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Isolation of Process Equipment in Oil Gas Project

Method · September 2016

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Prakash Bahadur Thapa


Memorial University of Newfoundland
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Isolation of Process Equipment in Oil Gas Project

Author: Prakash Bahadur Thapa


Memorial University,
St. John’s, NL, Canada, A1B 3X5
Email: pbt750@mun.ca; Tel: +1(709) 330-8666

1.0 Introduction

The objective of this document is to specify the design/engineering requirements


for isolation of a process section or equipment for carrying out the maintenance or
inspection work safely. This is primarily intended for use by plant designers but it
may also be used by operations personnel as a general guide for checking the
appropriate positioning of spectacle blinds and spades.

The primarily describes correct positioning of spectacle blinds, spades and


double block and bleed requirement in facility pipework. While typical example
applications are described, it is stressed that these are not necessarily specific. It
is the responsibility of the user to assess the actual requirements based on the
maintenance/inspection philosophy agreed during the conceptual design of the
facility. The procedures of depressurisation/draining etc.

1.4 Definitions

Bleed Valve - A small vent valve, usually immediately downstream of a block


valve, which can be opened to release the pressure and to ascertain whether
there is pressure on the downstream side of the block valve when closed.

Blind/Blank Flange - A solid flange, which can be bolted to a flanged connection


on pipes or equivalent to block off flow from it. The flange shall be of the same
rating.

Block Valve - A valve that controls the passage of a liquid through a pipe with the
intention that it permits either full flow or no flow.

Spectacle Blind - A solid circular plate connected to a circular plate with a hole in
it by a straight handle. The plates are designed to be bolted between flanges on
piping and equipment. The first will block off flow and the second will pass normal
flow. The plate shall be thick enough to withstand the anticipated maximum

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differential pressure. The advantage of this device is that no additional
mechanical stress is applied to the equipment when it is changed between the
open and closed position.

Slip Blind or Spade - A circular flat plate with a handle, which can be bolted
between two flanges to block off flow. The handle should extend outside the
flanges. The plate shall be thick enough to withstand the anticipated differential
pressure, which need not be the flange rating pressure.

1.5 Fluid categories

The fluid transported in the system should be categorised in one of the following
four groups, depending on its hazard potential, in accordance with IP Code Part
15:

Category A: A flammable liquid that, on release, would vaporise rapidly and


substantially. This category includes:

(a) Any liquefied petroleum gases or lighter flammable liquid,


whether under pressure or refrigerated.

(b) Any flammable liquid at a temperature sufficient to produce, on


release, more than about 40% vaporisation with no heat input other
than from the surrounding.

Category B: A flammable liquid, not in Category A, but at a temperature


sufficient for boiling to occur on release.

Category C: A flammable liquid, not in Categories A or B, but which can, on


release, be at a temperature above its flash point, or form a
flammable mist.

Category G: A flammable gas or vapour

2.0 The requirements of isolation

The maintenance/inspection work should be implemented only on plant, units or


systems which have been shut down, depressurised to atmospheric pressure,
cooled, and drained, purged free of flammable or toxic gases and isolated.

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In reality, it may be impractical or uneconomic to shutdown complete facilities or
systems for maintenance or inspection. Equipment could remain connected to
live facilities or systems during inspection or maintenance, with consequent
potential for hazard to personnel and plant. In these cases design of the facilities
shall incorporate means of positive isolation of the individual piece of equipment
undergoing inspection or maintenance from remaining live facilities, to protect
personnel from hazards of flammable and/or toxic liquids and gases.

The method of isolation is dependent on such factors as type of maintenance


and/or inspection work involved, i.e. of a major, routine or minor nature, the
properties of the process fluid in the live plant connected to the equipment being
maintained and the pressure and temperature of those fluids. These factors
determine whether isolation should consist of single or double block valves,
together with bleeds and inserted spades or closed spectacle blinds.

Inserted spades or closed spectacle blinds should always be used during


maintenance, since they provide the most positive means of isolation.

3.0 Minimum Isolation Requirements

Table 1 below shows the recommended minimum isolation requirements.

System System Description Major Work


Class

A A shutdown, Positive isolation by a spade or


depressurised and remove spool and install blind.
hydrocarbon free
system.

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B System in service, of Single leak tight valve plus
ANSI class 600# and spade/blind (Note 1).
below.
For flashing liquids
and toxic see C
below.

Double block and bleed plus a


C System in service, of
spade/blind.
ANSI class 900# and
above.
All systems containing
toxic fluids (Note 2).
Systems containing
flashing liquids above
ANSI 300, (Note 3)
i.e. ANSI 600 and
above.

Note 1 A bleed connection should be installed between the valve and the
spade/blind when the volume of liquids to be drained is significant
(e.g. for line sizes of 6" and above).

Note 2 For the purposes of this requirement, toxic in the case of H 2S is


defined as more than 500 ppm H2S in the process stream.

Note 3 The definition of flashing liquids for the purposes of this Table is that given
for Cat. The fluids in Appendix B of the IP Code Part 15 are explained
about the system.

4.0 Choice of Spectacle Blinds, Spades or Spools for Isolation

Wherever routine isolation of equipment is foreseen for maintenance or


inspection, spectacle blinds shall be installed irrespective of pipe diameter and
rating as swinging a spectacle blind is an easier operation than installing a spade.
Furthermore, the isolation status is visually apparent with a spectacle blind.

For substantial runs of smaller diameter piping (DN 150 and below) of lower
pressure classes (ANSI 300 and below) where there is sufficient flexibility in the
pipework for easy flange spreading, then spades are an acceptable and

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convenient isolation method. For larger diameter and higher rated piping or for
cases of more rigid piping systems, permanently installed spectacle blinds are
more convenient and impose less strain on the pipework during the isolation
operation.

For the isolation of vessels and tanks where nozzle inspection is required,
isolation may also be provided by complete removal of an upstream piping spool
with the resultant free end of the potentially live pipework being closed with a
blind flange.

4.2 Dimensions of Spades and Spectacle Blinds

The spade or spectacle blind shall be of sufficient thickness to provide pressure


containment capability equivalent to the piping class in which it is installed. If
there is a specification break at the spectacle blind, then the blind shall be rated
for the higher piping class.

4.3 Double Block and Bleed

Any process stream, which is considered sour shall be provided with a double
block and bleed system for isolation. The bleed system shall be connected to a
closed drain/flare system. Double block and bleed shall be provided for isolation
in all 900# and higher rated gas or liquid systems and for sour systems with H 2S
>500 ppm, which may involve maintenance/inspection activities which use the
block valves for isolation against the upstream or downstream system.

The recommended isolation requirements are given in section 3. The bleed


system for liquids and two-phase systems shall be connected to a drain system.
The bleed system for gasses shall be connected to a flare/vent system.

5.0 Location of Spectacle Blinds

The actual location of spectacle blinds will normally be determined during detailed
design of the facilities based upon the agreed maintenance philosophy. This
should consider whether periodic maintenance/inspection will be implemented on
individual equipment items, trains, units or the plant as a whole.

Consideration of these factors will indicate the required number and best
locations for installation of the spectacle blinds.

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Fig. 1 and 2 show the typical isolation requirements at a wellhead and manifold
area respectively.

Fig. 3 and 4 show the general requirements of isolation for vessels.

Fig. 5 and 6 represent the isolation requirements for tanks. If a spool is used for
isolation at tank inlet nozzle, the spool shall be straight and its length shall not
exceed 1 meter. Blinds or spades should be inserted on the tank side of all inlet
and outlet block valves. These should be placed as close to the tank as possible.
This also applies to blanket/purge gas lines, tank-balancing lines, and vent lines
to flare headers and water draw-off lines.

Fig. 7 shows a typical pump isolation arrangement. Rotating equipment shall be


provided with spectacle blinds at equipment side of inlet and outlet isolation
valves as each may be subjected to maintenance while the surrounding facilities
remain live. The pressure rating of the suction valve and piping between the valve
and the suction nozzle shall be equal to the rating of the suction piping of the
pump.

Fig. 8 and 9 show the general requirements for the isolation and pressure
equalisation of ESD and PSD valves respectively.

Fig. 10 shows the isolation requirements for vent and flare headers.

6.0 Related Business Control Documents

The following standards are referred to in this specification and shall be consulted
when applicable. All listed documents shall be the latest issue.

International
Standards

IP Code Part 15 Area Classification Code

Operations
Standards

Appendix A - Glossary of Abbreviations

ANSI American National Standards Institute


API American Petroleum Institute
CFDH Corporate Function Discipline
DEP Design and Engineering Practice
DN Nominal Diameter

Page 6
ESD Emergency Shutdown.
FB Full Bore
FIG Figure
IP Institute of Petroleum (LTK)
LC Locked-Closed or Level Controller
LG Level Gauge
LO Locked-Open
LIC Level Indicating Controller
LZA Level Emergency Alarm
NC Normally Closed.
NO Normally Open
PdS Pressure Differential Switch
PIC Pressure Indicating Controller
PSD Process Shutdown.
PG Pressure Gauge
RO Restriction Orifice
Typ Typical
UZ Emergency Shutdown
XI Pig Signaller

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FIGURE 1.0 – TYPICAL WELLHEAD ISOLATION ARRANGEMENT

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FIGURE 2.0 – TYPICAL MANIFOLD ISOLATION ARRANGEMENT

Page 9
FIGURE 3.0 – VESSEL ISOLATION REQUIREMENTS (SOUR SERVICE)

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FIGURE 4.0 – VESSEL ISOLATION REQUIREMENTS (SWEET SERVICE)

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FIGURE 5.0 – TANK ISOLATION, SWEET SERVICE

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FIGURE 6.0 – TANK ISOLATION, SOUR SERVICE

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FIGURE 7.0 – CENTRIFUGAL PUMP ISOLATION

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FIGURE 8.0 – ISOLATION AND PRESSURE EQUALISATION FOR INLET ESD VALVE

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INLET PSD VALVE

FIGURE 9.0 – ISOLATION AND PRESSURE EQUALISATION FOR INLET PSD VALVE

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FIGURE 10.0 – VENT AND FLARE HEADER ISOLATION

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