Smith & Burgess' Blog

What's new in Salus?

Posted by Chris Heflin on Jul 20, 2021 10:22:56 AM

Inlet Stability

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Topics: Salus, Process Safety Management, Evergreening

Process Safety Considerations in Renewable Diesel Conversions

Posted by Rob Foley on Jul 20, 2021 10:09:58 AM

Interest in renewable diesel has increased significantly in recent years. In 2019, the estimated US renewable diesel consumption was 900 million gallons [1] followed by an estimated 960 million gallons in 2020.[2] This trend is expected to continue in the coming years.[3] Conversion of existing petroleum facilities to renewable diesel production provides an appealing path for many producers, but careful evaluation of the conversion must be performed to ensure that the facility is operating safely and in full compliance with PSM standards. While the existing relief and flare systems may have been adequate for the petroleum refinery service, these systems should be reviewed and redesigned along with the new process as the demand on these systems can significantly change.

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Topics: Relief Systems, Process Safety Management, Process Safety, diesel conversions, renewable diesel, renewable vs biodiesel

Recovering Texas Operating Facilities from the Freeze: by a Native Midwesterner

Posted by Dick Baum on Mar 2, 2021 2:14:38 PM

After spending over 20 years in the cold Midwest winters and suffering through plant freeze ups, my mind is racing with what to look out for as things thaw back out. Please see my thoughts on instrumentation, dead legs, and a few other things to look out for based on my years of experience in the freezing weather.  

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Topics: Relief Systems, Process Safety Management, Process Safety, Freeze, arctic Freeze, recovering, unprecedented freeze, extreme weather

Looking Ahead to 2021. . .

Posted by Stuart Maxwell on Jan 11, 2021 1:43:03 PM

About the Author
Stuart Maxwell holds an MA in Management from the University of Aberdeen and has over 16 years of business development, consulting and program management experience in the oil, gas and petrochemical industries working with many IOCs, large independent operators and EPCs across the globe. Stuart, as a non-engineer, isn’t going to execute any Flare QRA projects anytime soon but uses his expertise and focus on our clients’ problems to make sure our teams, capabilities, and tools can help clients succeed.

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2020 Wrapped

Posted by Dick Baum on Jan 11, 2021 1:42:45 PM

About the Author
Mr. Baum has over 40 years of experience in Process Safety Management. He has been a process and risk assessment professional since 2006. Additionally, Mr. Baum has experience in refineries and chemical plants where he has held positions responsible for the development, implementation, and management of the PSM element.

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How Relief Valve Assembly Affects Stability Calculations

Posted by Dustin Smith, P.E. on Jan 11, 2021 1:41:44 PM

About the Author
Mr. Smith has over a decade of experience, with a specialization in relief systems design and documentation, PSM compliance audit reviews, heat and material balance generation, PHA concern resolution, and flare system integration and optimization. Dustin is a chemical engineering graduate of Texas A&M University, a licensed Professional Engineer in Texas and LOPA certified.

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Topics: Relief Systems, Relief Device Study, Relief System Design, Relief Systems Revalidation, Process Safety

What did 2020 bring for Salus?

Posted by Chris Heflin on Jan 11, 2021 1:39:54 PM

About the Author 
Christopher Heflin is a degreed Chemical Engineer from Texas A&M University with over 8 years of experience in pressure relief analysis and relief system software, and is the lead training instructor for Salus and Data Insights courses both locally and internationally. He also plays an active role in the development of new features as well as ongoing software support.

 

Coronavirus Impact

Despite the dreaded COVID-19 pandemic, we have happily added several new members to the Salus family as an increased drive toward digitization and organization sweeps the industry. As a result, Salus has streamlined migration efforts for client’s existing data – whether in digital or physical copies – to be utilized efficiently in the software.

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Topics: Salus, Process Safety Management, Process Safety Optimization, Process Safety

COVID-19: Operating Facilities Safely During A Pandemic

Posted by Jeremiah McAfoose on Apr 20, 2020 12:15:33 PM

The COVID-19 Challenge

As the COVID-19 disease became a pandemic in the span of mere weeks in USA (months for the world), most of us who work in the process safety/engineering field has probably asked, or been asked:

  • What kind of precautions have you taken to minimize the COVID-19 spread through:
    • Human contact
    • Computer equipment
    • Shared office spaces
    • Common areas
  • How do you determine “non-essential” personnel that should not have access to your facility?
  • What is your contingency plan if/when travel or access is restricted?
  • How can you keep normal work efficiency for these “non-essential” personnel working offsite?
  • What kind of resources do you need to work offsite?

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Topics: Did You Know?, Salus, Process Safety Management, Relief System Design

Did You Know: PSV Isolation on Air Receivers

Posted by Brandon Ring on Jan 14, 2020 10:26:07 AM

 

Did you know, OSHA does not allow block valves on the inlet of relief valves installed on air receivers in compressed air systems?

OSHA CFR 1910.169(b)(3)(ii) states, “No valve of any type shall be placed between the air receiver and its safety valve or valves.”

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Topics: Did You Know?, Pressure Relief Valves, Detailed Engineering, OSHA, PRV, Relief System Design, Relief Header, Set Pressure, Exit Pipe Fitting

Did You Know: Set Pressure of PSVs Protecting Process Pipes

Posted by Brandon Ring on Jan 14, 2020 10:15:36 AM

 

Did you know, relief devices that protect process pipe may be set to open above the piping design pressure?

Per ASME B31.3-2016, Sections 322.6.3. (see Figure 1) and 302.2.4 (f) (see Figure 2), a thermal relief valve may be set up to 120% of the design pressure of the protected system with the owner’s approval, as long as, the allowable accumulation criteria in 302.2.4.(f) are met. Set pressures lower than 120% of the design pressure may be required depending on the allowable accumulation pressures in 302.2.4 (f).

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Topics: Did You Know?, Pressure Relief Valves, Detailed Engineering, PRV, Relief System Design, Relief Header, Set Pressure, Exit Pipe Fitting

New Decade’s Resolutions?

Posted by Brandon Ring on Jan 13, 2020 4:21:56 PM

"Great teamwork is the only way we create the breakthroughs that define our careers."

As we enter 2020, most of us have already taken a moment to reflect on last year's successes and failures. (At least on a personal level.) A somewhat painful and unavoidable exercise to help guide your decisions in the upcoming year.

However, how many have taken stock of our past decade's personal successes and failures? If you haven't, quickly give it a shot right now.

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Topics: PSM Review, Industry Compliance, Compliance, OSHA, SIL Design, SIS Design, PSM Audit, Regulatory Compliance, Gap Assessment, Relief System Design, Relief Systems Revalidation, Relief Valve Mitigation, Relief Header, Flare Header Analysis, Allowable Backpressure, Spring Loaded Valves, CAPEX, Disposal System Design, Dynamic System Modelling

Supporting Safety in our Communities

Posted by Brandon Ring on Jan 1, 2020 9:45:00 AM

Todd Mission Volunteer Fire Department Appreciation Lunch:

In June of 2019, Smith & Burgess coordinated an appreciation lunch for the City of Todd Mission’s Volunteer Fire Department at their station. Located in Grimes County and immediately next door to the area’s highly-popular Renaissance Festival, the City’s fire department covers 30 square miles and approximately 6,000 residents.

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Topics: Smith & Burgess News

2019 Hydrocarbon Processing Awards

Posted by Brandon Ring on Nov 13, 2019 2:47:00 PM

Smith & Burgess representing at the 2019 Hydrocarbon Processing Awards

In late September, Smith & Burgess was honored to be listed as finalists in three categories at the 2019 Hydrocarbon Processing Awards.

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Topics: Smith & Burgess News

2019 REMBE Process Safety Days

Posted by Brandon Ring on Sep 16, 2019 9:56:04 AM

We are excited to announce Mr. John Burgess will be presenting "The Unintended Consequences of Relief Device Pipe Modification" at tomorrow's REMBE's Safety Conference.

REMBE® Process Safety Days is a two-day networking event with highly topical presentations, live demonstration and an extraordinary evening event. It is dedicated to engineers, planners, operators, technicians, maintainer, safety inspectors, technical experts and inspection personnel in supervising organisations.

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Topics: PSM Review, PSM Audit, Regulatory Compliance, Gap Assessment, Relief System Design, Relief Systems Revalidation

Smith & Burgess' "2019 Process Safety Scholarship"

Posted by Brandon Ring on Jun 21, 2019 3:04:42 PM

Actively supporting the Society of Women Engineers:

To celebrate Smith & Burgess’ support of “International Women in Engineering Day,” we are proud to announce Ms. Jill Bohnet as the winner of our first annual “Smith & Burgess: Process Safety Scholarship Award.”

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Topics: Smith & Burgess News

The Journey to Peak Facility Safety

Posted by Brandon Ring on Feb 24, 2019 10:34:05 PM

Establishing and maintaining an effective safety culture is a symphony of challenges and moving pieces.

Too often, those responsible engineers are stretched thin with competing priorities. Smith & Burgess is here to help. Our culmination of Process Safety knowledge enables us to quickly provide our clients with practical solutions that lead to compliancesignificant cost-savings, and of course, peak facility safety.

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Topics: PSM Review, Industry Compliance, Compliance, OSHA, SIL Design, SIS Design, PSM Audit, Regulatory Compliance, Gap Assessment, Relief System Design, Relief Systems Revalidation, Relief Valve Mitigation, Relief Header, Flare Header Analysis, Allowable Backpressure, Spring Loaded Valves, CAPEX, Disposal System Design, Dynamic System Modelling

Top Ten Things Affecting the Quality of your Relief Validation Study

Posted by Brandon Ring on Feb 24, 2019 12:31:43 PM

Pressure relief systems and devices are used to prevent equipment and pipework from over-pressurization which can lead to mechanical failure and associated release of containment.

In order to function correctly, relief systems need to be properly designed to recognized standards, correctly installed and properly maintained. Changes to associated plant and pipework also need to be appropriately managed; often, seemingly unrelated changes can have an impact on the relief case of the system and render it incapable of protecting the system as designed. This is seen particularly on older plants with poor change management history.

The following list provides some details on the areas you should focus on when improving the quality of your Relief Validation Study.

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Topics: Process Safety Optimization, Engineering Review, Engineering Analysis, Relief System Design, Relief Systems Revalidation

Refinement of Disposal System Design Loads

Posted by Edgard Kurnia on Jan 11, 2019 9:59:15 AM
 

With more brownfield capital projects coming back to life many operating companies are mobilizing to increase their facility's charge rates.

If you are one of these companies looking for improvements, correctly evaluating your flare system's maximum capacity could "make or break" your project's feasibility studies.

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Topics: Overpressure Protection, Feasibility Studies, RAGAGEP, Flare Optimization, Quantitative Risk Assessment, QRA, Rate Increase, API 521, CAPEX, Disposal System Design, Dynamic System Modelling

The Society of Women Engineering Partnership

Posted by Brandon Ring on Jan 3, 2019 9:45:00 AM

Smith & Burgess is excited to announce our recent partnership with the Houston Chapter of "Society of Women Engineers." 

The Society of Women Engineers, also known as SWE, is an inclusive organization focused on issues of interest to women specializing in engineering and technical careers. The SWE Houston Area Chapter is the fourth largest chapter in the Nation with almost 700 members.

Like many professional engineering organizations, Smith & Burgess has benefited from the recent increase in female engineers in today's marketplace. With the addition of 10 new hires in 2018, Smith & Burgess' female engineers now represent 35% of our total engineering staff – an increase of over 40% since January of 2016.

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Topics: Smith & Burgess News

Case Study: Flare Management Plan

Posted by Dustin Smith, P.E. on Dec 6, 2018 3:38:59 PM

The Opportunity:

A major United States refinery, with a significantly high Nelson Complexity Index rating, had nine flare stacks and multiple engineering contractors working within the facility which made managing their flare design and documentation a challenge.

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Topics: Flare Study, Flare System Documentation, Case Study, Flare System, Refinery, Flare Header, Flare Management, Evergreening

Case Study: Flare Modifications Due to Rate Increase

Posted by Dustin Smith, P.E. on Dec 6, 2018 3:28:04 PM

The Opportunity:

A major United States refinery was in the process of installing a site-wide rate increase and hired a competing engineering firm to perform the feasibility study. The engineering firm sized their crude fractionator and recommended new relief devices that would require modifications to their existing flare header. The refinery’s corporate office called Smith & Burgess and asked us to perform a third-party review on the engineering firm’s recommendations. 

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Topics: Flare Study, Case Study, Flare System, Refinery, Engineering Review, Flare Header, Third Party Review

Top 5 "RAGAGEP Deviations" in New Construction

Posted by Dustin Smith, P.E. on Aug 28, 2018 9:51:00 AM
 

Anyone tasked to start up a unit knows the engineers who designed it rarely miss a thing...

Every bleeder valve is in the right place, spectacle blind turned correctly, and bypass line scrutinized. So why would the flare and relief systems design be any different? The truth is that they are not. Engineering Firms today have perfected the art of throwing waves of engineers on design-build projects. Unfortunately for those engineers, relief and flare system designs are governed by a maze of regulations, codes, standards, and guidelines (collectively known as Recognized and Generally Accepted Good Engineering Practice or RAGAGEP). Experienced Project Managers understand that relief and flare specialists are needed to ensure their projects are safely and properly designed before any construction occurs.

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Topics: Did You Know?, Process Safety Management, Detailed Engineering, Maintenance Operation Studies, Relief System Documentation, Process Safety Optimization

Employee Spotlight: Amanda Mueller

Posted by Brandon Ring on Aug 1, 2018 4:57:00 PM



Ms. Amanda Mueller 
|  Process Safety Consultant

Ms. Mueller is a graduate from the University of Missouri with a degree in Chemical Engineering. She has extensive experience with Relief Systems and Flare Design projects. Over the past three years, Amanda has been an invaluable addition to Smith & Burgess' engineering staff and consistently exhibits the firm's dedication to quality process safety management.

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Topics: Smith & Burgess News, Relief System Design, Relief Valve Mitigation, Mitigation, Flare Header Analysis, Employee Spotlight

Did You Know: Allowable Backpressure for a Conventional Valve...

Posted by Brandon Ring on Aug 1, 2018 4:51:00 PM

 

Did you know, the allowable total backpressure for a conventional valve can be larger than 10% of the set pressure? According to API 520-1 §5.3.3.1.3:

"In a conventional PRV application, when the allowable overpressure is 10%, the built-up backpressure should not exceed 10% of the set pressure. A higher maximum allowable built-up backpressure may be used for allowable overpressures greater than 10 % provided the built-up backpressure does not exceed the allowable overpressure."

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Topics: Did You Know?, API 521, PRV, Set Pressure, Allowable Backpressure, Spring Loaded Valves

Case Study: Relief Systems Evaluation and Mitigation

Posted by Dustin Smith, P.E. on May 1, 2018 5:04:00 PM

The Opportunity:

A major United States Refinery hired Smith & Burgess to perform a site-wide revalidation.

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Topics: Pressure Relief Valves, Relief Systems, Case Study, Refinery, Engineering Review, PRV Study, PRV, Relief System Design, Relief Systems Revalidation, Undersized PSVs

Top 5 "Best Implemented" PSM Processes - A PSM Check-up

Posted by Dustin Smith, P.E. on Mar 27, 2018 10:09:00 AM

Top 5 "Best Implemented" PSM Processes
- A PSM Check-up

Recently, as a follow-up of our webinar series, you might have taken part in the Smith & Burgess' "PSM Check-up" industry survey. This article is a reality check on what areas the survey participants thought they were doing well in compared to OSHA PSM standards as defined in OSHA 1910.119. In addition to looking into historical findings that were defined by our numerous PSM audits, we have also included some statistics from OSHA NEP Citations/Violations along with reviewing the 804 Chemical Safety Board Recommendations. This helps us to ensure that our project PSM audit's results are consistent with regulatory findings.

We see quite often that outside reviews help a facility find the regulatory gaps in their PSM processes that may otherwise go unnoticed by the client's onsite staff. It is our hope that the following items will help you see that a properly executed PSM audit can shine a light in the areas that really could use a little TLC. This independent third-party audit is a proven way to find gaps in processes.

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Topics: Did You Know?

Case Study: Elimination of a Remote Flare System

Posted by Dustin Smith, P.E. on Mar 4, 2018 5:09:00 PM

The Opportunity:

An offshore floating production facility was originally designed with two flares: one on a boom riser and the other remotely located. Due to the design, the remotely located flare required large amounts of gas to operate. The site was interested in reducing operational costs and emissions by consolidating the two flares into the flare on the boom riser, eliminating the remotely located flare. However, there were concerns with the feasibility of such a flare consolidation, the effects of thermal radiation, and the possibility that system changes would increase the backpressures on the relief devices. Smith & Burgess was hired to review this system.

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Topics: Flare Mitigation, Flare Analysis, Flare Study, Case Study, Flare System, Refinery, Engineering Review, Flare Header, Flare Management, Flare Optimization

Case Study: LOPA Action Item Review

Posted by Dustin Smith, P.E. on Feb 1, 2018 4:58:00 PM

The Opportunity:

A recent Layers of Protection Analysis (LOPA) of a cavern storage facility identified several equipment installations requiring safety system upgrades. While the facility management wanted to follow proper review procedures, these proposed mitigation options seemed excessive. As a result, the site hired Smith & Burgess to review the safety systems upgrades to ensure the installations were needed and met regulatory requirements.

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Topics: Action Item Resolution, Case Study, Refinery, PSM, PSM Review, OSHA, PSM Audit, Layers of Protection Analysis, Mitigation, LOPA

Case Study: Wellhead Gathering System Overpressure QRA

Posted by Dustin Smith, P.E. on Jan 1, 2018 4:58:00 PM

The Opportunity:

A review of the “overpressure protection plan” for a wellhead gathering pipeline found that the potential for “multiple simultaneous well shutdown system failures” had been overlooked. The flowing pressure on the inlet to the well choke valve exceeded the allowable pressure in the gathering system. If multiple well safety systems failed, there would be an unacceptable potential for large-scale loss of containment. A Quantitative Risk Assessment of the entire system was needed to determine if the existing overpressure protection system, as a whole, met corporate and regulatory requirements. Initially, the protection plan suggested additional shutdown hardware and increased testing frequency. Smith & Burgess was hired to review this system.

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Topics: Detailed Engineering, Overpressure Protection, Case Study, Regulatory Compliance, Quantitative Risk Assessment, QRA

Spring Loaded Relief Valve Details: Valve Internals

Posted by Dustin Smith, P.E. on Dec 22, 2017 10:33:00 AM

 

Spring Loaded Relief Valve Details: Valve Internals 

A spring loaded relief valve is used in many applications to protect the over pressurization of vessels, pipes and containers. Conventional and balanced bellows relief valves are examples of spring loaded relief valves. Codes and standards like ASME, API,and ISO (to name a few) require that these relief valves are sized to have a relieving capacity that is sufficient to maintain the integrity of the system by preventing the internal pressure for exceeding the design limits. In general, the relief valve is designed and selected by the relief systems designer to meet process-engineering requirements.

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Topics: Did You Know?

 Safety Knowledge Should be Share...

“It should not be necessary for each generation to rediscover the principles of process safety which the generation before discovered. We must learn from the experience of others rather than learn the hard way. We must pass on to the next generation a record of what we have learned.” - Jesse C. Ducommun, Safety Pioneer
 
As Process Safety engineers and consultants, we believe our unique position creates a responsibility for Smith & Burgess to share our years of accumulated safety knowledge.


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