Log in

Login to your account

Username *
Password *
Remember Me

Becht Engineering Blog

In this section of the site contributing authors submit interesting articles relating to the various services, industries and research & development efforts of Becht Engineering.

All That Glitters Is Not Gold - Due Diligence Can Define The True Value

pot_of_gold_rainbow
A few years ago I conducted what might be the world's cheapest, fastest and most cost effective due diligence study ever done. This study took one hour and cost the client about $500.  I was approached by two new members of a well-recognized financial institution. They were assigned to evaluate opportunities to capture low cost natural gas. They had discovered an ammonia plant for sale in an intensely agricultural region in the Midwest-US. Considering feedstock cost, proximity to market and asking price for the plant, they thought this was a gold mine.  Their superiors had some concern about the enormous enthusiasm of these new employees and asked them to evaluate the condition of the asset to determine if it would perform at reasonable rates with acceptable mechanical availability. That is when they reached out to me. A call was scheduled and they explained the situation and “golden” opportunity. They we indeed...
Continue reading
4
  483 Hits
  0 Comments
483 Hits
0 Comments

Fatal Distractions: Refinery Chloride Contamination – Are You Looking for the Source of Chlorides in the Right Place?

L1011-aircraft Eastern Airlines L1011 Aircraft
On December 29, 1972 one the Nation’s worst airline accidents occurred as Eastern Air Lines Flight 401 crashed into the Florida Everglades killing 101 of the passengers and crew.   A National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigation attributed the cause of the crash to crew distraction.  While on approach, the crew noted that a landing gear indicator light was not functioning.  While the entire crew was preoccupied with troubleshooting the burnt-out landing gear indicator light, they failed to notice that the autopilot had inadvertently been disconnected and, as a result, the aircraft gradually lost altitude and ultimately crashed. All too often when attempting to solve a problem we suffer from tunnel vision.    A probable root cause to the problem is suggested and we spend all of energy and resources attempting to fix the suggested root cause while ignoring the indications that the actual root cause is something else or that more...
Continue reading
5
  1006 Hits
  0 Comments
1006 Hits
0 Comments

Reducing Loss of Primary Containment (LOPC's) in a Refinery

cover-LOPCs
Reducing Loss of Primary Containment (LOPC's) or commonly referred to as “leaks” in a refinery is a key factor to improve reliability.  Historically, most refiners reduced the high consequence leaks to avoid major incidents; however, lower consequence related leaks were not given high priority.  Today high reliability is required, and reduction of all leaks is desired due to greater legal and regulatory oversight of the industry.  Approximately 90% of the leaks occur in piping systems.  These leaks typically fall into 3 categories; internal corrosion, flange leaks and external corrosion.  Many refiners have programs in place for internal corrosion and programs for flanged joints; however, many lack comprehensive programs for external corrosion. To fully reduce LOPCs a comprehensive internal and external corrosion management system is necessary. Background Many refineries have had Mechanical Integrity related audits performed during the last decade.  These audits have found many areas for improvements and programs were initiated...
Continue reading
4
  1054 Hits
  0 Comments
1054 Hits
0 Comments

Why Risk-Based Inspection (RBI) Works

why-rbi-works-cover
The API Inspection Codes were originally based on failure prevention and did not consider the consequences of failure or potential damage mechanisms.  Risk-based inspection (RBI) assessments result in an equipment risk ranking based on the probability of failure (a leak occurring) and the consequence associated with that leak.  Applied properly, RBI provides the benefit of increasing operating efficiencies and unit run lengths of process facilities while maintaining or reducing the current level of risk. As stated above, risk has two components, probability and consequence.  In risk-based inspection, the probability of failure is determined by evaluating the initial design conditions and the amount of damage that can potentially occur while the equipment is in operation.  Uncertainty in the model is also address by crediting previous inspections.  Consequences are commonly evaluated in terms of environmental, health, and safety impact areas or financial loss (lost opportunity, repair costs, etc.).  Consequences are also evaluated based...
Continue reading
4
  462 Hits
  0 Comments
462 Hits
0 Comments