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National Fire Protection Association Issues New Standard
to Prevent Fires and Explosions during Gas Pipe Purging
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 56 (PS) standard for fire
and explosion prevention during cleaning and purging of flammable
gas piping systems, 2012 edition, was released by the US National Fire
Protection Association on 27 September 2011. Drafted in response
to a fatal explosion during the construction of the US Kleen Energy
power plant in Middletown, Connecticut, in 2010, the new standard
prohibits the use of flammable gas as a cleaning agent for the interior
of pipelines.
It is globally significant that the Massachusetts-based NFPA has released
NFPA 56 (PS). The new standard for fire and explosion prevention during
cleaning and purging of flammable gas piping systems, 2012 edition,
will be implemented beyond US territories. This reflects the reach and
influence of the NFPA in improving safety in all sectors, including oil
and gas. A key element of the standard is that it prohibits the use of
flammable gas as a cleaning agent for the interior of pipes.
This is an example of the critical role NFPA plays in providing codes
and standards for use by government and other entities throughout the
world, commented NFPA President James M Shannon. Our ability
to bring together the right people at the right time and to facilitate a
consensus process in very short order resulted in a standard that will
save lives and prevent a tragedy like the one in Connecticut from
happening in the future.
The 2010 explosion at the still-under-construction Kleen Energy power
plant in Connecticut killed six workers and injured nearly 50 others. As
part of the plant commissioning process, highly pressurised natural
gas was used to clean debris from pipelines. As part of the process,
the gas was discharged, without controls, into the atmosphere.
A subsequent investigation by the US Chemical Safety Board (CSB)
concluded it was as a result of this gas discharge igniting that
the explosion was caused. The resultant investigation led to the CSB
issuing recommendations to parties that included the NFPA. Prompt
action saw the NFPA form a new technical committee, charging it with
the responsibility to develop a new standard that it is hoped will
prevent similar accidents.
In addition to the CSB urgent recommendation to not allow the
cleaning practice of gas blows, NFPA 56 will also address other gas
process activities. These include pipe cleaning, repair and replacement,
together with the removal procedures conducted at power plants and
in industrial, institutional and commercial applications.
Key requirements of NFPA 56 (PS) include:
prohibiting the use of flammable gas for the internal cleaning of
piping systems;
the standard applying to the cleaning of new or repaired piping
systems, placing piping systems into service and the removal of
piping systems from service;
requiring a written procedure process with a safety validation of
said procedure by competent persons; and
provision of an example of purge procedures based upon the
requirements of the standard.
More information relating to NFPA 56 (PS) can be found at
www.nfpa.org/56
Atlas Copco Rental Solutions to Meet National
Fire Protection Association 56 (PS)
NFPA 56 (PS) appendix A.4.11 lists two inert gases to be used for
purging operations: 100 % oil-free air and nitrogen. Atlas Copco
Rental oil-free compressors are certified class 0, 100 % oil-free,
under the latest edition of International Organization for
Standardization (ISO) 8573-1 (see Figure 1). Certification is issued by
the renowned independent Technischer berwachungsverein
(German Technical Monitoring Association or TV). Atlas Copco
Rental can also supply nitrogen generation equipment for use with
its compressors.
Daniel Egana started working with Atlas Copco
Rental in 2007. He held the positions of Marketing
Manager and Quality, Health, Safety and
Environmental Manager. Since 2011, he has been
the Marketing Manager for Atlas Copco Rental in
the US and Canada. Atlas Copco Rental is part
of the Specialty Rental division within the Atlas
Copco group. He holds an industrial and systems
engineering degree and certifications in marketing,
entrepreneurship and multi-project management.
Daniel has 12 years of experience, working in various
types of companies such as Procter & Gamble, CAMH
Star logistic firm and CLEANCO, his own business.
E: daniel.egana@us.atlascopco.com
a report by
Dan Dorran
1
and Dani el Egana
2
1. Regional Business Development Manager; 2. Marketing Manager, Atlas Copco Rental
National Fire Protection Association 56 (PS) Changing the Way We
Think and Operate Atlas Copco Rental Has the Solutions
Atlas Copco Rental has been at
the forefront of developing rental
packages purpose-designed
for inert-gas purging, with
a proven track record.
National Fire Protection Association 56 (PS) Changing the Way We Think and Operate
H Y D R O C A R B O N WO R L D V O L U ME 6 I S S U E 2
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Atlas Copco Rental has been at the forefront of developing rental
packages purpose-designed for inert-gas purging, with a proven
track record. Those organisations faced with meeting the new NFPA
56 (PS) standard for the first time can use Atlas Copco Rental as a
one-stop shop not just to meet the demands of the new standard
but also to access the equipment to carry out the operation; see the
separate case study.
Atlas Copco Rental has been supplying temporary air solutions for over
thirty-five years and has one of the largest compressor fleets in the
world. Units, in electric and diesel versions, range in size from 300 to
3,000 cfm (1421,416 l/s), and can deliver operating pressures of up
to 44.8 bar (650 psi). Boosters and accessories to include air dryers can
also be supplied (see Figure 2). Where there is a need for pressurised
nitrogen, Atlas Copco Rental can provide the necessary generation
equipment purpose-developed to work with its compressor models.
This, however, is just an outline of the Atlas Copco Rental offering.
Pressure demands that exceed 44.8 bar (650 psi) can be satisfied and
custom solutions, with the expertise to assist and develop the correct
equipment for the desired application, are all established Atlas Copco
Rental strengths.
Safety compliance is a critical process for all industrial operations
worldwide. Atlas Copco Rental demands exacting safety standards
(see Figure 3). It was the first rental company in the US and Canada
to be triple-certified to ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and Occupational
Health and Safety Assessment Series (OHSAS) 18001 for quality,
environmental and occupational health and safety management by
Lloyds Register Quality Assurance (LRQA). This triple certification
demonstrates the companys commitment to quality of service, care
for the environmental impact of operations and the health and
safety of employees and customers.
Our core strength is our ability to offer best in class equipment
matched to the expertise of our personnel, says Dan Dorran, Atlas
Copco Rental Regional Business Development Manager. Our field
service technicians, sales and fleet staff are all trained to understand
the demands of NFPA 56 (PS) inert gas requirements. Customers
with questions can come to us for help with compliance and
questions on how the new standards will impact upon a wide range
of applications."
Atlas Copco Rental Proven Expertise to Meet National
Fire Protection Association 56 (PS)
Dundee, Scotland, late May 2011: Atlas Copco Rental commences a
test run of a spread of 17 compressors, five nitrogen membrane units,
Figure 1: International Organization for Standardization 8573-1 Class 0
Certified, No Traces of Oil in the Output Airstream
Quality of output air is of key importance, Atlas Copco oil-free compressors all carry certification to
International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 8573-1. This is a guarantee of 100 % oil-free air,
a condition of compressed-air use in pipeline cleaning applications under National Fire Protection
Association 56 (PS) Standards.
Figure 2: Pipeline Job in Elko, Nevada, US
Atlas Copco Rental equipment spreads can be supplied in ready-to-work packages, purpose-developed to
meet the exacting demands of both the on- and offshore segments of the oil and gas sectors. With an
established track record, the company has been at the forefront of the development of both 100 %
oil-free compressed-air and inert-gas systems for pipeline cleaning and can help companies switching
from existing gas-based systems to meet National Fire Protection Association 56 (PS).
Figure 3: Atlas Copco Rental Complies with Stringent Safety and
Environmental Standards
Certified to work in environments including chemical plants and refineries, Atlas Copco Rental-supplied
compressors and ancillary equipment can be used in a diverse range of applications. Company personnel
are highly experienced and understand the specific needs of industrial and specialist sectors.
Among the many interesting
aspects of this particular project
is that the pipeline itself has
no access points along
its subsea run.
National Fire Protection Association 56 (PS) Changing the Way We Think and Operate
H Y D R O C A R B O N WO R L D V O L U ME 6 I S S U E 2
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four compressor boosters and two 500 kVA gensets. The task is in
preparation for a project to clean an 80 km (50 mile)-long 26 inch
(66 cm) subsea gas pipeline.
When it commenced production of gas and oil in the latter half of
2011, the Norwegian BP Skarv project became one of BP and its
partners most northerly offshore developments. Comprising a subsea
system of 16 wells on five templates, the new development will feed
gas to an 80-kilometre (50 mile) sub-sea spur line. This will link into
Norways existing Aasgard pipeline, with the gas making its way
to consumers in Germany.
Before it was commissioned, the pipeline underwent stringent
pressure tests and cleaning, with the work carried out by offshore
test specialists IKM Norway.
A key part of the process was to drive a train of six pigs pipeline
inspection gauges through the pipe. It was here that Atlas Copco
Rental was called in. Its job was to provide the motive power to drive
the pig train through the pipeline, using compressed nitrogen.
Inert nitrogen was chosen for this project over cheaper-to-produce
compressed air, as it is safer and is proven to assist in the cleaning
and pipeline inspection process. To add a twist to the rental
projects demands, IKM Norway required 95 %-pure compressed
nitrogen to be produced in two separate volumes and at different
pressures: 10,000 scfm (4,719 l/s) at 55 bar (g) (797.7 psi) and
8,500 scfm (4,011 l/s) at 130 bar (g) (1,885.5 psi). Precise pressure
control is vital, any fluctuations being liable to impact upon the
speed and efficacy of the pig train.
From the outset, a key priority was safety. Dry-land testing enabled
Atlas Copco Rental to check and recheck the complete equipment
package. To ensure everything would run to plan, Atlas Copco
engaged the services of its high-pressure nitrogen specialist to oversee
the project.
Two personnel from BP and three from IKM also supervised the dry
run of all the equipment, overseeing a key pre-commissioning test
to ensure all the correct flow rates and pressures could be achieved
and maintained.
Among the many interesting aspects of this particular project is that
the pipeline itself has no access points along its subsea run. In more
conventional pipe cleaning operations, the pig train can be driven
through shorter sections of pipe, the equipment spread moving to
access points along the pipe in stages. On this project, the entire pipe
run was cleaned in one go.
Once the pipeline has been cleaned and inspected, floating
production, storage and offloading vessel (FPSO) BP Skarv will
manage the gas flow from the wells and direct it through the
pipeline to the shore. Around 20 % of the yield from the wells will
be oil. This will be collected from the floating hub of the system and
temporarily stored on FPSO BP Skarv. Every 10 days or so, 875,000-
barrel capacity shuttle tankers will collect the oil. n