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Fitness for Service

Pressure Vessel Fitness for Service

A major oil company revitalizing an Iraqi oil field called on Becht Engineering to review several hundred pressure vessels containing thinned regions to determine their fitness for service (FFS) per the API-579-1/ASME-FFS-1 Part 5 process for analyzing Local Thin Areas (LTAs).PVD1 Using ultrasonic testing (UT) and visual inspection data, Becht Engineering customized its proprietary API-579-1/ASME-FFS-1 compliant General Metal Loss and Local Thin Area evaluation software to create a program capable of evaluating the maximum allowable working pressure (MAWP) of these pressure vessels in an efficient manner. The software  is very easy to use and presents the results in a user-friendly format for evaluation by engineers and managers. PVD2Because of the extensive nature of the corrosion, large files containing UT scan data needed to be evaluated, and the software was enhanced to parse and analyze the LTAs in the large datasets. This highly efficient process allows rapid evaluation of LTAs, and most vessels were completed in less than one week’s time. Becht’s software modification has also included the COMPRESS vessel design software output as an input to these FFS assessments. Becht has performed Level 1 and Level 2 LTA analyses on various vessels, evaluated sections of vessels for total replacement, analyzed external damage caused by shrapnel from previous wars, and developed repair procedures within the means of the maintenance team for this remote oil field.

 

Risk-Based Inspection (RBI) - Corrosion

Focus on Corrosion – A Refinery-Wide Risk-Based Inspection (RBI) Program

Becht Engineering has completed development of a Refinery-wide Risk Based Inspection Program (RBI) at a Caribbean Refinery with a focus on corrosion damage mechanisms. The Refinery has observed accelerated corrosion in recent years, resulting in a higher than expected equipment replacement rate and commissioned the study in order to develop a plan to mitigate the corrosion.

Becht Engineering - RBI Corrosion ProjectBecht used its proprietary Risk-Based Equipment Reliability Planning work process which is embedded in the our software program STIER© (Strategy Tool for Improving Equipment Reliability) to develop the Risk-based Inspection and Maintenance Plan to address corrosion-related failure scenarios for fixed equipment, rotating equipment and piping circuits. Our work process is compliant with API RP 580, Risk-Based Inspection and ASME PCC-3-2007 Inspection Planning Using Risk-Based Methods.
The subject matter expert (SME) based approach was employed to develop failure scenarios. Once the relevant equipment data were collected and loaded into STIER, a Senior Metallurgists, James McLaughlin, reviewed the information and pre-developed damage mechanisms and failure scenarios for each item. Becht also employed the advice of a Senior Furnace SME, Robert Dubil, to develop failure scenarios, and inspection and maintenance plans for the furnaces. The facilitation team for the RBI Work Process was Dr. Eileen Chant and James McLaughlin.

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Coke Drum Replacement

Coke Drum Skirt Replacement - No Downtime

drumwithconcreteA major refinery in the Middle East requested Becht Engineering to evaluate the problem of their coke drums walking and tilting, and the baseplate/skirt/anchor bolts corroding. After an initial site visit by Trevor Seipp, Division Manager of Becht Engineering Canada Ltd., we determined that the lower portion of the skirt as well as the entire baseplate needs to be replaced for all eight coke drums. In addition, some of the coke drums needed to be re-leveled, and all needed to have shims and slide plates installed. Finally, all of the anchor bolts need to be replaced. And all of this needs to be done without any downtime. Building on the success of our world’s first in Texas, Becht Engineering developed a window methodology to complete the work whereby after we temporarily jack and re-level the drums and place them on temporary shims and slide plates, entire windows of the skirt (~1m x 1m) would be cut out and replaced with new material. While the window is cut out, however, we will have excellent access to the concrete deck to enact the anchor bolt replacement. What will make this project especially challenging is that all of this work needs to be completed while the drum remains in operation. Plus, there are 24 windows per drum and eight drums. All of this work needs to be developed using first-class engineering skills. Since the internal pressure, high temperature, and widely fluctuating weight due to the hydrocarbons, coke, and quench water all have to be evaluated during the repair process, Becht Engineering applied its expertise in finite element analysis (FEA) to the task. Our analysts are among the best in the business, and have performed evaluations on some of the most challenging problems.

Vessel Life Assessment

Vessel Remaining Life Assessment

pressure vesselAn incident in a process used to remove contaminants from a process waste gas required the shutdown of the unit. The process contains multiple similar vessels that follow the same pressure and temperature cycle daily. The vessels had been in service for more than 40 years. (A typical pressure cycle is shown in the sketch.) The client wanted to determine a safe remaining life for the vessels. As an initial step, Becht conducted a Finite Element Analysis (FEA) using the operating pressure and temperature cycles. The focus was on those areas of the vessel with high peak stresses where a crack may already exist or develop in future operation. The remaining fatigue life was based on the methods in ASME Code Section VIII, Div. 2. Working with our affiliated company (Sonomatic) an estimate was developed of the minimum detectable crack size in the vessel wall. Becht recommended a fracture mechanics crack growth analysis be conducted to determine the number of cycles for a crack of the minimum detectable size to grow/propagate through the vessel wall. This information is used to set the maximum interval between inspections and to set a safe margin below the number of cycles for a through-wall crack to occur. Based on the outcomes of the above a long-term inspection program for the vessels could be established,

Technology Scale Up

New Process Technology Scale-up

new process1Becht has worked closely with the a number of our clients' process research and engineering groups on the on the scale-up of new process technology. One example of such an activity is the development of a process and mechanical design specification for a pyrolysis-based fluid bed biomass pilot plant. Becht engineers in the areas of fluid-solids process design, process simulation, analytical methods and mechanical design worked with a joint venture company to develop a process design specification of sufficient detail to provide an EPC contractor information needed to develop the detailed design. The specification included the preliminary design of the three major vessels (see reactor sketch) and solids transfer lines. In addition, Becht worked on the development of the process model (PROII simulation), the characterization of liquid product from the reactor overhead system and recommended the analytical laboratory program and methods needed to characterize the reactor overhead products

RBWS Program Implementation

Becht’s team of Reliability Specialists rolled out a risk-based work selection (RBWS) program at a number of refineries for a major Refining Company. Becht’s methodology utilizes RBWS, which is an industry Best Practice for Turnaround Work Scope development. Our RBWS methodology utilizes Becht’s proprietary STRAITS© software to enable risk-based decision making in equipment operations, inspection and maintenance.

The user-friendly Becht tool, STRAITS©, integrates the RBWS process and was optimized to be used in a group setting to facilitate. The software, which has an embedded S/H/E and financial risk-calculator, was delivered along with supporting documentation and training.rbwsimplementation

Our expert facilitators worked with plant personnel engaged in TA Work Scope development. A comprehensive assessment of the Work List was done to assess the drivers (Process or Equipment Integrity) for TA work. A structured risk-based process, using Becht’s software, was used to challenge the work list items and determine whether the TA work is justifiable, or whether deferments are permissible. For TAs, requiring 200,000 to 1,000,000 mhrs, the Becht process identified potential savings of 15-30% on estimated Direct Costs for the planned work scope.

Pump Trips/Chk Valve Closure

Pump Trips and Check Valve Closure

pump tripSystems running multiple pumps in parallel can undergo serious equipment and piping damage during a pump trip caused by a power outage or pump mechanical failure. Uncontrolled reverse flow in the system can occur and if improperly selected check valves are used it can result in pumps running backwards or transient pressure spikes in the system, i.e., water hammer. Water hammer will occur if reverse flow occurs prior closure of the check valve and the effect increases with higher reverse flow velocity. Becht has worked with clients on analysis of the design of their systems, e.g., a water treating facility running multiple 52,000 gpm pumps in parallel, a seawater pump station pumping cooling water through a several mile pipeline to an inland facility and a boiler feed water circulation system for a 3000 psig forced circulation boiler. In a three pump system (two operating and one spare), one and two pump trips were analyzed to determine the response of the system, i.e., fluid deceleration, time at the occurrence of reverse flow vs. time of check valve closure, pressure transients and unbalanced forces that are imposed on the piping and pumps. The figure shows the forward fluid velocity vs. time as the speed of the pump(s) slows, the point of reverse flow, the time at check valve closure and pressure spikes in the system. Based on the analysis, the required performance of the check valve to minimize reverse flow can be determined and a valve selected. No valve will close precisely at "zero" fluid velocity; however, certain type valves perform significantly better than others.