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DGEP/SE SAFETY FEEDBACK NOTICE 3-2002 PSV DOWNSTREAM ISOLATION VALVES SUMMARY Several times in the last

DGEP/SE

SAFETY FEEDBACK NOTICE 3-2002

PSV DOWNSTREAM ISOLATION VALVES

SUMMARY

Several times in the last few years there have been instances where a PSV has operated and the downstream manual isolation valve has closed. This downstream isolation valve is usually a locked open ball valve. The consequences can be an overpressurisation of the pipework / flange between the PSV and the isolation valve. This can cause a large uncontrollable leak in the process area, say during an emergency situation, and could be a platform threatening event. (Refer also to Safety Feedback Notice 04_2001)

REASONS FOR THE ISOLATION VALVE BEING CLOSED

One may suspect of course, that the isolation valve has been left closed by mistake. However this has been proven not to be the main cause. The main reasons have been found to be :-

During blowdown a high degree of vibration can occur (especially if the flow velocity is high and there are many bends in the venting pipework). If the valve handle has been left in position then, along with the vibrations, sufficient torque can be generated which can break padlocks, etc., and “self-close” the valve.

Information supplied by a valve manufacturer has demonstrated that the asymmetric pressure distribution on the inner face of the ball valve during “violent” blowdown conditions can be sufficient to develop an internal torque which can then “self-close” the valve.

This “self closing” has been witnessed offshore on a valve fitted with a gear box. One person tried to manually stop the valve “self-closing” and was injured due to the high torque forces involved.

Attached are photos showing how padlock locking plates have been broken etc., due to this “self-closing” phenomenon.

PROCESS CONSIDERATIONS

GS-EXP-303 defines line sizes upstream and downstream of a PSV. For the downstream piping a maximum value of rV 2 = 100,000 kg/m/sec 2 is recommended

(r = density of gas, V = gas flow velocity). In one case where the downstream valve

“tried” to shut the result forrV2 was found to be closer to 200,000 kg/m/sec 2 . the downstream pipework is to small and the flow velocity too high.

Hence

OTHER CONSIDERATIONS

If (in the case of the arrangement in photo 2) the ball valve had had its spindle vertical and not horizontal then the flow from the PSV would have been less likely to develop a significant internal torque.

Often the ball valve is placed directly next to the PSV (see photo 2) and the piping reducer is located after the ball valve. If the ball valve had been located after the reducer then the internal flow would be more regular with a significant lower chance

For further information ( + 33 (0)1 4135 3564 Pete Brown (peter.brown@totalfinalf.com)

DGEP/SE SAFETY FEEDBACK NOTICE 3-2002 of developing internal torque. Of course there is a cost

DGEP/SE

SAFETY FEEDBACK NOTICE 3-2002

of developing internal torque. Of course there is a cost implication here in terms of valve sizing.

RECOMMENDATIONS

Because of the high consequences of failure it is recommended that the following actions are taken :-

1. Review process flow calculations against the recommendations of GS-EXP- 303. If the pipework appears to be undersized consider :-

Increasing size of the downstream pipework.

Change the orientation of the isolation ball valve so that the spindle is vertical. (This also means that if handles are left in place then a torque cannot develop during blowdown; see 4 below).

Move the isolation ball valve to be downstream of the reducer.

Consider changing “low torque” ball valves for “high torque” valves or for another type of valve such as a gate valve.

2. Review all PSV (&BDV) locations and ensure that all downstream isolation valves are locked open (Unless otherwise decided following a HAZOP).

3. Ensure that the locking devices (usually padlocks) are very substantial. Also ensure that the locking plates on both the valve body and the valve spindle are adequate. Extra substantial holding clamps have been used on some installations. The normal locking plates as provided by valve manufacturers as standard are NOT deemed to be sufficient to withstand this internal torque.

4. Ensure that no valve handles are left in place especially if their weight could contribute to developing a torque to close the valve.

Rupture of the padlock locking plate (*) Mobile locking plate blocked and bent. Gap due
Rupture of the
padlock locking
plate (*)
Mobile locking
plate blocked
and bent.
Gap due to padlock
blockage (hence
valve fortunately not
100%
closed)
Stop pin

PHOTO 1. Ball valve closed with

rupture of the locking plate (*).

PSV Isolation valve spindle horizontal. See photo 1 PHOTO 2 Isolation valve located next to
PSV
Isolation valve
spindle horizontal.
See photo 1
PHOTO 2
Isolation valve
located next to
PSV and not
downstream of
reducer

For further information ( + 33 (0)1 4135 3564 Pete Brown (peter.brown@totalfinalf.com)

SAFETY FEEDBACK NOTICE 4-2002 DGEP/SE
SAFETY FEEDBACK
NOTICE 4-2002
DGEP/SE

CHATTERING OF SPRING LOADED PRESSURE SAFETY VALVES (PSVS)

The incident (See sketch below)

Recently a gas leak occurred on offshore gas Central Processing Facilities as a consequence of the failure of the bellows in balanced bellows Pressure Safety Valves (PSVs).

All three PSVs in service on the inlet Slug Catcher from a remote field were simultaneously affected by the failure of their bellows during relief of pressure from the Slug Catcher. Each PSV bonnet vented directly to atmosphere. Hence during this platform shutdown there were three serious gas leaks in the process area.

This happened after the Emergency Shut-Down of the platform was initiated by an event external to the concern reported here (i.e. loss of power generation).

the concern reported here (i.e. loss of power generation). PCV Flare (3+1) PSVs PIC SDV Slug
PCV Flare
PCV Flare
PCV Flare
PCV Flare
PCV Flare
PCV Flare
PCV Flare
PCV Flare
PCV Flare

PCV

PCV Flare

Flare

reported here (i.e. loss of power generation). PCV Flare (3+1) PSVs PIC SDV Slug Catcher H
reported here (i.e. loss of power generation). PCV Flare (3+1) PSVs PIC SDV Slug Catcher H
reported here (i.e. loss of power generation). PCV Flare (3+1) PSVs PIC SDV Slug Catcher H
reported here (i.e. loss of power generation). PCV Flare (3+1) PSVs PIC SDV Slug Catcher H

(3+1) PSVs

(i.e. loss of power generation). PCV Flare (3+1) PSVs PIC SDV Slug Catcher H V SDV
PIC SDV Slug Catcher
PIC
SDV
Slug Catcher
generation). PCV Flare (3+1) PSVs PIC SDV Slug Catcher H V SDV ESDV D/S process Interfield

HV

PCV Flare (3+1) PSVs PIC SDV Slug Catcher H V SDV ESDV D/S process Interfield pipelines
PCV Flare (3+1) PSVs PIC SDV Slug Catcher H V SDV ESDV D/S process Interfield pipelines
PCV Flare (3+1) PSVs PIC SDV Slug Catcher H V SDV ESDV D/S process Interfield pipelines

SDV

ESDV

D/S

process

Interfield

pipelines

Investigation findings

Following initiation of the ESD (and/or initiation of the High High pressure trip on the Slug Catcher), the gas outlet valve SDV closed at a normal travelling speed, whilst the inlet valves (SDV and ESDV) responded with a substantially longer time. In this blocked outlet scenario, the flaring valve PCV failed to operate quickly enough to reduce the pressure in the vessel. The pressure continued to rise until the relief valves activated.

At the time of PSV’slifting, the inlet gas flowrate to the vessel was maintained almost constant by the inlet control valve HV from the significant gas inventory at a higher pressure in the interfield pipelines, whilst the flowrate through the PSVs was already diminished by the progressive opening of the flaring valve (PCV).

Low flowrate through PSVs of a higher design capacity induced them to enter into a chattering mode almost immediately. After an estimated duration of 20 sec the bellows failed by fatigue and/or by combined effect of fatigue and pressure pulsations created by chattering.

For further information ( + 33 (0)1 4135 3564 Pete Brown (peter.brown@totalfinalf.com)

SAFETY FEEDBACK NOTICE 4-2002 DGEP/SE
SAFETY FEEDBACK
NOTICE 4-2002
DGEP/SE

To be noted that the design of the piping connecting the PSVs to the vessel was within the requirements of API RP520 Part II (pressure drop less than 3%).

A plan is being implemented to perform all required corrective actions, including optimisation of all items of the process control and on emergency shutdown systems.

Comments

Recent work commissioned by and recent experience from the UK’s Health Safety Executive (HSE) demonstrated that chattering of PSVs can lead very quickly to failure of the bellows. This failure might not be always detected, as it has been reported that bellows are often found to be broken when valves are taken onshore for a strip down (although this report has not been quantified).

For large diameters of pipelines, travelling time of inlet SDVs / ESDVs are always limited by mechanical aspects. Hydraulic actuators required by large valve bores are generally less speedy, creating process conditions for potential PSV chattering.

Although optimum settings are highly commendable for all valve and controller response times, the pressure relief system is required to offer the highest reliability to cater for human error and abnormal situations.

It should be noted that optimisation of process control and/or shutdown schemes will not eliminate the possibility that the PSVs could again lift and be expected to relief pressure under sub-optimal flow conditions. As the PSVs are the last resort pressure protection for the vessel they must be capable of relieving pressure up to design inlet flowrates (or under fire relief conditions if worse). It is apparent that the process pressure control scheme is designed to react to reduce the potential for vessel pressure to reach relief conditions and, therefore, will, if operating correctly, take flow away from the relief valves.

It is also clear that interaction between PSVs, where vessels need to be protected by multiple valves, requires careful design attention, particularly where the PSVs are mounted on a common inlet manifold and there is potential for pressure fluctuations within the manifold as PSVs sequentially lift and draw flow from each other.

Chattering is not only a concern for the integrity of the bellows. Severe chattering is also likely to damage the valve spindle (by mechanical friction and scoring) and guide bush. The performance of the valve may be significantly altered by these mechanical damages. Therefore the recommendations below apply also to conventional relief valves.

Recommendations

The following actions are recommended for all gas treatment installations:

On existing installations:

ÿ For all similar configurations where a inventory of gas is existing upstream a vessel fitted with spring loaded PSVs (e.g. Primary Separator connected to interfield pipelines), the following should be reviewed:

Operating conditions,

For further information ( + 33 (0)1 4135 3564 Pete Brown (peter.brown@totalfinalf.com)

SAFETY FEEDBACK NOTICE 4-2002 DGEP/SE
SAFETY FEEDBACK
NOTICE 4-2002
DGEP/SE

Design of the piping connecting the PSVs to the vessel, with particular attention to pressure drop between the vessel and PSV

Correct staggering of the PSV setpoints in case of multiple PSVs,

Travelling time of all valves,

Tuning parameters of flaring controllers (to ensure that pressure control valves react to foreseeable transients quickly enough to reduce the demand upon PSVs).

Connection of bonnet vents to a disposal system rather than directly to atmosphere (GS-SAF-261)

ÿ Check that potential for PSV chattering is limited in the scenario of a blocked outlet,

even in the event of a defect in the ‘normal’ (i.e. PCS) flaring control loop.

ÿ In case of doubt, either develop a process model and simulate actual potential for

chattering, and/or replace spring loaded PSV(s) by pilot operated PSV(s);see note below. In most cases similar API RP526 flange to flange dimensions can be obtained from Vendors for pilot operated valves.

On new installations:

Unless otherwise can be demonstrated, give preference to pilot operated PSVs for clean service on Primary Separator(s) connected to interfield pipelines, or to pipelines of a significant length or in cases where there is a high potential for chattering due to either the interaction between multiple PSVs or PSVs and pressure control valves. Select pilots of a modulating-action type, to minimise potential for chattering.

The TFE General Specification GS SAF 261 ruling the pressure protection and relief systems will be modified in section 4.5.2 at the time of its next update by adding the chattering prevention in the reasons for selecting pilot operated valves.

Note GS-SAF-261 (Section 4.5.1.2) states that “if the relief valve is located where venting to atmosphere could cause a hazard, the bonnet vent shall be piped to another disposal system, independent of the relief valve discharge system.”

Note; Pilot operated valves can be inherently less safe than spring operated due to the chance of pilot lines becoming block with rust, hydrates, etc. It is important that this assessed when selecting the appropriate type of PSV.

For further information ( + 33 (0)1 4135 3564 Pete Brown (peter.brown@totalfinalf.com)