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35 Hot Tapping

35 Hot Tapping

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A guidelines on hot tapping procedure inside a refinery
A guidelines on hot tapping procedure inside a refinery

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Published by: S Anantha Prasanna Venkatesh on Jan 06, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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08/13/2013

 
Jubail United Petrochemical Company (United)Site Safety Procedures ManualUnited Olefins Complex ProjectRev. 1, July, 2001Jubail, Saudi ArabiaPage 1 of 5
 H:\06700320 EO-EG\101\EOEG ITB\ITB FINAL IFC\Part III Project Execution Instructions\4.0 Safety and Security\4.5 Safety Procedures Manual\35_-Hot-Tapping.docGENERAL SITE CONDITIONS AND SAFETY PROCEDURES
35.
 
HOT TAPPINGA.
 
GENERAL
This procedure provides guidelines covering the safety aspects to be considered when welding ahot tap connection onto a pipe or vessel installed in a refinery, chemical plant, or other similarfacility, or lines that contained product. It is not a substitute for job planning. A detailed writtenprocedure shall be prepared for each hot tap.This procedure does not apply to hot taps on gas or liquefied petroleum transmission pipelines orservice taps on gas distribution mains. These procedures apply to piping and equipment fabricatedfrom ferritic and austenitic steel. Materials such as aluminum, copper, or cast iron are notaddressed.Hot tapping shall be performed by qualified professionals who specialize in performing such work on a frequent basis.Client representatives should be included from initial designs through hot tap completion (safety,construction, operations, maintenance, etc.)An engineered design with a drawing approval cycle shall be implemented for the proposed hottap. The design shall include:
 
metallurgical analysis, including wall thickness, determination by ultrasonic test (UT);
 
in-process controls and inspections to assure conformance to design;
 
approval of Contractor/Subcontractor procedures; and a review and approval by Owner
B.METALLURGY
Vessels or lines to be hot tapped must be properly inspected for adequate wall thickness andabsence of imperfections to minimize the risk of burn-through. Qualified welders shall adhere tocontrolled welding techniques to prevent overheating.A thorough inspection of each connection area must verify that the metal thickness is adequate forthe pressure and temperature involved. There must be no lamination or other imperfections. Hottaps should only be made in lamination-free areas with adequate metal thickness.
Burn-Through Prevention
To minimize the possibility of burn-through, the first weld pass to the equipment should be madeutilizing applicable regulatory agency standard guidelines. Subsequent passes should be madewith a one-eighth inch (1/8”) (3.2 millimeter) electrode diameter or less if the metal thicknessdoes not exceed one-half inch (1/2”) (12.8 millimeters). In many situations, low hydrogen rodsmay be preferable to reduce the possibility of burn-through. For a wall thickness greater than one-half inch (1/2”) (12.8 millimeters) where burn-through is not a primary concern, larger diameterelectrodes may be used.
 
Jubail United Petrochemical Company (United)Site Safety Procedures ManualUnited Olefins Complex ProjectRev. 1, July, 2001Jubail, Saudi ArabiaPage 2 of 5
 H:\06700320 EO-EG\101\EOEG ITB\ITB FINAL IFC\Part III Project Execution Instructions\4.0 Safety and Security\4.5 Safety Procedures Manual\35_-Hot-Tapping.docGENERAL SITE CONDITIONS AND SAFETY PROCEDURES
Metal Thickness
Generally, a minimum base metal thickness of three-sixteenths inch (3/16”) (4.8 millimeters) isrecommended for hot tapping. Exceptions to the recommended thickness may be permitted whenengineer specifications allow. Welding on thin material could result in overheating and burn-through. If practical, temporarily reduce the pressure and/or temperature within the equipment toprovide an additional safety factor while welding takes place.
Metal Temperature
If the metal temperature is less than 50
°
F (10
°
C), heating the weld area before welding should beconsidered. Generally, welding should not be performed on lines or equipment when atmospherictemperature is less than -50
°
F (-45
°
C) unless special consideration is given to the base metalcharacteristics, electrodes, and a method of metal preheating. Hot tap machines should also bechecked for suitability of use at low temperatures. Under all circumstances, hot tapping should belimited to the pressure/temperature rating of the machine.
Stress Relief 
Some equipment is unsuitable for hot tapping because the metallurgy or thickness of metalrequires stress relieving, which normally cannot be done while the equipment is pressurized.Special treatment is required for high tensile strength alloy steels; special-welding electrodes mustbe used. Hot tap fitting and weld rod metallurgy must be compatible with the metallurgy of equipment to be tapped.
Chemistry of Line or Vessel Contents
The oxygen level within the equipment must be controlled to prevent the formation of a vapor/airmixture within flammable or explosive ranges. In addition, contents of the line or vessel being hottapped must not contain the following:
 
hydrogen, where the equipment has operated above the Nelson curve limits, because of the possibility of hydrogen molecules attaching to the metal;
 
vapor/air or vapor/oxygen mixtures within flammable or explosive ranges;
 
acids, chlorides, peroxides, or other chemicals likely to decompose or become hazardousfrom the heat of welding;
 
caustic or amine if the concentration and temperature are such that the fabricationspecifications call for stress relieving; and
 
certain unsaturated hydrocarbons that may experience exothermic decomposition reaction(ethylene, for example) if the metal temperature resulting from hot tapping could initiatesuch a reaction at the maximum expected pressure. Such reactions could have thepotential for causing localized hot spots on pipe walls that could lead to failure.
C.REQUIREMENTS
Hot work on pipelines and other operating equipment shall not be applied for pressures less thanatmospheric or greater than seven hundred (700) pounds per square inch per grade (psig) and
 
Jubail United Petrochemical Company (United)Site Safety Procedures ManualUnited Olefins Complex ProjectRev. 1, July, 2001Jubail, Saudi ArabiaPage 3 of 5
 H:\06700320 EO-EG\101\EOEG ITB\ITB FINAL IFC\Part III Project Execution Instructions\4.0 Safety and Security\4.5 Safety Procedures Manual\35_-Hot-Tapping.docGENERAL SITE CONDITIONS AND SAFETY PROCEDURES
temperatures less than 70
°
F (20º) or greater than 600
°
F without additional extensive engineeringand/or consultation with appropriate industrial specialists.
 
The pipe, tank, or vessel walls must be at least the minimum thickness for the designtemperature and pressure plus three-thirty-seconds of an inch (3/32”), but in no case lessthan three-sixteenths of an inch (3/16"). The thickness must be confirmed by ultrasonictesting.
 
The metallurgy of the pipe, tank or vessel shall be fully determined prior to welding.
 
Hot taps shall not be performed upstream of rotating equipment without filters or traps toretain cuttings.
 
The chance of blow through is greatest on welds running longitudinal to the pipeline.Therefore, on full encirclement fittings the only welds made directly to the pipe are theend circumferential welds.
 
Minimum velocity (flow) of the fluid/gas shall be specified in the job plan for each hottap.
 
Pipelines with high flow rates or refrigerated liquids tend to result in too rapid quenchingof the weld which may contribute to weld cracking problems. Bolt-on tees, suitable forthe service, may be used where weld cracking or stress relief is a problem.
D.HOT TAP MACHINES
All hot tapping machines must be certified with documented proof of certification for maximumworking pressure and temperature rating. The machine must be able to positively retain andremove the blank or coupon. They may be powered by hand, air, hydraulic fluids, or electricity.A hot tap machine can be considered suitable if the pressure and temperature of the medium insidethe line or vessel falls within the working limits of the hot tap machine. The seals and materials of the hot tap machine must be compatible with the fluids in the line or vessel and the material of thedrill or cutter must be suitable for effective penetration of the metal of the pipe or vessel.Before hot tapping is attempted, the machine, cutter and pilot bit should be carefully inspected toensure that they are in satisfactory condition and capable of being left in service, if necessary, inthe event of mechanical problems or hot tap valve leakage.
E.PREPARATION
Mounting, assembling, and operation of the hot tapping machine shall be performed by personneltrained for this purpose. Selection of the proper fitting and reinforcement for use in making the hottap connection shall be based on the proper codes (refer to API). The overall fitting and valveassembly length must not exceed the machine boring bar maximum travel. Weldolets, weld-ends,split tees, saddles, nozzles, branch-o-lets, or plain meters may be used depending on thereinforcement needed. If hot tap diameter is greater than fifty percent (50%) of the run pipediameter, full encirclement pads or split tees shall be used.

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