Oil & Gas

Oil and natural gas combined provide over half of the world’s energy. Considered to be the biggest sector in the world in terms of dollar value, the oil and gas industry is a global powerhouse employing hundreds of thousands of workers worldwide as well as contributing a significant amount towards national GDP. The largest volumes of products of the oil and gas industry are fuel oil and gasoline (petrol). Petroleum is the primary material for a multitude of chemical products, including pharmaceuticals, fertilizers, solvents and plastics. Petroleum is therefore integral to many industries, and is of critical importance to many nations as the foundation of their industries.

Preventive Maintenance:

No single factor is culpable of systems breakdown; rather, it is almost always a combination of errors that results in such devastating loss of equipment and life in oil & gas industries. Poor or ad hoc maintenance procedures increase the likelihood of equipment failure or human error. When inappropriate maintenance practices are combined with atypical processing situations, the result can be costly.

Unscheduled downtime reduces production and increases operating and labor expense. Damaged equipment must be repaired and thoroughly inspected prior to start-up.

“2,200 unscheduled shutdowns in the United States alone between 2009 and 2013, costing roughly $20 billion per year”-Bloomberg

Planned preventive maintenance increases reliability. Detailed, site-specific maintenance schedules, procedures, and training are critical for long-term profitable operations and safe working conditions. Maintenance procedures should include five phases: initial survey of process, onsite study, development of schedule and training, implementation of maintenance program, and follow-up to determine success rate.

Heat Exchangers in Oil & Gas Industries

Heat exchangers play an important role in processing oil and gas. They are used in the refining process in cracking units as well as in the liquefaction of natural gas. Cracking is the process of breaking the hydrocarbons that compose crude oil into smaller pieces. Heat exchangers come into play to separate oil from any water that is produced during the process.

“Between 20 and 50 percent of industrial energy output is wasted.”- Oil & gas Journal

Reusing wasted heat not only cuts down on emissions, but also reduces the amount of fuel needed to run oil and gas facilities. World Economic Forum report predicts that continued regulations on how environmentally friendly facilities need to be will keep driving the need for heat exchangers. “Heat-exchanger tube failures accounted for 31% of the unplanned downtime in oil & gas industries. This resulted in over $1.2 billion of unplanned production interruptions globally.”-Oil & Gas Journal

Heat Exchanger Failure Mechanism
  • Under deposit cooling water corrosion of tubes
  • Process corrosion
  • Stress-corrosion cracking (SCC) of tubes in cooling water service
  • Steam/condensate corrosion
  • Process fouling
Three main areas for improvement to minimize future in-service tube failures.
  • Tube testing
  • Retubing strategy during turnarounds
  • Design Improvements
Tube Testing

Technologies for inspecting heat exchanger tubes are rapidly changing and continuously improving. Variance in test results depending on both the instrument and operator. The impact of human factors on non-destructive examination (NDE) performance is more prominent with the increased complexity and sophistication of today`s NDE techniques. Root cause analysis of some of the tube failures identified the need for reliable technicians and technologies.

APRIS provides solution to tube inspection problems with important advantages to oil & gas industry by minimizing downtime and improving operational productivity.