You are on page 1of 18

Best Practice

SABP-P-013 Electrical Design in Hazardous (Classified) Areas Document Responsibility: Electrical Substations Equipment 13 January 2008

Saudi Aramco DeskTop Standards
Table of Contents 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Introduction.................................................................... 2 Definitions...................................................................... 3 Overview....................................................................... 3 Understanding the Basics............................................. 5 Probability of Explosion................................................. 6 Hazard Classification.................................................... 8 Electrical Equipment..................................................... 9 Comparison Between Zone and Division Systems..... 13 Role of the Standards.................................................. 15

Appendix A - EEx Protection Concepts............................ 16 Appendix B - IP Enclosure Classification System............ 17 Appendix C - FAQs.......................................................... 18

Previous Issue: New Next Planned Update: TBD Page 1 of 18 Primary contact: Carlson, Ronald Wayne on 966-3-8746128
Copyright©Saudi Aramco 2007. All rights reserved.

Because this is not a mandatory document. in the event of a conflict between this BP and MSAERs.Document Responsibility: Electrical Substations Equipment Issue Date: 13 January 2008 Next Planned Update: TBD SABP-P-013 Electrical Design in Hazardous (Classified) Areas 1 Introduction 1. Class I installations).2 Disclaimer This Best Practice (BP) is not mandatory.1 Purpose The purpose of this document is to provide an understanding of the basis of the rules and regulations governing the selection and installation of electrical equipment in electrically hazardous areas. 1. This document is not intended as a tutorial however it does contain information that will provide a basic understanding of what areas are hazardous areas. It is a supplement to existing Mandatory Saudi Aramco Engineering Requirement (MSAERs) and provides information that will maximize the opportunity for a successful electrical installation. The focus is typical electrical installations in typical facilities within Saudi Aramco. the MSAER requirements take precedence.3 References The following is a summary of the documents mentioned in this BP: Saudi Aramco References Saudi Aramco Material Systems Specification 16-SAMSS-512 Switchracks & Factory Built assemblies-Low Voltage Saudi Aramco Engineering Standards SAES-B-068 SAES-P-104 SAES-P-113 Electrical Classified Areas Wiring Methods and Materials Motors and Generators Page 2 of 18 . This means electrical (not instrumentation) applications in plants processing/handling hydrocarbons (i. why they are hazardous and design considerations for the selection and installation of electrical equipment.e.. 1. This understanding will allow designers to consider a wider variety of options while maintaining safety and operational flexibility.

Zone 0. Publication Date: 11-13 Sept. 3 Overview 3. unless special design considerations are followed with the electrical installation.1. 2000. Record of Conference Papers. Page 3 of 18 .2 National Electrical Code (NEC) NFPA 70 IEEE Papers “Conversion from Division to Zone electrical classification-why and how the worlds largest oil company made the change” This paper appears in: Petroleum and Chemical Industry Conference. Industry Applications Society 47th Annual. 2000. Publication Date: 13-15 Sept. BP: Best Practice MSAER: Mandatory Saudi Aramco Engineering Requirements. Engineering Standards (SAESs) and Standard Drawings (SASDs). These documents are corporate mandatory documents.Document Responsibility: Electrical Substations Equipment Issue Date: 13 January 2008 Next Planned Update: TBD SABP-P-013 Electrical Design in Hazardous (Classified) Areas Industry Codes and Standards API RP 505 Recommended Practice for Classification of Locations for Electrical Installations at Petrochemical Facilities Class 1. Industry Applications Society 46th Annual. ISBN: 0-7803-6334-5 “Installation techniques and practices of IEC hazardous area equipment: The nuts and bolts of a good installation” This paper appears in: Petroleum and Chemical Industry Conference. 1999. Examples of MSAERs are Saudi Aramco Materials System Specifications (SAMSSs).1 What is a Hazardous Area? Hazardous areas (or locations) are areas where there is a reasonable risk that a fire or explosion may occur because of the interaction of electrical equipment and flammable gases or vapours. ISBN: 0-7803-5601-2 2 Definitions Text identified in bold font throughout this document is defined below. 1999.

is dependant upon a wide variety of factors. there is no point in classifying the area. “because of the interaction of electrical equipment” – If there is a high probability of an explosive gaseous mixture being present. Whether or not electrical equipment is an ignition source at any point in time or whether an explosive mixture is present.2 When is the Hazardous Area Drawing Developed? It needs to be one of the first drawings developed during the detailed design since it establishes the basis for the selection and installation of the electrical equipment. there is no benefit in eliminating electrical ignition sources if there are non-electrical ignition sources that would be more likely to cause the explosion.3 What Rules define the Hazardous Area? Mandatory standard SAES-B-068 provide the rules and guidelines for classifying a process area. Multiplied together.). The determination of the area classification requires a detailed knowledge of the process conditions and the characteristics of the material handled. In other words.Document Responsibility: Electrical Substations Equipment Issue Date: 13 January 2008 Next Planned Update: TBD SABP-P-013 Electrical Design in Hazardous (Classified) Areas The key phases to explain are: “reasonable risk” – There needs to be a reasonable probability that there will be an explosion caused by electrical equipment. electrical systems may need special design considerations. 3.3 Why is the Hazardous Area Drawing Important? It identifies the areas in the process plant that will contain a flammable atmosphere that could be ignited by electrical equipment. the product is the probability of an explosion occurring. The probabilistic basis of electrical design in classified area is explained in Section 5. This standard is based upon industry standard API RP 505. 3. if the probability is one occurrence in 200 years.g. To cite an extreme example. 3. this isn’t a risk worth spending money to prevent. In this area.2 Who Determines the Hazardous Area? Process Engineers and Loss Prevention experts determine the level and type of classified area. Page 4 of 18 . 3. flames.. hot pipes. but the probable ignition sources would come from non-electrical sources (e. Electrical engineers are in an advisory role to provide information on the consequences to the electrical design when a particular classification is established. etc.

Generally. the 21% oxygen in the air is sufficient for most fuels. probabilities in the order of 1 event in 100).2 Overall Objective The design of the electrical equipment. This fuel may be in the form of gas. and installation techniques in hazardous areas are based upon ensuring that the probability of an uncontrolled explosion of the atmosphere around the electrical equipment is so low so that in practice it is not a concern (e. all three sides of the below triangle must be present.g. Oxygen: There must be sufficient oxygen present. 4. arcs. It can be either sparks. or surface temperature. Ignition Source: An ignition source from electrical equipment. Fuel: There must be sufficient fuel present in the air to form an ignitable mixture. The percentage required is different for each type of fuel. Page 5 of 18 . vapor or mist..Document Responsibility: Electrical Substations Equipment Issue Date: 13 January 2008 Next Planned Update: TBD SABP-P-013 Electrical Design in Hazardous (Classified) Areas 4 Understanding the Basics 4. Proportions and combinations of each: Each type of fuel has unique requirements as to the percentage of oxygen required and the temperature of the ignition source.1 The Hazard Triangle For an explosion to take place.

(probability MEDIUM) shouldn’t exist during normal plant operation. having two legs of the fire triangle).Document Responsibility: Electrical Substations Equipment Issue Date: 13 January 2008 Next Planned Update: TBD SABP-P-013 Electrical Design in Hazardous (Classified) Areas This objective is achieved by combinations of equipment and installation techniques that ensure the fire triangle will only exist in very remote circumstances. The combination of fuel and oxygen are treated as one and called “explosive atmosphere”. Probability of ignition source: Defined by the function of the electrical equipment Probability of Explosive Atmosphere “Zones” establish the probability level of the an explosive mixture being present (i. “Continuously”: always present (probability HIGH) “Normally”: expected as part of the normal operation of the facility but not expected to be a routine occurrence. (probability LOW) “Abnormal”: Page 6 of 18 . Zone 1: Explosive mixture present normally.. These techniques are explained in later sections of this BP. Therefore. Zone 2: Explosive mixture present abnormally.e. the overall probability of an explosion is: Probability of explosion = (Probability of explosive atmosphere) x (Probability of ignition source) Probability of explosive atmosphere: Defined by the “Zone” classification. 5 Probability of Explosion The probability of having an explosion is the product of the individual probabilities of the three sides of the hazard triangle. There are three classifications: Zone 0: Explosive mixture present continuously.

There is no consideration as to whether the breaker is expected to operate once per day or once per decade. Electrical equipment can be assigned one of two probability levels of being an ignition source depending upon the function of the equipment.e. The “frequency” of the operating condition is not a factor in establishing the probability that the equipment is an ignition source. HIGH probability: if it is an ignition source during NORMAL operation. For example. a circuit breaker is a NORMAL ignition source because. LOW probability: if it is an ignition source during ABNORMAL operation. etc. For example. when a motor is operating within its design parameters.Document Responsibility: Electrical Substations Equipment Issue Date: 13 January 2008 Next Planned Update: TBD SABP-P-013 Electrical Design in Hazardous (Classified) Areas Probability of Ignition Source The “Zone” establishes the probability of two sides of the fire triangle being present. “ABNORMAL” operation is when the equipment is experiencing an abnormal condition. the equipment installation rules in the NEC will automatically be understood. An overall “probability of explosion" of LOW or higher is considered an unacceptable risk and the electrical system design must be modified with special equipment and/or installation techniques to bring it below the LOW probability. Page 7 of 18 . when there is an electrical fault in the motor. The probability of the complete triangle being present depends upon the probably of the electrical equipment being an ignition source. when a circuit breaker is operating to close or open the power circuit. This is generally the basis for the rules in documents such as the National Electrical Code (NEC). An overall “LOW” probability of the fire triangle occurring is considered an acceptable risk in the industry.. The NEC does not speak in these “probabilistic” terms but if the reader understands this concept. the arc across the contacts are an obvious ignition source. For example. clears a fault). only whether the equipment is performing the function for which it was designed. “NORMAL" operation is when the equipment is performing the function for which it was designed. when it performs its function (i.

. Probability of explosion = LOW x HIGH = MEDIUM Conclusion: A standard contactor can not be used in a Zone 2 environment.Document Responsibility: Electrical Substations Equipment Issue Date: 13 January 2008 Next Planned Update: TBD SABP-P-013 Electrical Design in Hazardous (Classified) Areas Consider a couple of examples: Small motor installation in Zone 2: Zone 2 has a LOW probability of having an explosive atmosphere. This model can be applied to all electrical based equipment to determine whether special equipment/designs are necessary in a hazardous area. the overall probability would be >LOW (i. These characteristics affect the type of electrical equipment design. Conclusion: A standard motor in a Zone 2 environment is acceptable. 6 Hazard Classification The “Zone” defines the probability of the explosive atmosphere being present. LOW+) which means the motor could not be installed.e. The motor1 has a LOW probability of being an ignition source.. 1 squirrel cage induction motor per Saudi Aramco standards Contactor in Zone 2: The contactor is a NORMAL ignition source (HIGH probability) because.e.e. The type of gas is also important since the characteristics of the explosions are different for different gases (i. there is an arc (ignition source) across the contacts. Page 8 of 18 . when it performs its function. If the classification had been Zone 1. Probability of explosion = LOW x LOW = <LOW (i. LOW-).. pressures and temperatures).

The hazardous area drawing will have areas designated by the “Zone” and the “Gas Grouping”. The “II” designation is a “gas” reference.. etc. standard equipment can be suitable in hazardous areas providing it is obvious whether the equipment is a NORMAL or ABNORMAL ignition source. lamps. ignition temperatures. See below table. For IEC groupings. IIA”. Page 9 of 18 . For example. similar oxygen requirements. In 2000. Arcs: Equipment which have mechanical contacts that make/break current. For example “Zone 2.Document Responsibility: Electrical Substations Equipment Issue Date: 13 January 2008 Next Planned Update: TBD SABP-P-013 Electrical Design in Hazardous (Classified) Areas Gas Grouping The Gas Grouping identifies groups of gases with similar explosive characteristics (i. they are Groups IIA. IIB & IIC with IIC being the most critical group.e. pushbuttons. Sometimes it is not obvious. circuit breakers. Ignition sources in electrical equipment comes from two sources: arcs and surface temperature. relays. For example. Saudi Aramco switched to the IEC based hazardous area system (based upon Zones instead of Divisions). SAES-B-068 has the mandatory requirements for establishing the hazardous locations. As explained above. motor enclosures. explosive pressures. power resistors. contactors. Surface temperature: Equipment that have components or general areas that get hotter than ambient.). See Section 8 for discussion on the comparison 7 Electrical Equipment “Standard” electrical equipment is equipment that is designed for a non-explosive atmosphere. heating elements.

Whether there is a surface in the equipment at a temperature that will be an ignition source. The ignition source is allowed to ignite the explosive atmosphere within a specially designed flameproof/explosionproof enclosure.Containment Isolation: Ensuring that the ignition source is isolated from the atmosphere. Containment: Allowing the explosion to occur in a controlled manner inside the equipment. With this. equipment with arcing components were obvious NORMAL ignition sources since the energy in an arc is always enough to ignite an explosive mixture of any gas. Note the exception to this are arcs in low energy/energy limited systems which is outside the scope of this BP. To accomplish this. See below table. -The equipment is installed in an enclosure that is continuously purged with a fresh air supply. is not always obvious. the design techniques are of the following types: . there is a variety of equipment available.1 Selection Once it has been determined that non-standard equipment is required. Some examples: -The electrical arcing contact is sealed in an enclosure so that the exterior atmosphere will not be exposed to the arc. Page 10 of 18 . The temperature of the gas exiting the enclosure is too low to ignite the surrounding atmosphere. The techniques employed in the design of the equipment are intended to ‘break” the hazard triangle so no explosion occurs. the nameplate of the equipment has a “T” designation specifying the maximum temperature of any surface that will be exposed to the atmosphere.Document Responsibility: Electrical Substations Equipment Issue Date: 13 January 2008 Next Planned Update: TBD SABP-P-013 Electrical Design in Hazardous (Classified) Areas In the previous section. and the “Gas Group” information from the classification drawing. 7. it can be determined whether the equipment is a NORMAL ignition source.Isolation . The enclosure has engineered flamepaths so that the explosive gas is cooled when it is relieved to the outside atmosphere. If there is a temperature issue with the equipment.

2 Labeling Equipment that is of a special design for installation in a classified area is labeled to provide the information necessary for proper application. Page 11 of 18 . Refer to Appendix A for the IEC protective techniques. the various protective techniques employed)..e.Document Responsibility: Electrical Substations Equipment Issue Date: 13 January 2008 Next Planned Update: TBD SABP-P-013 Electrical Design in Hazardous (Classified) Areas 7. It is left up to the installer to determine whether the protective techniques employed are suitable for the area classification. IEC Labeling indicates how the equipment is designed (i. The basis of the labeling is different between North American and IEC based equipment. North American: Labeling indicates the hazardous classification into which the equipment can be installed.

3 Installation The equipment must be interconnected to make a functional system. Page 12 of 18 . There is minimal space in the cable interior and gas transmission will not occur. This is done either by conduits or cabling. the conduit would transmit the explosive atmosphere from the classified area into the equipment in the nonclassified area.Ensuring the interconnecting equipment does not transmit the explosive atmosphere to a device that is not designed for the classification . This equipment has been designed so the explosion inside the equipment is confined to a separate chamber from where the cable/conduit terminates. Cables are not a concern. the explosion is allowed to occur in a controlled manner in a confined space.Ensuring the interconnecting equipment does not transmit the explosive atmosphere to a device that is not designed for the classification. Since the equipment in the non-classified area is standard equipment. To eliminate this concern. There are two main considerations when interconnecting equipment in classified areas: . If equipment in a non-classified area is connected to equipment in a classified area.Ensuring that the function of the equipment is maintained With flameproof/explosionproof equipment.Ensuring that the function of the equipment is maintained . To accomplish this “seals” are used in the cable of conduit close to the connection to the equipment. . These provide a physical barrier to the explosive forces ensuring that the explosion is confined inside the device. it is not designed to control this explosion.Document Responsibility: Electrical Substations Equipment Issue Date: 13 January 2008 Next Planned Update: TBD SABP-P-013 Electrical Design in Hazardous (Classified) Areas 7. When we connect a cable or conduit to this equipment it must be ensured that the explosion is confined to the space to which it was intended and not be transmitted into the conduit or cable system. the interior of the conduit is sealed when it passes from the classified area to the unclassified area. Some equipment is labeled as “factory sealed” which means the conduit or cable connection to the equipment does not require an external seal. The interior of conduit can act like a pipeline to transmit the explosive atmosphere from one area to another.

Refer to IEEE paper Conversion from Division to Zone electrical classification-why and how the worlds largest oil company made the change” for a detailed discussion on why and how Saudi Aramco converted. Previous to this the plants were classified to the “Division” system.Document Responsibility: Electrical Substations Equipment Issue Date: 13 January 2008 Next Planned Update: TBD SABP-P-013 Electrical Design in Hazardous (Classified) Areas Refer to IEEE paper “Installation techniques and practices of IEC hazardous area equipment: The nuts and bolts of a good installation” for a detailed discussion on equipment selection and installation. Page 13 of 18 . Saudi Aramco changed the standards to require new facilities be classified to the IEC “Zone” system.1 Zone vs. 8 Comparison between Zone and Division Systems In 2000. Division The below table compares the two. 8.

3 Temperature Classification Page 14 of 18 .2 Gas Grouping 8.Document Responsibility: Electrical Substations Equipment Issue Date: 13 January 2008 Next Planned Update: TBD SABP-P-013 Electrical Design in Hazardous (Classified) Areas 8.

are the following: SAES-B-068 “Electrical Area Classification” Rules and guidelines on how to classify a process facility SAES-P-104 “Wiring Methods & Materials” Mandatory requirements on equipment selection and installation techniques by field contractor SAES-P-116 “Switchgear & Control Equipment” Directs designer/contractor on which standards to use for electrical equipment selection. Page 15 of 18 . 16-SAMSS-512 “Switchracks & factory Built Assemblies-Low Voltage” Requirements for selection and installation of equipment installed in classified areas 13 January 2008 Revision Summary New Saudi Aramco Best Practice.Document Responsibility: Electrical Substations Equipment Issue Date: 13 January 2008 Next Planned Update: TBD SABP-P-013 Electrical Design in Hazardous (Classified) Areas 9 Role of the Standards The Saudi Aramco standards that govern Hazardous Area Classification and equipment selection/installation.

Document Responsibility: Electrical Substations Equipment Issue Date: 13 January 2008 Next Planned Update: TBD SABP-P-013 Electrical Design in Hazardous (Classified) Areas Appendix A EEx Protection Concepts Page 16 of 18 .

Document Responsibility: Electrical Substations Equipment Issue Date: 13 January 2008 Next Planned Update: TBD SABP-P-013 Electrical Design in Hazardous (Classified) Areas Appendix B IP Enclosure Classification System Page 17 of 18 .

but there is not enough detail to actually develop the area classification. Loss Prevention standard SAES-B-068 are the rules and instructions for establishing the area classification.Document Responsibility: Electrical Substations Equipment Issue Date: 13 January 2008 Next Planned Update: TBD SABP-P-013 Electrical Design in Hazardous (Classified) Areas Appendix C FAQs Is the Electrical Area Classification drawing an Electrical Drawing? Yes and No.. the gas is not an ignition risk. The default explosionproof rating is only good for indoor installation. When did Saudi Aramco Change from Division to Zone classification? The year 2000. The standard relies heavily on API RP 505. assuming the area classification already exists. It is unique in that it is only used by the electrical (and instrumentation) discipline. What does “Factory Sealed” mean? This is a North American term.e. The NEC describes. Is explosionproof equipment automatically weatherproof? No. Depending on the specific equipment. The techniques the manufacturer had used to accomplish this is not always obvious. Saudi Aramco used the Division concept. These gaps mean water and dust can get inside. Is there a difference between a “Hazardous” and “Classified” location? No. It is developed by the process/loss prevention discipline. installation outdoors requires some optional features. in concept. The terms are used synonymously. A device with this designation does not need a conduit or cable seal to field installed. Do we use the NEC to classify an area? No. in general terms what the different classifications mean. For explosionproof equipment to function they must have engineered “gaps” between the inside and the outside to relieve the explosive pressure. is usually given an electrical drawing number but it is not developed by electrical people. Both techniques allow an explosion to happen within a controlled space (i. What is the difference between Flameproof and Explosionproof? Nothing. box enclosure) and relieve the hot gases in such a manner so when they reach the outside atmosphere. Previous to this. Within Saudi Aramco. Page 18 of 18 . The NEC establishes the rules for installing the electrical equipment.