tip JIP utilizes an on-line information management system to enable participants worldwide to report and analyze flare tip reliability trends. The key features of this information management system are described below: On-line Survey An on-line survey allows participants form different operating companies to anonymously report technical (basic design data), process (flare gas conditions and flow rates), and performance (number and duration of outages) data regarding their flare tips, and, in return, receive access to Berwanger, Inc.

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Flare Tip Joint Industry Project (JIP) – Driving Innovation in Flare Tip Design ______________________________________________________________________________________ similar information shared by other participants. The survey form is hosted at a secure internet website that is accessible only to authorized users. Alternately, if internet access is limited, the survey can be completed as a stand-alone document supplied by the JIP Project Manager to the survey participant via e-mail. In addition to data on the flare tip itself, data for other areas of the flare system such as knockout drums, ignition systems, flare structure, maintenance and replacement techniques, pilot system/configuration, seals or any other area can be reported. This additional data can be used when evaluating different modes of failure and other problems in the flaring system. The topics covered by the survey can be classified into the following areas: Section I – Company Information This section collects information at a company level. Section II – Facility Information This section collects information at a facility level including information on weather conditions, local regulations, and throughput. Section III – Current Flare Tip Information This section collects data on the currently installed flare tip. Information collected includes manufacturer data, design data, flaring conditions, and other pertinent data. Section IV – Original Flare Tip Information This section collects data on the originally installed flare tip. Information collected includes manufacturer data, design capacity, and other pertinent data. Section V – Spare Tip Information This section collects data on the spare flare tip, if applicable. Information collected includes manufacturer data, design capacity, and other pertinent data. Section VI – Tip Maintenance and Replacement This section collects data on the frequency of tip maintenance and replacement as well as available tip maintenance and replacement techniques. Information collected includes service life of tips, modes of failure, duration of down time, and replacement data. Section VII – Flare Outages This section collects information on duration of facility shut downs and lost production due to flare outages. Section VIII – Pilot and Ignition Systems This section collects data on current and original pilot and ignition systems as well as service life and reliability. Section IX – Seal and Knockout Drum Information This section collects data on seals and knockout drums. Section X – General This section is for general comments on overall reliability of the flare system.

Berwanger, Inc.

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Flare Tip Joint Industry Project (JIP) – Driving Innovation in Flare Tip Design ______________________________________________________________________________________ Below is an excerpt from the on-line survey depicting typical information that is collected:

The on-line survey incorporates a user-friendly design. Most questions offer a pull-down menu of the most common responses as well as an option to add any non-standard responses. This design ensures efficient, accurate reporting of results. Berwanger, Inc.

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Flare Tip Joint Industry Project (JIP) – Driving Innovation in Flare Tip Design ______________________________________________________________________________________ Data Analysis and Reporting Module Information reported by participants via the on-line survey is stored in a central database in order to facilitate characterization and quantification of flare tip reliability trends. Data analysis is accomplished primarily via a module that allows for flexible compilation, analysis, and reporting of reliability trends by any specified variable. For example, a user may supply a key word such as manufacturer, flare tip model, or service, and generate reliability trends such as service life, shut down times, frequency of flare failures, production loss per flare failure, or available replacement and inspection methods. The resulting trends enable users to select new and replacement flare tips based on an objective reliability data. Below is an excerpt from the data analysis and reporting module depicting basic flare tip design data collected from participating companies:

Company Facility

Manuf.

Year Tip was Placed Time Tip Model Serial in was in Mode of Tip Number Number Service Service Failure

Service

Pressure Range

Tip Type

Test 1

1

Acid Gas

High Pressure

Sonic - fixed

XYZ-ABC 3403-4 92834560

2002

2 years

Cracking

Test 2

2

Acid Gas

High Pressure

Sonic - fixed

XYZ-ABC 3403-4 92834560

2002

3 years

Igniter

Test 3

3

Acid Gas

High Pressure

Sonic - fixed

XYZ-ABC 3403-4 92834560

2002

2.6 years

Test 4

4

Acid Gas

High Pressure

Sonic - fixed

XYZ-ABC 3403-4 92834560

2002

Smoke Inefficient 3.2 years combustion

Test 5

5

Acid Gas

High Pressure

Sonic - fixed

XYZ-ABC 3403-4 92834560

2002

1.5 years

Cracking

Test 1

6

Liquids

Intermediate Pressure Sonic - variable slot XYZ-ABC 38438 645634-2

2003

1 year

Cracking

Test 2

7

Liquids

Intermediate Pressure Sonic - variable slot XYZ-ABC 38438 645634-2

2003

1 year

Test 3

8

Liquids

Intermediate Pressure Sonic - variable slot XYZ-ABC 38438 645634-2

2003

1 year

Smoke Inefficient combustion

Test 4

9

Liquids

Intermediate Pressure Sonic - variable slot XYZ-ABC 35038 645634-2

2003

1 year

Igniter

Test 5

10

Liquids

Intermediate Pressure Sonic - variable slot XYZ-ABC 38458 645634-2

2003

1 year

Cracking

Test 1

11

Specialty

Low Pressure

Pipe

XYZ-ABC 95848 90454782

2002

3.7 years

Test 2

12

Specialty

Low Pressure

Pipe

XYZ-ABC 95858 95834782

2002

Cracking Inefficient 2.1 years combustion

Test 4

13

Specialty

Low Pressure

Pipe

XYZ-ABC 93248 90458782

2002

1.9 years

Igniter

Test 1

14

Sweet Gas

Intermediate Pressure

Sonic - fixed

XYZ-ABC 82763

2827635

2000

4 years

Smoke

Test 4

15

Sweet Gas

Intermediate Pressure

Sonic - fixed

XYZ-ABC 82723

2827635

2000

2.4 years

Cracking

Using the raw data depicted in the above table, various analyses are performed to reveal flare tip reliability trends. For example, the following graphs show how data can be used to compare the mean time between failures for a given flare tip model or service type against that of other models or service types.

Mean Time Between Failures by Model for a Given Service

Years

6 4 2 0 A

B

C

D

E

F

G H

I

J

K

Model

Berwanger, Inc.

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Flare Tip Joint Industry Project (JIP) – Driving Innovation in Flare Tip Design ______________________________________________________________________________________

t Ve n

id s qu Li

ty ec ia l

Sp

tG as ee

Sw

Ac id

G

as

Years

4 3 2 1 0

Mean Time Between Failures by Service for a Given Model

Service Type

The JIP participants from different operating companies will have unlimited access to data collected for flare tips across their own facilities. This information can provide a basis for the development and implementation of a corporate-wide flare tip sparing philosophy. Below is an excerpt from the data analysis and reporting module depicting information for all operating and spare flare tips reported by Company A:

Company Facility

Tip

A

1

1

A

1

2

A

2

1

A

2

2

A

3

1

Service Pressure Range Acid High Pressure Gas Acid Low Pressure Gas Acid Gas Acid Gas

Tip Type

Flange Model Serial Construction Flange Size Manufacturer Number Number Materials Connection (inches)

Sonic - fixed

XYZ-ABC

3403-4 92834560 Carbon Steel ANSI 150 RF

42

Sonic - fixed

XYZ-ABC

3403-4 92834560 Carbon Steel ANSI 150 RF

42

Low Pressure

Sonic - fixed

XYZ-ABC

3403-4 92834560 Carbon Steel ANSI 150 RF

42

High Pressure

Sonic - fixed

XYZ-ABC

3403-4 92834560 Carbon Steel ANSI 150 RF

42

XYZ-ABC

3403-4 92834560 Carbon Steel ANSI 150 RF

42

XYZ-ABC

38438 645634-2 Austenitic SS ANSI 150 RF

36

XYZ-ABC

38438 645634-2 Austenitic SS ANSI 150 RF

36

XYZ-ABC

38438 645634-2 Austenitic SS ANSI 150 RF

36

XYZ-ABC

35038 645634-2 Austenitic SS ANSI 150 RF

36

XYZ-ABC

38458 645634-2 Austenitic SS ANSI 150 RF

36

Acid Gas

High Pressure

Sonic - fixed

Intermediate Pressure

Sonic - variable slot Sonic - variable slot

A

3

2

Liquids

A

3

3

Liquids High Pressure

A

4

1

Liquids

A

5

1

Liquids

A

5

2

Liquids

Intermediate Pressure

Sonic - variable slot

Intermediate Pressure Intermediate Pressure

Sonic - variable slot Sonic - variable slot

Conclusion Participation in the Flare Tip Joint Industry Project (Flare Tip JIP) provides participating operating companies with a valuable tool to use when selecting flare tips, designing their installations, and stewarding their operations. Participating companies will also be able to implement a company-wide sparing program.

Berwanger, Inc.

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Flare tip joint industry project (jip)  

A joint industry project (JIP) aimed at providing operating companies with an objective repository of flare tip reliability data.

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