HYDROCARBON PUBLISHING COMPANY
Translating Knowledge into Profitability®
A member of the Hydrocarbon Analytics Group
Publication date:1Q 2011
The refining industry—indeed, industry in general—has come to recognize reliability and safety as essential to profitability.
Lost production, whether from equipment failure or human error, can cost a company significantly—in lost profit, in regulatory violations, in injuries or exposure to risk of personnel and the community. This has driven increasing attention not only to equipment and procedures that minimize failure and error, but to methodologies for identifying and assessing modes of failure, as well.
Reliability in refining involves the elimination of failure for equipment and systems. Although smaller auxiliary units will inevitably fail, avoiding large-scale upsets of major processing units and/or critical processing equipment should be a primary goal. Reliability will go hand-in-hand with refinery maintenance: reliability engineers will attempt to predict and mitigate failure while maintenance engineers look to restore operational failure quickly and efficiently. Furthermore, preventative maintenance is implemented to avoid failure and improve overall reliability of a plant.
Safety issues will also be a primary driver for the planning and execution of refinery maintenance programs. As such, another focus will be on safety issues in the refinery, as a whole, as well as safety concerns related to specific units. Reaching a clear and concise understanding of risk factors in refining and defining Process Safety Management (PSM) principles is the first step in providing a safe work environment for refinery personnel. Furthermore, a number of strategies focusing on inspection and maintenance activities, process control and automation, and best practices are presented with the goal of providing options for improved safety in refining.
Overall, improvements in both refinery reliability and safety on a plant-wide and unit-by-unit basis can help enhance production, efficiency, and profitability. Technology offerings from a wide range of companies can be utilized to help minimize the frequency and financial impact of process upsets. The integration of process control and automation systems with advanced plant-wide monitoring and asset management programs allows refiners to utilize real-time process data to evaluate, plan, and optimize operations. Furthermore, improvements in data and asset management can be coupled with expanded training programs and the implementation of industry best practices will help to mitigate many of the health and safety risks that refinery personnel are exposed to on a daily basis. Additionally, in the maintenance, reliability, and safety section, new products and topics covered include:
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