Testing Valves in Safety Instrumented Functions

Emerson's Riyaz Ali


Safety instrumented systems are a critical part of process manufacturers and producers overall process safety management in protecting personnel, environment, equipment, property, reputation and image.

Safety Instrumented Function loop 'final element' problems and solutionsIn an Offshore Engineer article, Safety Instrumented Function loop ‘final element’ problems and solutions, Emerson’s Riyaz Ali describes the importance and ways to test the final control elements in these safety loops.

He opens describing safety instrumented systems and safety instrumented functions:

A safety instrumented system (SIS) can be one or more safety instrumented functions (SIF). A SIF is designed to prevent or mitigate a hazardous event by taking a process to a tolerable risk level. A SIF is composed of a combination of logic solver(s), sensor(s), and final element(s).

The final element, such as an emergency shutdown valve or blow down isolation valve must be tested to make sure it will perform the correct safety function when called upon.

Riyaz describes the two ways failures generally occur: Continue Reading

Adding Wireless Sensors for Health, Safety and Environment

Emerson's Jonas Berge


Wireless communications have changed everything from the way we listen to music to the way information is collected and disseminated. For process manufacturing and production plants, it means more the process can be sensed beyond traditional monitoring and control applications.

Plant Modernization for Health, Safety and EnvironmentIn a Control Engineering Asia article, Plant Modernization for Health, Safety and Environment, Emerson’s Jonas Berge shares examples where wireless technologies reduce operational and environmental risks.

Jonas opens describing potential areas of risk:

  • Manual valves in the wrong position
  • Coal pile fires
  • Storage tanks damage
  • Emergency safety shower or eyewash station activation
  • Field operators making frequent rounds
  • Hydrocarbon leaks and spills
  • Relief valve releases

Manual valves, when not checked and verified to be in the correct position, can lead to accidents or shutdowns. Continue Reading

Rugged Downhole Pressure and Temperature Measurement

I saw a recent news item, Emerson introduces digital, +175°C, high-precision pressure and temperature transmitter designed for corrosive harsh downhole measurements, and wanted to find out more about the application for this technology.

Emerson's Joe Kitzman


I caught up with Emerson’s Joe Kitzman to learn more. When drilling for oil and gas, downhole pressure and temperature measurements are used:

…to improve oil and gas production and solve problems of reservoir engineering… Reservoir temperature is governed primarily by the reservoir’s proximity to the earth’s mantle, and by the relative heat exchange capacities and thermal conductivities of the formations forming the lithostatic sequence that includes the reservoir.

Paine 320-12-0010 Series digital transmitter Depending on depth and location, this downhole environment can be quite harsh. This Paine 320-12-0010 Series digital transmitter increases the top-end temperature range from 150°C to 175°C. Pressure ranges up to 30,000 PSIA (2068 BAR).

Applications for this transmitter include its use in downhole tools, such as measurement while drilling (MWD), logging while drilling (LWD), and Wireline to name a few. Offshore energy exploration, artificial lift and subsea risers, and subsea hydraulic controls are more potential applications. Continue Reading

Optimizing Opportunity Crudes in Refining Operations

An Environmental Leader article, How Data Analytics is Changing the Oil & Gas Industry, highlights challenges in refining opportunity crudes:

Opportunity crudes, such as heavy oil produced from the Canadian oil sands, and light tight oils produced by hydraulic fracturing, are categorized by their inconsistency and the presence of problematic components. They are difficult to process, but discounted in price because of their unpredictable properties and processing challenges.

Emerson’s Marcelo Carugo


Last week, we shared the economics in minimizing octane giveaway by refining closer to specification through blend optimization. Today, I want to highlight a presentation to be given by Emerson’s Marcelo Carugo and TopNIR Systems‘ Didier Lambert at the October 24-28 Emerson Exchange conference in Austin, Texas.

Their presentation, A Unique approach to maximize Refinery margins through optimal use of Opportunity Crudes, looks at optimizing the process when these lower cost crude oil feedstocks are used.

Here is the presentation abstract:

Crude diet characterization is crucial for Refinery Optimization. It affects firstly Planning and Scheduling activities and secondly Process Optimization of individual Units as also Blending Plants. A good understanding of the crude entering to the refinery has an impact on the planning and affects all the Refinery operations. Crude Oil qualities available on the market today are wider than in the past. Indeed, new Oil fields coming with conventional or synthetic Crude oils as well as with Shale oils make more critical Crude Oil Management at the Refinery gate.

Qualities of crude oil available on the market today are wider than in the past. Indeed, new oil fields coming with conventional or synthetic crude oils as well as with shale oils make crude oil management at the refinery gate more critical. Refiners are challenged from operating the crude unit at optimum targets as well as dealing with bottlenecks, slowdowns and accelerated deterioration of assets caused by components in the opportunity crudes. Continue Reading

Natural Gas Liquids Fractionation Optimization

Maximizing the recovery of natural gas liquids from natural gas improves margins for midstream oil & gas producers. In an earlier post, Optimizing the Process of Purifying Natural Gas Liquids we highlighted the role of advanced process controls and expertise in producing the right mix of hydrocarbons based on current market conditions.

Emerson's Lou Heavner


Today in part two, Emerson’s Lou Heavner identifies the factors for improving the automation and control of a fractionation facility. He notes that it is not uncommon for the estimated savings for a fractionation facility of more than $2 million USD per year.

Quality savings are obtained when the column no longer over-purifies the product, but rather produces products in accordance with the specifications. Pressure savings are obtained when the column can be operated at a lower pressure.

Yield savings are obtained when the column is operated with the more valuable product as close to spec limits as possible while over-purifying the less valuable product up to the point where energy costs are more than the yield improvement. Continue Reading