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PROCESS

DRAINS AND FLARES



FLARES





TRAINING MANUAL
COURSE EXP-PR-PR125
Revision 0.1

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PROCESS

DRAINS AND FLARES

FLARES

CONTENTS

1. OBJ ECTIVES ..................................................................................................................4
2. THE FUNCTIONS OF FLARES.......................................................................................5
3. HOW FLARES WORK.....................................................................................................7
4. THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF FLARE SYSTEMS ...........................................................8
4.1. Safety valves, rupture disks and thermal valves .......................................................9
4.1.1. Safety valves.....................................................................................................9
4.1.1.1. Conventional type ........................................................................................9
4.1.1.2. Balanced type............................................................................................10
4.1.1.3. Piloted type................................................................................................11
4.1.2. Rupture disks ..................................................................................................12
4.1.3. Thermal valves................................................................................................12
4.2. Flare manifolds........................................................................................................13
4.3. Decompression valves (Blow Down Valves) ...........................................................14
4.4. Pressure Control Valves..........................................................................................14
4.5. Flare drum...............................................................................................................15
4.6. Sealing systems......................................................................................................16
5. Different types of flare stacks.........................................................................................18
5.1. Conventional flare stacks ........................................................................................18
5.2. Sonic flares .............................................................................................................19
5.3. Low flare with combustion chamber........................................................................23
5.4. Cold flares or vents .................................................................................................23
5.5. ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES OF THE DIFFERENT FLARES..............24
5.5.1. Sonic flares......................................................................................................24
5.5.2. Low flare with combustion chamber ................................................................24
5.6. Cold Vents...............................................................................................................25
5.6.1. Advantages & disadvantages..........................................................................25
5.7. EXERCISES............................................................................................................26
6. FLARE REPRESENTATION AND DATA ......................................................................27
6.1. REPRESENTATION ON PROCESS FLOW DIAGRAM..........................................27
6.2. REPRESENTATION ON P&ID (PIPING & INSTRUMENTATION DIAGRAM)........29
6.3. EXERCISES............................................................................................................32
7. FLARES AND PROCESSES.........................................................................................33
7.1. LOCATION AND CRITICALITY ..............................................................................33
7.2. EXERCISES............................................................................................................33
8. OPERATING PARAMETERS........................................................................................34
9. OPERATION..................................................................................................................36
9.1. START-UP ..............................................................................................................36
9.1.1. Inertance .........................................................................................................36
9.1.2. Start-up of the pilot light(s) ..............................................................................36

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9.1.3. Start-up of main burners..................................................................................37
9.2. SHUT-DOWN..........................................................................................................38
9.3. EXERCISES............................................................................................................38
10. TROUBLESHOOTING.................................................................................................39
10.1. Valves ...................................................................................................................39
10.2. Flushing gas..........................................................................................................40
10.3. Pilot lights..............................................................................................................40
10.4. Flare drums...........................................................................................................41
10.5. EXPERIENCE FEEDBACK...................................................................................42
11. GLOSSARY .................................................................................................................43
12. LIST OF FIGURES ......................................................................................................44


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1. OBJECTIVES


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2. THE FUNCTIONS OF FLARES

The functions of a flare system are:

safely collecting gas waste from the process to keep the equipment within their
operating pressure limits in case of depressurisation or opening of the valves

separating the gas and the condensates in the scrubbers

sending the gas to the flare to be burned



Figure 1: Flare system

The flare function is first and foremost a safety function. The flare system protects
equipment against pressure build-up which could lead to explosions. Moreover, the flare
system collects the fatal gases to vent them to the atmosphere. !!!!

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A flare system is made up of:

A set of depressurisation components (safety valves, rupture disks, blow down
valves (BDV), automatic pressure control valves)

A main collection network and one or two secondary collectors (also called
manifolds)

A separator drum for the various phases (water, liquid and gaseous
hydrocarbons), located at the foot of the flare

A sealing device to prevent any air entry into the system (purge gas, hydraulic
guard)

A flare stack on top of which a flare tip is placed

In a lit flare, a pilot light gas network is installed to permanently supply the pilot
lights placed close to the flare tip

An ignition system for these flares





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3. HOW FLARES WORK

Each drum, column or capacity that operates under hydrocarbon pressure is linked to the
flare network by means of one or many valves and / or various pressure control valves
(PCV) and blow down valves (BDV).
During the installations normal operation the quantity of gas sent to the flare is minimal
and only represents the incondensable fraction of the processed hydrocarbons with a
fraction of the Fuel-Gas to ensure a regular flowrate (see below).
Some flush or purge gas is permanently injected to maintain the safety flowrate at the flare
by keeping the burner flames ignited and thereby preventing air from going back.
In case of malfunctioning of part of the installation, mainly due to an increase in pressure
in a vessel, the pressure relief valve opens to send more gas to the flare.
If the pressure increases too sharply and / or becomes uncontrollable, the equipments
safety valves open to protect the vessel.
In case of a more serious incident or the emergency shut-down of the installation, the
safety system activates the opening of the blow down valves (BDV).
The flare system is therefore a priority system on a hydrocarbon processing installation,
since it protects the equipment against pressure increases that could make them explode.
To permanently ensure the proper operation of the flare system, a certain number of safety
and control components are installed:
A flush gas network for the flare manifolds to avoid the entry of air inside the flare
stack

A pilot light gas network that maintains a flame at the flare tip, for flares that are
permanently lit

Two or several pilot lights according to the installations diameter

A remote flare ignition system

A nitrogen network that can be connected to the flare manifolds for inerting the
system before maintenance operations

Or in the case of Cold Vents, in stormy weather conditions, to quench a fire started
by lightening

More and more installations have surveillance cameras to monitor the presence
and the condition of the flame


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4. THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF FLARE SYSTEMS


The number of flares depends on:

The process diagram

The characteristics of the products used

It also depends on Safety criteria such as Radiation & Dispersion.


The main criteria are:

The various pressure levels that could lead to an excessive back-pressure in the
manifolds. Avoid the simultaneous collection of high pressure products in a system
that can receive low pressure products.

The nature of the products used. Avoid mixing wet products as well as dry
products outside of specifications with cold products to avoid the formation of ice
and / or hydrates that could block the flare system.

The corrosiveness of the various gasses. An independent flare system should be
envisaged when the H
2
S concentration is higher than 10%mol.

The maintenance operations and the operating philosophy may require always
having one flare in operation and thereby doubling the flare system.



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4.1. Safety valves, rupture disks and thermal valves

These mechanical organs perform a decompression without the need for human
intervention and without the systems requiring a USS (Ultimate Safety System).

4.1.1. Safety valves

4.1.1.1. Conventional type

With the conventional
safety valve, the
pressure calibration
depends on the back-
pressure.

The maximum
admissible back-
pressure is 10% of the
calculation pressure.




Figure 2: Conventional
valve




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4.1.1.2. Balanced type

The balanced type, for which the pressure calibration is independent of the back pressure.

The back-pressure should be limited to 50% of the calculation pressure.


Figure 3: Balanced valve



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4.1.1.3. Piloted type

The piloted type, for which the pressure calibration is independent of the back (or counter)
pressure. The opening pressure should be limited to 50% of the calculation pressure.


Figure 4: Piloted valve

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4.1.2. Rupture disks

These devices are used to either replace the valve or to protect the valve from corrosion
due to the nature of the fluids.


4.1.3. Thermal valves

These are conventional calibrated spring valves that open proportionally to the increase of
the static pressure in the equipment following a rise in temperature (moreover their true,
[and commonsense] name is TSV (for Temperature Safety Valve) in comparison with PSV
(Pressure Safety Valve).

These valves are used mainly with incompressible fluids.

All these protection components must be installed at high points.









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4.2. Flare manifolds

The collection network is made up of a set of lines linking the protection components
(valves) to the flare drum.

It is divided into sub-manifolds and a main manifold (also called a collector or header).

All these manifolds must have a sufficient diameter to reduce back-pressure when several
protection components are opened simultaneously.

In addition they must be installed at a slope of 2mm per meter towards the flare drum so
as to ensure the natural drainage of liquids carried over during burning off.





Figure 5: Network of flare manifolds



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4.3. Decompression valves (Blow Down Valves)

These are ON/OFF valves that link the process equipment to the flare manifolds.

They are activated remotely by the operator or automatically by the Emergency Shutdown
System (ESD).






Globe
gate valve
& FB
Orifice
calibrated
to flowrate


Figure 6: Blow Down System


4.4. Pressure Control Valves

These are process control valves activated by an electronic, pneumatic or hydraulic
system that permanently or intermittently allow a flow of excess fluid to the flare, mainly in
transitory situations such as start-up or programmed shut-down.

NB: PCV usually discharge to the B.D. circuit, but are not part of this system.

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4.5. Flare drum

A drum is installed between the flare manifold and the flare stack to separate the effluent
liquids carried along with the gas.

The reasons for such a separation are:

Preventing an accumulation of liquid at the bottom of the flare stack that could
obstruct the path of the gas
Minimising the risk of liquid combustion at the flare tip
Recovering the usable fractions carried along to the flare




Figure 7: Equipment around the Flare Drum


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4.6. Sealing systems

The aim of these systems is to prevent air from entering the flare network

We distinguish between 2 types of systems

Hydraulic seals

Gas seals

Figure 8: Hydraulic seal (1)

Figure 9: Hydraulic seal (2)

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Figure 10: Gas seal



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5. Different types of flare stacks

The flare stack is the last element of the flare system. It is used to burn the gas without
liquid.

Different types are used:

conventional stacks

sonic flare

low flare with combustion chamber

cold vents

5.1. Conventional flare stacks

The stack is always installed vertically and the gas velocity is limited to Mach 0.5 / 0.6 for
discontinuous flows (emergency shut-down) and Mach 0.3 for a continuous flow.

A flare stack must be able to function under all atmospheric conditions and must have a
reliable ignition system.

The stabilisation of the flame is ensured by a flame maintenance ring that is specially
designed for and installed into the flare stack. This equipment stabilises the flame front by
creating vortexes that prevent the flame from being blown out.

We distinguish between several types of conventional stacks:

forced draught for
strong flows
equipped with a fan

water or steam
injection to reduce
the radiations and the
smoke emission

Figure 11: Flare drum

These types of flares are not
recommended except when
there is a smoke problem that
has to be addressed.

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5.2. Sonic flares

The gas speed is at least Mach 1

The jets of fluid ejected into the atmosphere induce air that improves the air / gas mixture.

The improved combustion gives a whiter flame (actually more oxygen makes the flame
whiter, thereby increasing the temperature and in these conditions radiation cannot
decrease!!)

The back-pressure for the nominal flow can reach 4 to 10 bar (normally: 4 to 5 bar) when
properly calculated; owing to the back pressure, the upstream equipment can be smaller
due to the reduced gas volume.

The main manufacturers are:

AIR OIL

BIRWELCO

EET

J OHN ZINK

KALDAIR


Figure 12: EET sonic flare stack

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Figure 13: FCG sonic flare stack

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Figure 14: John Zink sonic flare stack



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Figure 15: BIRWELCO sonic flare stack



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5.3. Low flare with combustion chamber

This type of flare consists of a chimney in which a forced draught burner is installed.

These flares are installed:

On land when the environmental regulations do not allow for a visible flame or
when there is no space to install a different type of flare.

Off-shore on a FPSO when it is not possible to install a different type of flare.


5.4. Cold flares or vents

The cold flares are similar to the other types of flares, but the gas is released into the
atmosphere instead of being burnt.

The height of the cold flare is determined only by the calculation of the gas dispersion in
the atmosphere.

The cold flare is equipped either with a sonic tip or with a conventional tip.

The speed of the gas at the outlet is about Mach 0.8 to ensure adequate dispersion into
the atmosphere.



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5.5. ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES OF THE DIFFERENT
FLARES

5.5.1. Sonic flares

The advantages and disadvantages of a sonic flare as opposed to a classic flare are:

Advantages

Lower emissivity coefficient due to better combustion

Recommended installation for off-shore installations (less space required)

Disadvantages

More maintenance (replacement of the flare tip every 2 to 3 years depending on
the manufacturer)

Heavier flare tip

Higher cost

Required separation of the HP and LP flare networks due to the back-pressure

5.5.2. Low flare with combustion chamber

Advantages

Little radiation

No visible flame (environment)

Little noise

Disadvantages

Higher cost due to the presence of a burner and the necessity of having a chimney
lined with a resistant material on the inside

Heavy

Flow rate limited by the size of the chimney

No flame visible to the operator

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Fan runs continuously for safety reasons

Maintenance of the fan and the chimneys internal components.

5.6. Cold Vents

Built of stainless steel.
Usually heat insulated to avoid the accumulation of ice during depressurisation.
Wind nozzle designed to support high temperatures in case of accidental ignition by
lightening.
5.6.1. Advantages & disadvantages

Major economic advantage: does not require permanent flushing with Fuel Gas

Less costly in terms of return on investment when constructed because no pilot burners
and satellite burners needed.

Disadvantages:

Sends large quantities of gas into the atmosphere at rather low temperatures.
Presents an evident potential danger: the explosive mixing zone cannot be seen in the
sky.

Slow gas dispersion when there is no wind ; possibility of stagnation for condensate gases
with carbon chains longer than C2.

Absolutely requires informing aeronautical navigation and helicopter crews prior to
operation.

In the event of an ESD1, which gives no forewarning before it occurs, information can only
be retroactive. Such an accident, in which a helicopter ignited an oil slick just by flying by,
has occurred in the past.

The Cold Vent must be fitted with a nitrogen flushing system to extinguish any fire ignited
by lightening (N2 frame at base of flare).

Presence of H
2
S in circulating gas must be prohibited.


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5.7. EXERCISES



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6. FLARE REPRESENTATION AND DATA

6.1. REPRESENTATION ON PROCESS FLOW DIAGRAM

Process Flow Diagram (PFD): This document, compiled in the project phase, presents
the principal process lines and vessels in a simple format, as well as their principal
operating parameters.







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Figure 16:Example PFD of flares

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6.2. REPRESENTATION ON P&ID (PIPING & INSTRUMENTATION
DIAGRAM)

This document, compiled in the project phase, presents the principal process lines and
vessels in a simple format, as well as their main operating parameters.




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Figure 17:Example P&ID flares (1)

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Figure 18: Example P&ID flares (2)

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6.3. EXERCISES



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7. FLARES AND PROCESSES

7.1. LOCATION AND CRITICALITY

The flare system is the first process system that must be started up before the
commissioning of the installations.

The shut-down of the flare imposes a total production shut-down.

7.2. EXERCISES


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8. OPERATING PARAMETERS

The operating parameters that must be monitored in normal operation are:

Sufficient flow rate of the flushing gas

Gas and air flow rates sent to the pilot lights

Pressure of the flare drum

Level of the flare drum related to start-up and shut-down of collection pumps

Temperature of the liquid in the flare drum if the latter is equipped with a heating
pin

The proper operation of the collection pumps at the bottom of the flare drum, if
these are present. A weekly test is carried out in the emergency pump.
These pumps operate in ON/OFF mode between LSH and LSL:

The LSH starts the selected pump

The LSL stops the pump

The temperature of the pilot lights (this parameter is not always available on the
DCS).


The flare drum is equipped with a certain number of safety devices that are linked to the
installations general activation system.

Very high liquid level LSHH (careful, this triggers an ESD 1)

Very low liquid level LSLL (this inhibits the start-up of the

Very high temperature of the heater TSHH (shuts down heating, to be rearmed on
site)

Very low heater temperature TSLL


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Figure 19: The layout around a flare drum







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9. OPERATION

The flare system is the first process system that must be started up before the
commissioning of the installations.

9.1. START-UP

9.1.1. Inertance

In an installation that has been shut down, the flare network contains air.

Therefore, the system must be inerted before any start-up procedure can be undertaken.

This is done by flushing an inert gas (usually nitrogen, if available, otherwise LP steam can
be used if the utilities include a boiler) from the furthest points of the sub-manifolds to the
flare drum and the flare itself.

The flushing continues until the atmosphere in the system is free of oxygen when
measured with an oxygen meter (<0.2%) (2% suffice for Hydrogen).


9.1.2. Start-up of the pilot light(s)

Check the availability of the flushing gas network

Check the availability of the remote pilot light ignition system

Provide an emergency ignition device (Very gun)

Supply the circuit with pilot light gas (propane cylinders are usually available)

Supply the air circuit with a pilot light

Activate the piezoelectric lighter until the mixture in the pilot light line is ignited

Activate the emergency lighter if no flame is visible at the flare tip


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NB: Do not do what is seen regularly all over the world!

When the mixture lighting test is completed (and you see the flame through the viewer):

Do not close down the isolation valves upstream of the FG & Air control valves
(which would cut off the supply to the burning mixture.

Open them and then wait a certain time until the mixture reaches the top of the
flare!!!

Turn on the pilot light again

What may then happen might make you jump (not unlike what happens in an engine
when the spark plug lights but this time it is not the piston that would come down!!)


9.1.3. Start-up of main burners

Only open the flushing gas after having observed the presence of a flame at the top of the
flare, request confirmation from the control room crew, who will have observed the take
off of the flare tip TIs.


Then, adjust the flushing gas flow rate as soon as the installation is put on production.


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9.2. SHUT-DOWN

The shut-down of the flare imposes a total shut-down of production.

Immediately after the shut-down of the flushing gas injection, nitrogen injection must be
available to inert the flare network in the same manner as before the start-up procedure.

You must absolutely prevent air from reaching the hydraulic guard while the drum is at
more than 200C as, in the case, the three elements needed to start a fire are united:

the air that entered is now present

presence of gas which is still not entirely vented pas encore to the atmosphere

The temperature which may be high enough to cause an explosion

No intervention must be carried out on the flare network before it has been inerted.

9.3. EXERCISES

1. Analyse and explain what might happen if you incorrectly execute the pilot lighting
procedure.










2. Wait until the mixture reaches the top of the flare? How shall we know when the
mixture is at the top of the flare?











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10. TROUBLESHOOTING

10.1. Valves

In certain circumstances of downgraded operation, the equipment pressure may rapidly
trigger the opening of a P.S.V.

Generally, during the pressure drop that follows, the valve closes again and stays sealed.
Usually, at this stage, the installation should have been shut down by triggering of a
PSHH.

However, sometimes a valve remains open, which can seriously disrupt the installations
operation.

The valve arrangement devices make it possible to isolate the faulty valve and to operate
on the emergency valve.

An interlock system ensures that there is always an operational valve and an emergency
valve. This interlock system is not installed on all equipment and when there is only one
PSV, it is the shutdown system of the entire installation that is connected to the flare
system to which the faulty PSV is vented.


Figure 20: System with 1 isolating valve

The isolating valves of the operational valve will necessarily be locked in the open
position and those of the downstream emergency valve locked in the open position and
the upstream valves closed. Poor arrangement of the valves described here have, in the
past, led to a large number of incidents, not just in the Oil & Gas industry.

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The repairs on a faulty valve will require a disassembly according to a strict specific
procedure with the laying of flush joints upstream and downstream of the valve.




Figure 21: System with 2 isolating valves
10.2. Flushing gas

In case of flushing fuel gas supply problems on the flare network, the flushing will be done
with nitrogen in order to avoid air getting into the circuits or with LP steam if this facility is
present in the installation.

10.3. Pilot lights

The pilot lights are equipped with thermocouples that permanently measure the
temperature at the pilot light outlet.

When a pilot light is extinguished, the temperature drops and the thermocouple activates
an alarm in the control room.

Any extinguished pilot light must be re-ignited as soon as possible.


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10.4. Flare drums

The safety devices installed on the flare drum are linked to a general installation shut-
down system:

A very low level (LSLL) results in the shut-down of the condensate collection
pumps and the closing of the suction valve

A very high level (LSHH) results in a general production shut-down, ESD1, to
avoid overflow of liquid hydrocarbons at the flare tip, which would flare up
immediately

A very high temperature at the heater results in the shut-down of the heater




Figure 22: Flare drum safety system

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10.5. EXPERIENCE FEEDBACK

How do you melt a flare line by following a normal start-up procedure?

An LNG unit at the end of the start-up procedure early one Christmas morning:

Recirculation is proscribed in a closed circuit due to the temperature, which being too low
would inevitably cause slugs in the cryogenic exchangers. The process gas, in the
liquefaction process, terminates its itinerary at the flare, and must be routed to the storage
tank as it nears its dewpoint temperature.

Obviously there is another parameter to be monitored, i.e. the gas temperature at the
exchanger outlet.

So, around 6 :00 am suddenly packets of LNG appear at the tip of the flare, igniting almost
instantaneously. One aggravating circumstance was that the flare line was made of special
aluminium that melts around 220C, which is what happened with the flare stack melting
over several tens of metres, when the ROVs were opened on the flow line to the tank,
which was already set up for reception.


In view of the time of day, the incident did not result in any casualties; however, a good
part of the flare line had to be rebuilt, but with a LNG umbrella, this time, installed above
the line.



Exploration & Production
Process


Drains and Flares Flares

Training course: EXP-PR-EQ125-EN

Last revised: 27/04/2007

Page 43 / 44

11. GLOSSARY




Exploration & Production
Process


Drains and Flares Flares

Training course: EXP-PR-EQ125-EN

Last revised: 27/04/2007

Page 44 / 44

12. LIST OF FIGURES

Figure 1: Flare system.........................................................................................................5
Figure 2: Conventional valve...............................................................................................9
Figure 3: Balanced valve...................................................................................................10
Figure 4: Piloted valve.......................................................................................................11
Figure 5: Network of flare manifolds ..................................................................................13
Figure 6: Blow Down System.............................................................................................14
Figure 7: Equipment around the Flare Drum......................................................................15
Figure 8: Hydraulic seal (1)................................................................................................16
Figure 9: Hydraulic seal (2)................................................................................................16
Figure 10: Gas seal ...........................................................................................................17
Figure 11: Flare drum........................................................................................................18
Figure 12: EET sonic flare stack........................................................................................19
Figure 13: FCG sonic flare stack .......................................................................................20
Figure 14: J ohn Zink sonic flare stack ...............................................................................21
Figure 15: BIRWELCO sonic flare stack............................................................................22
Figure 16:Example PFD of flares.......................................................................................28
Figure 17:Example P&ID flares (1) ....................................................................................30
Figure 18: Example P&ID flares (2) ...................................................................................31
Figure 19: The layout around a flare drum.........................................................................35
Figure 20: System with 1 isolating valve............................................................................39
Figure 21: System with 2 isolating valves..........................................................................40
Figure 22: Flare drum safety system.................................................................................41