Flare Tip Joint Industry Project (JIP) – Driving Innovation in

Flare Tip Design
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Berwanger, Inc. Page 1 of 6

Introduction

Replacing flare tips costs operating companies millions of dollars each year in lost production, capital
expenditure, and maintenance costs. Nevertheless, no repository of objective flare tip reliability data exists
upon which operating companies can base the selection of flare tips for their facilities. As a result,
operators are forced to base their flare tip buying decisions on price and limited anecdotal reliability
information.

Furthermore, most operating companies have no system in place to manage the types and numbers of flare
tips they have across their operations. Thus, as a practical matter, operating companies are not able to
implement rational “sparing” programs that would make replacement tips available when unanticipated
failures occur.

This article presents a joint industry project (JIP) aimed at providing operating companies with an objective
repository of flare tip reliability data. This repository will allow participants to select tips based on realistic
estimates of complete life-cycle cost, not simply initial price and anecdotal reliability information. This
repository will also provide flare tip manufacturers with a business justification to further invest in flare tip
technology improvements.

In addition, this JIP provides participating operating companies with a mechanism to identify the numbers
and types of flare tips they have across their operations, thereby providing a basis for development and
implementation of a corporate-wide “sparing” program.

This joint industry project is being funded by some of the world’s largest operating companies.

Case Studies

To put the current situation into perspective, two case studies are provided below:

Offshore Production Platform

An offshore facility produced 80,000 BPD. A conventional flare tip was purchased and installed
for a total cost of $260,000. The tip developed severe cracking after three and one half years of
operation. The failure resulted in production being shut-in for three days. The total cost of lost
production at $25 per barrel was $6 million.

Facility A
Initial Cost
Initial Purchase Cost $65,000
Total Installed Cost $260,000
Replacement Cost
Time to Failure 3 1/2 years
Replacement Purchase Cost $80,000
Total Installed Cost $160,000
Lost Production Cost
Number of Down Days 3
Price Per Barrel $25
Facility Production 80,000 BPD
Total Cost of Lost Production $6.0 million
Flare Tip Joint Industry Project (JIP) – Driving Innovation in
Flare Tip Design
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Berwanger, Inc. Page 2 of 6


Refinery

A refinery processed 200,000 BPD. A “smokeless” flare tip was purchased and installed for
$175,000. The tip began to smoke severely after about four years of operation, ultimately forcing a
turnaround to be accelerated by one year. The refining margin was $5 per barrel and the cost of
capital was 10%. The duration of the turnaround was 20 days. Acceleration of the turnaround
resulted in a NPV equivalent loss of $2,000,000.

Facility B
Initial Cost
Initial Purchase Cost $45,000
Total Installed Cost $175,000
Replacement Cost
Time to Failure 4.2 years
Replacement Purchase Cost $55,000
Total Installed Cost $110,000
Lost Production Cost
Duration of Turnaround 20
Refining Margin $5
Processing Capacity 200,000 BPD
Cost of Capital (Annual) 10%
Total cost of lost production $2.0 million


Right Tool for the Job

Flare tip JIP participants collect and share actual results from their operations on an anonymous basis.
Participants have access to industry-wide data when selecting a flare tip based on realistic estimates of life-
cycle cost and reliability, not simply on flare tip manufacturers recommendations. The data is collected on
existing flare tips worldwide and compiled to provide an unbiased information source of tip reliability
trends.

The flare tip JIP analyzes actual cost of flare tip unreliability based on service life, shut down times,
frequency of flare failures, production loss per flare failure, and available replacement and inspection
methods. This information enables operating companies to make sound flare tip buying decisions, thereby
reducing the frequency of flare outages (downtime) and costly production losses.

In addition, participants with a large number of installations can use the information collected to develop a
systematic flare tip sparing philosophy based on the numbers, types, sizes, and specifications of tips
currently in service.

Information Management

The flare tip JIP utilizes an on-line information management system to enable participants worldwide to
report and analyze flare tip reliability trends. The key features of this information management system are
described below:

On-line Survey

An on-line survey allows participants form different operating companies to anonymously report
technical (basic design data), process (flare gas conditions and flow rates), and performance
(number and duration of outages) data regarding their flare tips, and, in return, receive access to
Flare Tip Joint Industry Project (JIP) – Driving Innovation in
Flare Tip Design
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similar information shared by other participants. The survey form is hosted at a secure internet
website that is accessible only to authorized users. Alternately, if internet access is limited, the
survey can be completed as a stand-alone document supplied by the JIP Project Manager to the
survey participant via e-mail.

In addition to data on the flare tip itself, data for other areas of the flare system such as knockout
drums, ignition systems, flare structure, maintenance and replacement techniques, pilot
system/configuration, seals or any other area can be reported. This additional data can be used
when evaluating different modes of failure and other problems in the flaring system.

The topics covered by the survey can be classified into the following areas:

Section I – Company Information
This section collects information at a company level.

Section II – Facility Information
This section collects information at a facility level including information on weather conditions,
local regulations, and throughput.

Section III – Current Flare Tip Information
This section collects data on the currently installed flare tip. Information collected includes
manufacturer data, design data, flaring conditions, and other pertinent data.

Section IV – Original Flare Tip Information
This section collects data on the originally installed flare tip. Information collected includes
manufacturer data, design capacity, and other pertinent data.

Section V – Spare Tip Information
This section collects data on the spare flare tip, if applicable. Information collected includes
manufacturer data, design capacity, and other pertinent data.

Section VI – Tip Maintenance and Replacement
This section collects data on the frequency of tip maintenance and replacement as well as available
tip maintenance and replacement techniques. Information collected includes service life of tips,
modes of failure, duration of down time, and replacement data.

Section VII – Flare Outages
This section collects information on duration of facility shut downs and lost production due to
flare outages.

Section VIII – Pilot and Ignition Systems
This section collects data on current and original pilot and ignition systems as well as service life
and reliability.

Section IX – Seal and Knockout Drum Information
This section collects data on seals and knockout drums.

Section X – General
This section is for general comments on overall reliability of the flare system.





Flare Tip Joint Industry Project (JIP) – Driving Innovation in
Flare Tip Design
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Berwanger, Inc. Page 4 of 6

Below is an excerpt from the on-line survey depicting typical information that is collected:





The on-line survey incorporates a user-friendly design. Most questions offer a pull-down menu of the most
common responses as well as an option to add any non-standard responses. This design ensures efficient,
accurate reporting of results.
Flare Tip Joint Industry Project (JIP) – Driving Innovation in
Flare Tip Design
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Berwanger, Inc. Page 5 of 6

Data Analysis and Reporting Module

Information reported by participants via the on-line survey is stored in a central database in order
to facilitate characterization and quantification of flare tip reliability trends. Data analysis is
accomplished primarily via a module that allows for flexible compilation, analysis, and reporting
of reliability trends by any specified variable. For example, a user may supply a key word such as
manufacturer, flare tip model, or service, and generate reliability trends such as service life, shut
down times, frequency of flare failures, production loss per flare failure, or available replacement
and inspection methods. The resulting trends enable users to select new and replacement flare tips
based on an objective reliability data.

Below is an excerpt from the data analysis and reporting module depicting basic flare tip design data
collected from participating companies:

Company Facility Service Pressure Range Tip Type Manuf.
Model
Number
Serial
Number
Year
Tip was
Placed
in
Service
Time Tip
was in
Service
Mode of Tip
Failure
Test 1 1 Acid Gas High Pressure Sonic - fixed XYZ-ABC 3403-4 92834560 2002 2 years Cracking
Test 2 2 Acid Gas High Pressure Sonic - fixed XYZ-ABC 3403-4 92834560 2002 3 years Igniter
Test 3 3 Acid Gas High Pressure Sonic - fixed XYZ-ABC 3403-4 92834560 2002 2.6 years Smoke
Test 4 4 Acid Gas High Pressure Sonic - fixed XYZ-ABC 3403-4 92834560 2002 3.2 years
Inefficient
combustion
Test 5 5 Acid Gas High Pressure Sonic - fixed XYZ-ABC 3403-4 92834560 2002 1.5 years Cracking
Test 1 6 Liquids Intermediate Pressure Sonic - variable slot XYZ-ABC 38438 645634-2 2003 1 year Cracking
Test 2 7 Liquids Intermediate Pressure Sonic - variable slot XYZ-ABC 38438 645634-2 2003 1 year Smoke
Test 3 8 Liquids Intermediate Pressure Sonic - variable slot XYZ-ABC 38438 645634-2 2003 1 year
Inefficient
combustion
Test 4 9 Liquids Intermediate Pressure Sonic - variable slot XYZ-ABC 35038 645634-2 2003 1 year Igniter
Test 5 10 Liquids Intermediate Pressure Sonic - variable slot XYZ-ABC 38458 645634-2 2003 1 year Cracking
Test 1 11 Specialty Low Pressure Pipe XYZ-ABC 95848 90454782 2002 3.7 years Cracking
Test 2 12 Specialty Low Pressure Pipe XYZ-ABC 95858 95834782 2002 2.1 years
Inefficient
combustion
Test 4 13 Specialty Low Pressure Pipe XYZ-ABC 93248 90458782 2002 1.9 years Igniter
Test 1 14 Sweet Gas Intermediate Pressure Sonic - fixed XYZ-ABC 82763 2827635 2000 4 years Smoke
Test 4 15 Sweet Gas Intermediate Pressure Sonic - fixed XYZ-ABC 82723 2827635 2000 2.4 years Cracking

Using the raw data depicted in the above table, various analyses are performed to reveal flare tip reliability
trends. For example, the following graphs show how data can be used to compare the mean time between
failures for a given flare tip model or service type against that of other models or service types.
Mean Time Between Failures by
Model for a Given Service
0
2
4
6
A B C D E F G H I J K
Model
Y
e
a
r
s

Flare Tip Joint Industry Project (JIP) – Driving Innovation in
Flare Tip Design
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Berwanger, Inc. Page 6 of 6

Mean Time Between Failures by
Service for a Given Model
0
1
2
3
4
A
c
i
d

G
a
s
S
w
e
e
t

G
a
s
S
p
e
c
i
a
l
t
y
L
i
q
u
i
d
s
V
e
n
t
Service Type
Y
e
a
r
s

The JIP participants from different operating companies will have unlimited access to data collected for
flare tips across their own facilities. This information can provide a basis for the development and
implementation of a corporate-wide flare tip sparing philosophy.

Below is an excerpt from the data analysis and reporting module depicting information for all operating and
spare flare tips reported by Company A:

Company Facility Tip Service Pressure Range Tip Type Manufacturer
Model
Number
Serial
Number
Construction
Materials
Flange
Connection
Flange
Size
(inches)
A 1 1
Acid
Gas
High Pressure Sonic - fixed XYZ-ABC 3403-4 92834560 Carbon Steel ANSI 150 RF 42
A 1 2
Acid
Gas
Low Pressure Sonic - fixed XYZ-ABC 3403-4 92834560 Carbon Steel ANSI 150 RF 42

A 2 1
Acid
Gas
Low Pressure Sonic - fixed XYZ-ABC 3403-4 92834560 Carbon Steel ANSI 150 RF 42
A 2 2
Acid
Gas
High Pressure Sonic - fixed XYZ-ABC 3403-4 92834560 Carbon Steel ANSI 150 RF 42

A 3 1
Acid
Gas
High Pressure Sonic - fixed XYZ-ABC 3403-4 92834560 Carbon Steel ANSI 150 RF 42
A 3 2 Liquids
Intermediate
Pressure
Sonic - variable
slot
XYZ-ABC 38438 645634-2 Austenitic SS ANSI 150 RF 36
A 3 3 Liquids High Pressure
Sonic - variable
slot
XYZ-ABC 38438 645634-2 Austenitic SS ANSI 150 RF 36

A 4 1 Liquids
Intermediate
Pressure
Sonic - variable
slot
XYZ-ABC 38438 645634-2 Austenitic SS ANSI 150 RF 36

A 5 1 Liquids
Intermediate
Pressure
Sonic - variable
slot
XYZ-ABC 35038 645634-2 Austenitic SS ANSI 150 RF 36
A 5 2 Liquids
Intermediate
Pressure
Sonic - variable
slot
XYZ-ABC 38458 645634-2 Austenitic SS ANSI 150 RF 36

Conclusion

Participation in the Flare Tip Joint Industry Project (Flare Tip JIP) provides participating operating
companies with a valuable tool to use when selecting flare tips, designing their installations, and stewarding
their operations. Participating companies will also be able to implement a company-wide sparing program.