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Special Report

Next Generation Air and Steam Solutions

Air and Steam Rental Solutions for Global Oil and Gas Markets Good Servants to Man Hard Workers‌ Anywhere Safety First is Best Buy, Lease or Rent? Sponsored by

Published by Global Business Media


Air and steam rental solutions

Global markets we support Well Testing Rig Fabric Maintenance and Operations Drill Cuttings Transportation Geothermal Energy LNG-CSG Pneumatic Testing Pipeline Dewatering and Drying Underbalanced Drilling (UBD) For further information please contact your local Airpac Bukom service facility. e: airpac.rentals@vpplc.com www.airpacbukom.com

A Vp plc company

Aberdeen Great Yarmouth Singapore Australia Curaรงao UAE


SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION AIR AND STEAM SOLUTIONS

SPECIAL REPORT

Next Generation Air and Steam Solutions

Contents Foreword

2

John Hancock, Editor Air and Steam Rental Solutions for Global Oil and Gas Markets Good Servants to Man Hard Workers… Anywhere Safety First is Best Buy, Lease or Rent? Sponsored by

Published by Global Business Media

Published by Global Business Media Global Business Media Limited 62 The Street Ashtead Surrey KT21 1AT United Kingdom Switchboard: +44 (0)1737 850 939 Fax: +44 (0)1737 851 952 Email: info@globalbusinessmedia.org Website: www.globalbusinessmedia.org

Air and Steam Rental Solutions for Global Oil and Gas Markets Modern, Specialist Rental Fleet Investment High Pressure Rental Fleet for LNG, Pipeline and UBD Applications Global Network, Local Support Key Personnel Why Choose Airpac Bukom? Contact

Good Servants to Man

Publisher Kevin Bell Business Development Director Marie-Anne Brooks

Hard Workers… Anywhere

Advertising Executives Michael McCarthy Abigail Coombes Production Manager Paul Davies

Safety First is Best

For further information visit: www.globalbusinessmedia.org The opinions and views expressed in the editorial content in this publication are those of the authors alone and do not necessarily represent the views of any organisation with which they may be associated. Material in advertisements and promotional features may be considered to represent the views of the advertisers and promoters. The views and opinions expressed in this publication do not necessarily express the views of the Publishers or the Editor. While every care has been taken in the preparation of this publication, neither the Publishers nor the Editor are responsible for such opinions and views or for any inaccuracies in the articles.

© 2012. The entire contents of this publication are protected by copyright. Full details are available from the Publishers. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior permission of the copyright owner.

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Peter Dunwell, Correspondent

A Large Industry Air and Steam at the Well Head Air and Steam in the Infrastructure Operational Matters to Consider Cleaning the Cleaner

Senior Project Manager Steve Banks

7

John Hancock, Editor

Air Compressors Steam Generation Air and Steam Today The Future

Editor John Hancock

3

Airpac Bukom Oilfield Services

11

John Hancock, Editor

The Most Important Consideration Air and Steam Safety Equipment Standards Danger Zones Rigsafe

Buy, Lease or Rent?

13

Peter Dunwell, Correspondent

Buy, Lease or Rent? Opportunity Cost Many Things to Consider Maintenance Match the Method to the Business

References 15

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SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION AIR AND STEAM SOLUTIONS

Foreword S

ometimes it is not the headline grabbing

further overseas facilities planned in the next

‘glamorous’ solutions that are most vital to an

12 months. Its philosophy is to provide local support

industry. In fact, high visibility solutions may only be

for local operations.

deployed when something has gone wrong. Films

Air and steam solutions are employed in many

have been made about those individuals whose

industries but are of particular use to the oil and

expertise is called upon to fight oil and gas well fires

gas sector where their ability to deliver power and

and there is no doubting their skills or bravery. But

to function without the direct risk of sparks is most

there are less photogenic solutions whose purpose

appropriate in an environment where flammable

is not so much to cope with failures (though they

fumes are present.

can often help) but more to help avoid failures.

In this paper, we consider how air and steam

In oil and gas, a lot of risk management is about

have evolved from useful servants to indispensable

maintenance of the machinery and infrastructure

components in all sorts of industrial processes,

to prevent any accumulations of flammable

including the oil and gas sector: we’ll also look

materials and about maintaining a safe operating

at what they can do and why they are the right

environment for the people who work in the sector.

solutions for many tasks. One theme running

In both of these, two solutions that work very well

through much of what is covered will be safety

are air and steam.

and we also look specifically at the health and safety

The opening article in this Special Report looks at

edicts, regulations and standards that govern the

Airpac Bukom, one of the largest rental providers to

building, maintenance and operation of equipment.

the well testing market in the world. This company has

And finally, we’ll cover the various methods by which

invested around £30m over the last three years into

users can acquire equipment or the use of equipment.

new equipment to support domestic and international

Air and steam solutions may not be high

operations and continues to invest into its rigsafe

profile or the stuff of movies but they are vital to

air compressor fleet to support operations in Latin

many processes.

America and the Middle East. Although the company was set up originally to support North Sea operations, it has since developed a network of six international sales, distribution and servicing facilities located in both the Western and Eastern hemispheres with

John Hancock Editor

John Hancock has been a journalist for nearly 25 years. He has written and edited articles and papers on a range of defence, engineering and technology topics as well as for key events in those sectors.

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SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION AIR AND STEAM SOLUTIONS

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Air and Steam Rental Solutions for Global Oil and Gas Markets

Air and steam rental solutions for global well testing campaigns

Airpac Bukom Oilfield Services

Airpac Bukom Oilfield Services is the offshore division of Vp plc, a large UK based specialist equipment rental group. For over 35 years, Airpac Bukom has specialised in the supply of operated air and steam equipment rental solutions to a wide variety of markets. These include well testing and maintenance, LNG pneumatic testing, pipeline dewatering and drying, product transfer, underbalanced drilling (UBD), drill cuttings transportation, and unconventional energy market sectors. Customers range from leading oil operating companies, offshore maintenance contractors to major well services providers and specialist oilfield contractors. The business has grown fourfold over the past five years, and in that time it has been transformed from being a North Sea dedicated business to one that holds a leading position within global oil and gas service markets. Having secured major contracts worldwide, and in supplying the primary oilfield service providers on a global basis, Airpac Bukom is well positioned to take advantage of the opportunities and meet the challenges that lie ahead.

Zone II Air Compressors 400scfm - 1000scfm

Supporting geothermal energy capture, Cooper Basin, Australia

Modern, Specialist Rental Fleet With a large fleet of air compressors, steam generators, booster compressors, steam heat exchangers, dual pot sand filters, coflexip hoses and air treatment ancillaries, Airpac Bukom is one of the largest rental providers to the well testing market in the world. The fleet covers a broad range of specifications ensuring there is a solution for virtually every application. A combined fleet of more than five hundred diesel driven Zone II and rigsafe air compressors for oilfield applications is available for rental. The Zone II range, for use in hazardous areas, is available in four models offering volumes of 400scfm through to 1000scfm. The extensive and modern rigsafe compressor fleet, ideal for use in safe areas, produces volumes of 175scfm through to 1600scfm and pressure variants from 100psig to 365psig. The fleet of more than one hundred steam generators is capable of producing between 4.5mbtu – 6mbtu. The Cochran steam generators are built to DNV standards with added optional safety features of blow down tanks, CO2 and H2S gas detection. ASME standard steam generators are also available to satisfy customer

requirements in the Americas. Teamed with air compressors and heat exchangers, the fleet of steam generators supports surface well testing operations in most oil provinces across the globe. The air and steam products are accompanied by the largest rental fleet of 5,000psig, 10,000psig and 15,000psig dual pot sand filters and steam heat exchanger units. The fleet of 15,000psig units is suitable for deepwater surface well test and clean-up operations. Coflexip hoses include standard 10,000psig Rilsan lined hoses and high temperature 15,000psig Coflon lined hoses, which are available in various lengths and pressure ratings to suit customer well test requirements. Complementing the range of compressed air and steam equipment, a wide range of multipressure desiccant dryers, aftercoolers, oil filters and air manifolds is available for mobilisation.

Rigsafe Air Compressors 175scfm - 1600scfm

Steam Generators 1.4Mbtu - 6Mbtu

Investment Over the last three years, investment of around ÂŁ30m has been ploughed into new equipment to support domestic and international operations. This has produced a rental equipment inventory that is second to none. www.offshoretechnologyreports.com | 3


SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION AIR AND STEAM SOLUTIONS

With a large fleet of air compressors, steam generators, booster compressors, steam heat exchangers, dual pot sand filters, coflexip hoses and air treatment ancillaries, Airpac

Airpac Bukom’s investment in Zone II, ATEX DNV approved containerised air compressors complements their existing range of Zone II units and is available from their Aberdeen and Great Yarmouth service facilities. Additional investment in the Zone II compressor fleet over the next 12 months will ensure that Airpac Bukom can support the future requirements of our customers, meeting the everincreasing stringent standards demanded by the global offshore industry. Further investment has been injected into the rigsafe air compressor fleet with an initial quantity of twelve Sullair 1600scfm high volume units intended to support client well test operations in Latin America and the Middle East. These new machines complement the existing fleet of rigsafe compressors ranging from 175scfm through to 1200scfm. The new compressors deliver 1600scfm of compressed air at a pressure of 150psig. The units offer easy to operate dual air outlets for instrument quality, filtered air and standard air.

up to 2248psig and volume output of 3850scfm. Lastly, twelve new high pressure desiccant dryers have been acquired to complement the other additions to the high pressure fleet. Some of these new units were utilised on Woodside’s Pluto LNG project in Australia during the fabrication, construction and commissioning phases. Investment in the steam generator fleet has included the addition of large capacity 5.8Mbtu rigsafe Cochran Borderer boilers for the oil and gas industry. Large volumes of steam are essential in a wide range of oil and gas applications such as well testing, maintenance, chemical cleaning and heating applications.

Bukom is one of the largest rental providers to the well testing market New Borderer Cochran 5.8Mbtu steam generator

in the world.

Sullair 1600scfm/150psig rigsafe compressors

Dave Cooper, Business Development Manager for the Middle East & Caspian states, “Our well test customers are demanding larger volume compressors to suit new generation, environmentally friendly burners and these units will provide higher flow rates for a minimal increase in footprint.” Thirty more Ingersoll Rand, high pressure primary compressors have been added to the existing high pressure fleet. The latest additions to the booster compressor range are two Hurricane Boosters with pressure capability of 4 | www.offshoretechnologyreports.com

The new range of steam generators is built to DNV standards with added safety features of internal blow down tanks and FM200 fire suppression systems. Installed in purpose built DNV 2.7-1 offshore containers, these fully enclosed units are delivered with internal water tanks and internal fuel tanks to meet all site or rig requirements. Each unit also contains 200 feet of steam hose, together with a comprehensive spares kit. The steam generators are manufactured in the UK and are dual certified units (BS2790/ASME) designed to satisfy our customers’ requirements and are suitable for operation in all oil provinces. John Rae, Technical Support Manager states, “The new steam generators will provide our well test customers with even higher volumes of steam output than previously available. The new machines complement our existing fleet of more than 100 steam generators capable of producing between 1.4mbtu – 6mbtu.” Airpac Bukom’s multi-skilled operator pool is trained and experienced in the servicing and


SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION AIR AND STEAM SOLUTIONS

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operation of the extensive rental fleet and ensures safe efficient operation of a steam compressor package in well test contracts and steam only supply in other applications. Bespoke 1.4mbtu low weight/small footprint steam generators are available to supply high volumes of continuous steam to de-scale pipework and deluge systems on offshore installations and onshore plants.

High Pressure Rental Fleet for LNG, Pipeline and UBD Applications

This is a key differentiating feature of the Airpac Bukom business where the philosophy is to provide local support for local operations. Building on the strong relationships developed with key customers over many years, Airpac Bukom supports client activities from this unique hub network across the international arena. In the past 15 years, it has secured contracts in over 60 countries across every continent. The pool of service personnel is made up of highly skilled operators, experienced in the broad range of products, and with extensive experience in all relevant markets. Operators are fully backed up by strong technical and operational support teams in the UK and across the international network.

Air and steam rental solutions for global well testing campaigns

Dual Pot Sand Filters 5,000psig - 15,000psig

Boosted air compressor spread for pipeline dewatering Offshore Egypt – Burullus West Delta Phase 4 project Compressor spread providing air for pile driving activities, Karratha, Western Australia

Suitable for applications such as LNG pneumatic testing, pipeline dewatering and drying, UBD and air drilling, our extensive range of modern high pressure compressors produce volumes of 25.5m3/min (900scfm) through to 30.3m3/min (1070scfm) and pressure variants from 7 barg (100psig) to 25 barg (365psig). Several of our boosted dry air spreads, comprising Zone II or Rigsafe Joy / Atlas booster compressors, pressures up to 155barg (2248psig), high pressure primary compressors and multi-pressure desiccant dryers, have supported high profile LNG projects in Western Australia. Single stage booster compressors are also widely operated in Europe for gas transfer projects with leading pipeline service companies.

Global Network, Local Support Having originally been set up to support North Sea operations in the mid 1970s, Airpac Bukom has since developed an unrivalled network of six international sales, distribution and servicing facilities located in Aberdeen, Great Yarmouth, Singapore, Australia, the Middle East and the Americas as well as further overseas facilities planned in the next 12 months. However, this is not where the support network stops. A team of operators is based in Africa (Congo, Angola and Nigeria), India and Vietnam in maintenance hubs and is able to provide high level technical support locally when it is required.

Key Personnel A number of key appointments have been made recently that have strengthened the global management team. Ian Gravill has joined the Aberdeen team as Sales and Marketing Director for UKCS, Europe, Africa and the Americas. In his new role, Ian will have responsibility for managing sales and marketing activities and will develop a strategy for growth within the existing well test, rig maintenance, pipeline and other core market segments across the business, together with identifying new product and service opportunities. Paul Shinnie has rejoined Airpac Bukom and holds the position of Technical Sales Manager and is a customer focus point for key accounts. His role will involve providing customers with technical sales support and solutions to large scale projects requiring air and steam along with other responsibilities on product development and training. The appointment of Sandy Adamson as Business Development Manager for Africa is vital to enhancing the link between our African customers and our operational support facilities in Angola and Nigeria. In his new role, Sandy is keen to build upon existing relationships, enhance Airpac Bukom’s profile as well as develop new business

Steam Heat Exchangers 5,000psig - 15,000psig

Coflexip® Hoses

Standard Rilsan® lined 10,000psig High temperature Coflon® lined 15,000psig

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SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION AIR AND STEAM SOLUTIONS

Having originally been set up to support North Sea operations in the mid 1970s, Airpac Bukom has since developed an unrivalled network of six international sales, distribution and servicing facilities.

throughout the well test, rig maintenance, pipeline and other core market segments. As well as driving new business development efforts throughout Continental Africa, he will manage all commercial issues relating to the region. Mark Bullmore is the newest member of the Airpac Bukom team and joins as Asset Manager. Mark’s role is vital to ensure that a pro-active maintenance regime is continued for equipment and to liaise with our regional operations to maximise product availability when equipment is in our service facilities. Mark has a wealth of knowledge in maintenance and asset management and is a key addition to our management team. In addition, they will soon be joined by new recruits covering Director – South East Asia and Business Development Manager – North Sea/ Europe roles.

Why Choose Airpac Bukom? • the largest fleet of compressors and steam generators serving the global oil and gas markets •b  y far the largest rental fleet of sand filters, heat exchangers and coflexip hoses available globally •u  nrivalled international network of distribution and support facilities • largest pool of skilled experienced operators •e  stablished preferred global provider to oil operators, offshore maintenance contractors, well services providers and specialist oilfield contractors For the latest information on how Airpac Bukom can help service your needs, please contact your local service facility.

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Contact For further information call: Lorraine Mitchell Marketing Co-ordinator Tel: +44 (0) 1224 715008 E-mail: airpac.marketing@vpplc.com www.airpacbukom.com

Notes Airpac Bukom Oilfield Services, a Vp plc business, is a long established specialist oilfield equipment rental supplier providing air and steam solutions well testing, maintenance, pipeline dewatering and drying, product transfer, underbalanced drilling (UBD), cuttings movement and LNG pneumatic testing markets globally. We rent and operate air compressors, steam generators, booster compressors, heat exchangers, dual pot sand filters, coflexip hoses and air treatment ancillaries (desiccant dryers, aftercoolers) designed or adapted to customer requirements. Airpac Bukom has developed a network of six international distribution and servicing facilities located in the UK (Aberdeen & Gt Yarmouth), Singapore, Australia, the Middle East and Latin America. Additionally, local representation in Angola and Nigeria supports our customers’ equipment requirements across Africa. We have a dedicated workforce of more than 100, and are operational 24/7 to satisfy growing global demand for our equipment and services. For more information please visit our website www.airpacbukom.com


SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION AIR AND STEAM SOLUTIONS

Third page Vertical Advert High Pressure_Third page

Good Servants to Man John Hancock, Editor

Standfirst Air and steam solutions have long been vital components in most industrial

High pressure compressed air rental equipment for pneumatic testing

and extractive processes.

HP Air Compressors

1070scfm @ 24barg (350psig)

Booster Compressors

2185scfm to 3850scfm @ 55barg to 155barg (800psig to 2248psig)

Equipment spread of steam heat exchangers and 5.8Mbtu Borderer steam generators for North Sea well test

A

ir and steam have been good servants to industrial man for millennia in many and varied roles. From ventilation and powering the blacksmith’s furnace to delivering clean power and the smelting of metals from ore, directed and forced air has been a key factor in industrial history. It’s the same with steam: from softening leather and bending wood as well as its use in early medicine, steam has served us well over centuries. And in more recent times, it has, literally, powered industrial and mass transport revolutions while remaining essential to carbon and nuclear based electricity generation. Today, from powering tools to cleaning more thoroughly and quickly where no brush or material could reach, compressed air and steam remain critical solutions.

Air Compressors As Jason Miller explains in ‘A Brief history of Air Compressors’1, “Air compressors have been around for literally thousands of years.” The

original model was bellows with which civilisation would never have managed to extract metal from ore, revolutionising weapons and tools as well as jewellery. Bellows may seem a far cry from modern compressors but the principle stands unchanged – forcing air into a confined space with a limited outlet will deliver exceptional amounts of oxygen to a fire or significant physical force. But, as Miller goes on to say, in early times, with only human or animal power available, levels of compression were limited. However, he continues, “With the industrial revolution, the mechanical air compressor was born. Engines running from steam power became the first method to power an air compressor. One of the first uses of a steam powered air compressor was in underwater diving equipment. This opened up whole new methods for under water exploration and even underwater construction. The compressed air could be pumped down to a diver and allow extended stays below surface. Compressed air

Multi-pressure Air Dryers

1200scfm to 3200scfm @7barg to 30barg (102psig to 435psig) Pressure dew point -40°C to -60°C

Air Receivers 5m3 to 25m3 @ 10barg to 25barg (150psig to 365psig)

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SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION AIR AND STEAM SOLUTIONS

With the industrial revolution, the mechanical air compressor was born. Engines running from steam power became the first method to power an air compressor.

was also much safer to use as a power source for early pneumatic tools and drills. For example, early rock drills were powered by steam. However, hot steam is far more hazardous than compressed air. A ruptured steam line can kill or seriously injure a worker while compressed air is relatively benign. Steam powered rock drills eventually gave way to drills powered by air compressors.” These days, a variety of compressors match a wide range of applications but, essentially, compressed air remains a key component in industrial, manufacturing and extraction processes for much the same reasons that have always made it popular plus some new ones related to safety in combustible environments.

Steam Generation Understanding of the power of steam has been around for, probably, as long as air compression although no definitive records exist about steam generation. Nevertheless, according to William T. Hornaday’s book ‘Steam: its Generation and Use’2, as early as 150 B.C. Hero of Alexander in his treatise ‘Pneumatica’ described existing steam driven devices alongside his own invention using steam to raise water from its natural level. Given the spectacular and ‘photogenic’ nature of many steam engines, it is not surprising that they have dominated most reporting and understanding of steam generation. But, as with compressed air, steam has also found many less glamorous and less talked about applications which are nonetheless vital to a host of modern processes. Most readers will have come across the notion of ‘steam cleaning’ and it is in this type of activity where the oil and gas industry makes significant use of high pressure steam.

Air and Steam Today Modern applications for both air and steam remain a mix of those traditional tasks for which they have always been applied with some new applications in industries that haven’t existed in their present form for very long, in historical terms. One such industry is the extraction of oil and gas. Although this has, again, been documented for more than 2,000 years, it

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has been in comparatively recent times that we, first, started to drill to significant depths to tap reserves from far underground and, second, have mastered the technology of extracting oil and gas reserves from challenging environments such as beneath the sea bed. One thing that these processes have in common is that they involve the use of pressure to move the product and stabilise the space from which it has been extracted; they also create potentially explosive hazardous working environments which is where the qualities of air and steam make them into useful tools. Compressed air is often used in testing and balancing well heads and, when powering tools used within any potentially explosive environment, air is a much safer option than electricity which carries the risks of sparking. Also, for myriad cleaning and purging type tasks, air and steam under pressure can be very effective but less wearing on surfaces and components than mechanical or abrasive systems. With a significant proportion of installations in the oil and gas sector having already reached or exceeded their original design life, the UK Health & Safety Executive (HSE) suggests that high quality maintenance that does not contribute its own share of wear and tear is all the more important as a contribution to safety3.

The Future For the future, oil and gas extraction will be undertaken in ever more challenging environments (Polar Regions, beneath deep oceans, etc.) which will, in turn, challenge the designers, builders and operators of air and steam equipment to devise ever more robust and reliable products. Also, the growing need for decommissioning and deconstruction of life expired installations will make increasing use of air and steam to tackle the many hazards associated with those processes. Come what may, compressed air and steam solutions will continue to be vital components in the oil and gas industry’s tool set for decades or more to come.


SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION AIR AND STEAM SOLUTIONS

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Hard Workers… Anywhere

Air and steam rental solutions for global well testing campaigns

Peter Dunwell, Correspondent

Air and steam solutions have many applications and are particularly useful in the oil and gas sector where fire risk is high.

D

esigners and manufacturers of air compressors and steam generators strive to minimise the work associated with their use and maintenance. The two principal drivers of this will be customer/ user demands and, especially in the oil and gas sector, the increasingly challenging nature of work environments. So, use of the latest components and materials along with optimum accessibility to parts and extended maintenance intervals mean that, not only are ‘down times’ less frequent, but also they are shorter when they have to occur. This also broadens the range of tasks for which air and steam can be used and the effectiveness with which they can be applied. There are certainly plenty of tasks for which these technologies can be employed in the oil and gas sector.

A Large Industry In the UK alone, offshore oil and gas exploration and extraction in the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS) includes about 107 oil and gas producing installations and 181 gas producing installations located on 383 producing fields. There is an infrastructure of some 14,000 km of pipelines and exploration continues into ever more challenging areas of the ocean using mobile offshore drilling units (MOBUs). Importantly, there are some 34,000 people directly employed by the industry of whom a significant proportion will work around well heads, some or all of the time. Around the world, the numbers are even greater; so safety for people and for the environment is a critical consideration in all of the work they do. We know all too well the problems and the costs associated with equipment failures from the sad story of the Deepwater Horizon failure and subsequent loss of life and pollution. BP’s own report identified “well integrity failure” as the initiator of the disaster. Maintaining integrity in wells and associated equipment generates numerous tasks for which compressed air and/or steam will be the technology of choice.

Air and Steam at the Well Head The pivotal job in any extraction process is gaining access to the product and in the oil and gas sector that nearly always means drilling. While air can be used to turn these types of drill, its use is more often in the task of providing the percussive power4 to pulverise the rock ahead of the bit and in balancing the increasing pressures encountered by the drill bit at greater depths. Another job to which pneumatic pressure will be applied is in well testing where the pressure not only tests the integrity and productivity of the well but also can be used to balance the pressure exerted on the well head. And high pressure air can be used to inject stabilising materials into the well.

Zone II Air Compressors 400scfm - 1000scfm

Air and Steam in the Infrastructure Moving away from the well head, compressed air is suitable for applications such as pipeline dewatering and drying, underbalanced drilling (UBD), air drilling and pipework testing. Air can also be used to dry areas of the facility using dry air spread. Steam, on the other hand, is often employed to descale pipework and deluge systems on offshore installations and onshore plants. Teamed with air compressors and heat exchangers, steam generators can also support surface well testing operations.

Rigsafe Air Compressors 175scfm - 1600scfm

Operational Matters to Consider One problem in the operation of compressed air systems is that, if the air they use is either dirty or wet, the system can fail when fine particles of debris block safety related valves5. The process of air compression concentrates atmospheric contaminants, including water vapour. This raises the dew point of the compressed air relative to free atmospheric air and leads to condensation within pipes as the compressed air cools downstream of the compressor. Excessive water in compressed air, in either the liquid or vapour form, can cause a variety of operational problems for users. These include freezing of outdoor air lines, corrosion in piping and equipment, malfunctioning of

Steam Generators 1.4Mbtu - 6Mbtu

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SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION AIR AND STEAM SOLUTIONS

Excessive water in compressed air, in either the liquid or vapour form, can cause a variety of operational problems for users. Supply of air compressors for pneumatic drill cuttings removal, offshore Great Yarmouth

pneumatic process control instruments, fouling of processes and products, and more.

Cleaning the Cleaner Various methods are employed to manage these sorts of problems, including filters and compressed air dryers, which would warrant a paper in their own right. One that is worth mentioning because of its association with compressed air systems is desiccant drying. “A desiccant air dryer protects… production, equipment and the quality of the end product by using desiccants to absorb moisture from the compressed air.”6 “Desiccant dryers are used for drying air in storage tanks or pneumatic systems and are beneficial in the drying of hygroscopic (water-absorbing) resins. These dryers remove water from the air by passing it through a desiccant that absorbs moisture.”7 They are usually triggered by a pressure dew point sensor that senses when the air being used has reached a certain level of moisture saturation and then operates the system.

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The way that desiccant dryers work is that the compressed air is passed through a pressure vessel including two ‘towers’ filled with a media such as activated alumina, silica gel, molecular sieve or other desiccant material. This desiccant material attracts the water from the compressed air via absorption. As the water clings to it, the desiccant ‘bed’ becomes saturated. The dryer is timed to switch towers and then some compressed air from the system is used to purge the saturated desiccant bed by simply blowing off the water that has adhered to the desiccant. The purpose of the desiccant is to bring the pressure dew point of the compressed air to a level in which the water will no longer condense, or to remove as much water from the compressed air as possible. There are many tasks for which air and steam will, for the foreseeable future, be the best technologies in any industry and, given its exceptional challenges and hazards, particularly the oil and gas industry.


SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION AIR AND STEAM SOLUTIONS

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Safety First is Best John Hancock, Editor

Operating in an environment such as that around an oil or gas installation places

Air and steam rental solutions for global well testing campaigns

a duty of care on the operator and a presumption of quality on the equipment.

The Most Important Consideration Oil and gas related installations and equipment are subject to an enormous catalogue of regulations and standards whose aim is to improve efficiency but, more importantly, to ensure integrity and safety. Over and above that, different jurisdictions around the world will either interpret internationally accepted standards according to local conditions or will issue regulations that refer to local priorities. Even design and construction standards are set by different bodies. These regulations and standards could fill a book so we’ll have to summarise them here.

Air and Steam Safety There are a number of key issues of which manufacturers of air and steam solutions will need to take account and, while they will be subject to regulations and standards, they could also be said to reflect common sense. This is especially true where taking account of the flammable nature of oil and gas is concerned. The key thing is to avoid sparks which, with the potentially combustible vapours that might be around a well head, could cause explosions. That is why air and steam solutions are so appropriate – but even they require internal combustion and electrical drives to compress the air or generate the steam. So any equipment of that nature will usually be housed in a safe and contained environment away from the well head to minimise the risk of exposure to combustible gases. The UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE) suggests what might work best when housing compressors: “Using a packaged unit has a number of advantages; it simplifies foundation work, reduces installation time and provides a properly engineered and adequately guarded assembly of components in a compact space. However, the user is still responsible for siting the system so that incoming air is as dry and free from contaminants as site conditions allow. Both the air entering the compressor plant and the delivered air must be as dry, clean and cool as possible.”8

That user responsibility is confirmed in the same document when HSE clearly allocates the onus for safe operation. “The major hazard associated with compressors is over-pressurisation, which may arise from: (a) A  blocked outlet or some other restriction to flow; (b) F  ailure of automatic controls combined with low air consumption; (c) C  ompressor malfunction, e.g. over-speeding; (d) A  n external fire near the pressure system; and (e) O  verheating and the build-up of carbonaceous deposits, both of which can lead to fires or explosions. Although they are rare, fires and explosions can also occur as a result of oil or oil vapour being ignited in the pressure system.”

Dual Pot Sand Filters 5,000psig - 15,000psig

Equipment Standards Equipment also has to be able to operate in challenging conditions which means that engineering tolerances and manufacturing quality need to be high. HSE publishes detailed regulations in this area which identify the hazards and stipulate what must be done to minimise risk. Typical would be this statement on just one aspect of compressor construction, “A limited number of safety issues can arise from inclusion of a gearbox within a machine package. The most serious are: the potential for accidental or failure engagement of auxiliary drives, used to rotate the compressor at low speed, leading to massive over-speed and… disintegration of the drive; bursting of the gear wheels (design or manufacturing flaws); [and] fires due to leakage of lubricating oil.” Equipment standards are set by a number of organisations including HSE but also ASME (American Society of Mechanical Engineers)9 whose remit is less operational and more engineering quality and integrity. Operations conducted on US territory or in US waters have to use equipment conforming to ASME standards. And there is another major player in this area, ‘Det

Steam Heat Exchangers 5,000psig - 15,000psig

Coflexip® Hoses

Standard Rilsan® lined 10,000psig High temperature Coflon® lined 15,000psig

www.offshoretechnologyreports.com | 11


SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION AIR AND STEAM SOLUTIONS

Because some areas are

• Zone 1 - category 2 equipment • Zone 2 - category 3 equipment NB. Category 1 equipment can also be used in zone 1 and category 1 and 2 equipment can be used in zone 2.

more dangerous than

Rigsafe

others, an internationally recognised zoning Booster compressors supporting pipeline

standard BS EN 60079/10 has been devised for installations where combustible gases, vapours or mists are likely to be present.

product transfer campaigns throughout Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Portugal & Spain

Norske Veritas’ (DNV) whose opening comment on the offshore oil and gas sector follows familiar lines… “Operating MOUs [mobile offshore units] and FPSOs [floating production, storage and offloading units] requires zero tolerance of failure.”10

Danger Zones Because some areas are more dangerous than others, an internationally recognised zoning standard BS EN 60079/10 has been devised for installations where combustible gases, vapours or mists are likely to be present. The standard explains the basic principles of area classification for gases and vapours and is especially applicable to oil and gas installations.11 •Z  one 0 A place in which an explosive atmosphere consisting of a mixture with air of dangerous substances in the form of gas, vapour or mist is present continuously or for long periods or frequently. •Z  one 1 A place in which an explosive atmosphere consisting of a mixture with air of dangerous substances in the form of gas, vapour or mist is likely to occur in normal operation occasionally. •Z  one 2 A place in which an explosive atmosphere consisting of a mixture with air of dangerous substances in the form of gas, vapour or mist is not likely to occur in normal operation but, if it does occur, will persist for a short period only. In the same document, equipment categories are also identified according to hazardous area zones in which they can be used. • Zone 0 - category 1 equipment

12 | www.offshoretechnologyreports.com

Within the oil and gas industry, while rare failures of operating standards, safety procedures and equipment hit the headlines – a blazing oil rig always makes for a spectacular photograph – day to day operations are usually conducted with the utmost care and operational diligence. In fact, there are standards that apply specifically to rigs in an operating environment known as Rigsafe. These require that equipment includes:12 • Exhaust spark arrestor; • Engine air intake shut off valve; • Double skinned and braided fuel pipes; • Offshore lift capability to D.N. V. 2.7.1; • Fire and gas detection systems; • Fire extinguishing systems; • Increased IP protection levels; • Extended service intervals; •T  hird party [Lloyds, DNV, etc.] approval for offshore use; • Platform remote emergency shutdown system. To that list might be added; internal fuel tanks, internal water tanks (steam generator) and blowdown tank. This latter refers to the fact that waste water from steam generators is usually at very high temperatures which could damage any drainage system if discharged directly into it, so, “All steam boilers must be regularly blown down to reduce the concentration of suspended and dissolved solids in the boiler water. As this waste is under pressure and at extreme temperature there must be a safe means of storage and cooling (to below 43 degrees C) before discharging to general drainage.”13 Air and steam solutions are subject to all of the regulations and standards that apply but also are one of the solutions that can help operators to meet many of those regulations and standards. Those who are considering utilising an air and/or steam solution should include in their considerations to ensure that any equipment meets all of the relevant standards for the purpose to which it is intended to be applied because, in oil and gas extraction, the adage really is, better to be safe than sorry.


SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION AIR AND STEAM SOLUTIONS

Third page Vertical Advert High Pressure_Third page

Buy, Lease or Rent?

High pressure compressed air rental equipment for pneumatic testing

Peter Dunwell, Correspondent

Does it matter how equipment is acquired as long as the business has use of what it needs, when it is needed?

T

he equipment used in oil and gas extraction has to work safely in the most challenging operating environments. For air and steam solutions, that usually means a purpose-built package with compressor or steam generator at the heart of an array of filters, safety mechanisms and self-contained infrastructure all fitted into a box to the dimensions of an international container. None of this comes cheap, so given the high cost, how can users acquire the equipment they need in a manner that fits their business model and is financially viable?

opportunity cost could mean that the business has to forgo a future business opportunity for lack of resources to pursue it. Also, from a slightly different sector, building and construction, which often operates to a similar project pattern as oil and gas exploration and extraction, “There are always going to be times when, no matter how carefully a… company plans out a project, there simply isn’t enough equipment on hand to handle the requirements of the project without running out of time. The choices at this point are clear – rent the machines you need or go ahead and make the purchase…”15

Buy, Lease or Rent?

Many Things to Consider

The choice is usually between buying, leasing or renting. Buying is fairly straightforward. With leasing and renting, on the other hand, there may be a range of options available. A lease is usually for a fixed term to cater for a known requirement (for instance, train operators lease trains for the term of their franchise) and might or might not include maintenance but will usually include some form of penalty for early termination. Rent is a lot less prescriptive and, while the unit price might seem higher, will guarantee the use of equipment, come what may. Before deciding which route to take, there are a number of factors to consider. According to Facilities.net, “the answers to two questions figure prominently in the renting vs. buying decision: How frequently will crews need this particular equipment capability? How versatile must the equipment be?”14 If use is to be so frequent that renting will, over a working life, cost as much as buying, it might seem sensible to buy and that view would be reinforced if the equipment was able to be used in several applications, which would tend to increase the frequency of use. But there are other things to consider over and above today’s bottom line cost.

What both commentators above are highlighting is that the decision whether to rent, lease or buy equipment is never straightforward and is rarely one where a single generic formula can help. Businesses with different methodologies and priorities could reach alternative decisions even though the facts might appear similar. A good piece of advice from eHow.com suggests, “Before deciding if capital equipment should be leased or bought, several people representing different functional areas of a business should be involved in the decision-making process. This includes operations, maintenance and finance.”16

Opportunity Cost For instance, how will tying up capital affect the business’s ability to react to changing circumstances and to exploit opportunities? This

HP Air Compressors

1070scfm @ 24barg (350psig)

Booster Compressors

2185scfm to 3850scfm @ 55barg to 155barg (800psig to 2248psig)

Multi-pressure Air Dryers

1200scfm to 3200scfm @7barg to 30barg (102psig to 435psig) Pressure dew point -40°C to -60°C

Maintenance Apart from the initial purchase cost of equipment, there is also the cost of maintenance: some leasing arrangements and all rental arrangements leave the maintenance responsibility, along with an obligation to provide replacement equipment, with the rental or leasing company that owns the equipment. Of course, it is priced into the charges but it doesn’t cause any unbudgeted strain on the user’s cash flow should a high maintenance requirement arise. Again from Building Construction Equipment; “… the company you rent from is responsible for fixing anything that breaks. Your company won’t be responsible for repairs, as you don’t own the equipment. If something breaks or goes wrong, simply call the company and they will come out there and fix

Air Receivers 5m3 to 25m3 @ 10barg to 25barg (150psig to 365psig)

www.offshoretechnologyreports.com | 13


SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION AIR AND STEAM SOLUTIONS

The decision whether to rent, lease or buy equipment is never straightforward and is rarely one where a single generic formula can help.

Well test equipment spread onboard the Deepwater Millennium drillship, offshore Mozambique

Businesses with different

hassle of having to dispose of the old machinery in order to make way for the new. And it is possible to rent equipment only for the term of a project, which makes budgeting more predictable.

methodologies and

Match the Method to the Business

priorities could reach alternative decisions. Heli-transportable well test spread located in remote Peruvian jungle

the problem, as the price for repair is included in the rental contract. If you choose to go ahead and buy the equipment, then your company will be responsible...” This will be very important to an oil and gas business for which the loss of an air compressor or steam generator at the wrong time could delay operations by many expensive days. If the equipment is somebody else’s responsibility, then any failure will be rapidly resolved and, if need be, replaced. Also, if renting, as opposed to a long term lease, the user can quickly upgrade to the latest equipment for their purposes without the

14 | www.offshoretechnologyreports.com

But whatever the technical considerations, there is no doubt that the initial expense is always a main factor in deciding whether to buy, lease of rent. There will be plenty of fixed purpose functions where change to the operating model is unlikely for which purchase or fixed term leasing is ideal. But there will also be more opportunist business models where flexibility and capital protection will be important. For those cases, renting could protect capital in a way that purchasing cannot and with a flexibility that fixed term leasing might also be unable to match. From eHow again, “If the buyer changes the way the business is operated and the leased capital equipment is no longer required, the equipment can’t be sold.” Ultimately, the decision whether to buy, lease or rent has to be based on the circumstances of the business in question but is a decision that can impact on the finances of the business for years ahead.


SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION AIR AND STEAM SOLUTIONS

References: 1

 A brief history of Air Compressors http://ezinearticles.com/?A-Brief-History-of-Air-Compressors&id=867233

2

Steam: its Generation and Use http://www.gutenberg.org/files/22657/22657-h/header.html

3

Machinery and rotating equipment integrity inspection guidance notes http://www.hse.gov.uk/research/rrpdf/rr076a.pdf

4

Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drilling_rig#Rig_equipment

5

HSE ‘Compressor plant’ http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/priced/hsg39.pdf

6

Atlas Copco http://www.atlascopco.com/us/News/ProductNews/101115cd_bd_plus_desiccant_dryers_---_20101027_09_03.aspx

7

eHow http://www.ehow.com/facts_4922599_what-desiccant-dryer.html

8

HSE http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/priced/hsg39.pdf

9

ASME www.asme.org

10

DNV http://www.dnv.com/industry/oil_gas/services_solutions/offshore_classification/design_approval/index.asp

11

Hazardous area zones http://www.hse.gov.uk/fireandexplosion/zoning.pdf

12

Gen Ex Design Ltd. http://www.genexdesign.com/generators.php

13

Byworth Bopilers, ‘Blowdown Tank’ http://www.byworth.co.uk/boiler-servicing-and-spares/ancillaries-spares/blowdown-tank/

Facilities,net ‘Key Decision: Renting vs. Buying Equipment’ http://www.facilitiesnet.com/equipmentrentaltools/topic/Key-Decision-Renting-vs-Buying-Equipment--18410#

14

15

16

Building Construction Equipment, ‘Renting versus Owning Equipment’ http://www.buildingconstructionequipment.com/Renting-Versus-Owning-Equipment.asp eHow, ‘Lease Vs. Buy Comparison for Capital Equipment’

http://www.ehow.com/print/about_6748246_lease-buy-comparison-capital-equipment.html

www.offshoretechnologyreports.com | 15


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Special Report – Next Generation Air and Steam Solutions  

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