Oil and 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

Unplanned Downtime Is Costly

When an equipment in the manufacturing line fails, production stops. Repair or replacement is required which may take days or even weeks. Workflows are interrupted, there is a loss in output capacity, and bottom lines are affected.

One study found that between 2009 and 2012, there were 1,700 refinery shutdowns – an average of 1.6 shutdowns per day. This can mean a loss of more than 150,000 barrels per day.

There were 2,200 unscheduled shutdowns in the United States alone between 2009 and 2013, costing roughly $20 billion per year.

Bloomberg

Preventive Maintenance Is Important

Systems breakdown due to a number or combination of factors, rarely just one. This results in devastating loss of equipment and life in Oil and Gas Industries. 

Poor or irregular maintenance procedures also increase the likelihood of equipment failure or human error. Combine this with inconsistent processing situations, the implications can be costly with unscheduled downtimes.

Unplanned downtimes negatively affect production capacity and increase operating expenses. The damaged equipment must be thoroughly inspected and quickly repaired before beginning operation again.

Preventive maintenance increases the reliability of equipment which is critical to achieve long-term profitable operations and tackle rising materials costs. This entails having detailed site-specific maintenance schedules, procedures, and training.

Maintenance procedures should include five phases:

  1. Initial Survey of Process
  2. On-Site Study
  3. Development of Schedule and Training
  4. Implementation of the Maintenance Plan, and
  5. Follow-Up to Determine Success Rate. 

Heat Exchangers in the Oil and Gas Industry

Heat Exchangers have an important role in processing oil and gas. They are used in the refining process in cracking units, as well as the liquefaction of natural gas. 

Cracking is the process of breaking the hydrocarbons that compose crude oil into smaller pieces. 

During production, Heat Exchangers seaparate the oil from any water that is produced during cracking. 

As such, it is vital that the tubes in Heat Exchangers are maintained properly to minimise tube failures and  prevent unexpected downtimes. 

Minimise Tube Failures

Three main areas for improvement to minimise future in-service tube failures are: 

  • Tube Testing 
  • Re-Tubing Strategy During Turnarounds
  • Design Improvements in Heat Exchangers
For the first point of tube inspection, we recommend using a suitable tube inspection device. This device needs to have the ability and accuracy to detect the common flaws found in the Heat Exchangers. 

Common Problems

  • Under Deposit Cooling Water Causing Corrosion
  • ​​Process Corrosion
  • Stress-Corrosion Cracking (SCC) of Tubes
  • Steam or Condensate Corrosion
  • Process Fouling

Tube Inspection with APRIS

Technologies for inspecting Heat Exchanger tubes are constantly changing and improving rapidly. With increased sophistication and complexity of today’s Non-Destructive Examination (NDE) techniques, the operator’s skill level is becoming more vital. 

To correctly identify the flaws and tube failures, a reliable technology and technician is needed.

APRIS is a smart tube inspection device that doesn’t compromise the ease-of-use with higher complexity and sophistication. 

A typical tube inspection tool would require a user to have years of experience. But with APRIS, any technician can accurately find flaws with little training.  

Case Study

APRIS

Heat Exchangers to Inspect with APRIS

  • Crude Oil Heater
  • Dump Condenser
  • Flushing Oil Heater
  • Generator Oil Cooler
  • Gland Condenser
  • Kerosene Product Water Cooler
  • Lube Oil Cooler
  • Steam Condenser
  • Surface and Stabiliser Condenser

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