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GCPS 2015 __________________________________________________________________________

Calculating Facility Siting Study Leak Sizes – One Size Does Not Fit
All

Gary A Fitzgerald
ABS Consulting
140 Heimer Rd, Suite 300
San Antonio, TX 78232
gfitzgerald@absconsulting.com

Copyright © 2015 ABSG Consulting Inc. All rights reserved.

Prepared for Presentation at
American Institute of Chemical Engineers
2015 Spring Meeting
11th Global Congress on Process Safety
Austin, Texas
April 27-29, 2015

UNPUBLISHED

AIChE shall not be responsible for statements or opinions contained
in papers or printed in its publications

leading operators at the less complex facilities to ask why they should assume the same leak sizes as more complex facilities. Risk. which are more costly than a consequence-based study. This approach calculates frequency-based leak sizes and then applies the leak size that exceeds a frequency criterion (events/year) in a consequence- based FSS instead of assuming a given leak size as credible.GCPS 2015 __________________________________________________________________________ Calculating Facility Siting Study Leak Sizes – One Size Does Not Fit All Gary A Fitzgerald ABS Consulting 140 Heimer Rd. Suite 300 San Antonio. PHA. only the facilities with the greatest hazards performed hazard studies to calculate potential consequences of accidental releases. Regulatory agencies have also come to expect hazard studies for any facility within their regulatory jurisdiction. Risk Assessment. more and more facilities would evaluate their hazards even if they were perceived to be at relatively low-risk. Introduction Facility Siting has matured over the last 20 years. This paper presents three case studies as examples of how the MDL has been applied and illustrates the advantages of calculating leak sizes specific to scenarios being evaluated for low complexity and low risk facilities. Other facilities have unique processes with safety systems and factors they would like to quantify in a FSS. Note: Do not add page numbers. TX 78232 gfitzgerald@absconsulting. Do not refer to page numbers when referencing different portions of the paper . Maximum Design Leak. Risk Management. many companies have not defined risk tolerance criteria and are resistant to do so for various reasons or do not want to invest in a QRA. Initially. which is often up to a 2” diameter leak. 1. MDL Abstract Consequence-based Facility Siting Studies (FSSs) typically requires the user assume a credible leak size to use in the evaluation of potential releases. Many facilities tend to be less complex in comparison to large refineries or petrochemical plants. now all facilities covered under OSHA PSM and EPA RMP are expected to have hazard studies performed to quantify potential consequences from accidental releases. However. Leak Size. This avoids having to establish risk criteria in terms of fatalities/year and having to model a large number of scenarios yet takes advantage of many features in a QRA. Thus. One solution would be to perform a Quantitative Risk Assessment (QRA) to capture the risks from all potential release locations and release sizes. As the practice grew in popularity.com Keywords: Facility Siting. A unique approach developed by ABS Consulting and first presented in 2011 is called the Maximum Design Leak (MDL) approach [1].

Factors such as building occupancy. a 10% chance of safety system failure was taken into account such that those segments were evaluated as two scenarios (with and without safety system operation) with different tolerable frequencies. number of independent hazards. Four segments were very low hazard and were excluded. The MDL approach was proposed as a means to calculate leak sizes based on published equipment failure rates. While typically considered a conservative approach. Results were severe and did not make sense in comparison to company or industry experience given the high level of mechanical integrity and numerous safety systems.GCPS 2015 __________________________________________________________________________ A typical consequence-based FSS will evaluate leaks from locations determined to have the greatest consequences. The process was first segmented into hazardous streams with similar operating conditions such that a leak anywhere in that segment would have similar consequences. number of hazardous segments. It is recommended to adjust these published frequencies as appropriate to reflect a specific site location. Several guidance documents are available for selecting leak size that tend to agree in either limiting leaks to a maximum diameter of 2 inches or only using a portion of the pipe cross-section as their assumed leak size. As a result. wind directions. ABS Consulting has performed MDL studies at over a dozen facilities and found them to be most beneficial to the smaller and less complex facilities where a 2” leak size is believed to be overly conservative for most leaks and an assumption less than 2” is difficult to defend. some segments had Safety Instrumented Systems (SISs) with a Safety Integrity Level 1 (SIL 1) assigned. This has the potential to over-predict consequences from one location in lieu of evaluating leaks at other locations which may be more frequent but less severe. A total of fifteen segments were identified. . Additionally. The company performed a parts count for these eleven segments. the company decided to perform a MDL study for the new process. company operating practices and accident history. Case Study 1 A specialty-chemical company performed a consequence-based facility siting study for a new unit assuming 2” leak sizes. acceptable occupant vulnerability and an additional factor of safety were used to generate a tolerable single event frequency. For those segments. it is an accepted level of conservatism for most hazardous facilities that allows for hazards evaluations without considering numerous sources or calculating fatalities. regardless of the likelihood of a leak at that location other than a qualitative assessment of the maximum leak size. ignition likelihood. Frequency tolerance criteria were developed based on company maximum individual risk criteria. The subject of developing frequency tolerance criteria for use in a MDL is the subject of a future paper and details will not be discussed here. The remaining eleven segments were evaluated in a MDL study. Industry has generally adopted the 2 inch maximum leak size for FSS. 2.

10 2 N/A 0. Case Study 1 Parts Count Curve fits were performed for each segment and the equations solved for the leak size at the frequency tolerance criteria.10 12 N/A 0.85 0.15 N/A N/A 9 N/A 0.75 0. Case Study 1 Leak Sizes Leak Size (inches) Segment No SIS SIS Installed SIS Installed Installed and Operates and Fails 1 N/A 0.10 3 N/A 0.65 0.10 11 N/A 0. Results are plotted in the following figure.35 0.15 N/A N/A .15 5 0.GCPS 2015 __________________________________________________________________________ A count of equipment within each defined segment was performed and published equipment failure rates were applied for various leak sizes (corrected for plant specific operations). Figure 1.15 13 0.15 N/A N/A 6 0.10 4 N/A 0.50 0.65 0.35 0. Resulting leak sizes are shown in the following table (rounding up to the next 0. Table 1.10 10 N/A 0.1”).80 0.05” with a minimum size of 0.

Case Study 2 A small oil and gas terminal not covered under OSHA PSM with no processing facilities wished to perform a FSS but recognized their facility presented far lower risks than other large facilities. . Figure 2. Case Study 2 Parts Count Curve fits were performed for each segment and the equations solved for the frequency tolerance criteria. they did not have a defendable basis to assume a leak size smaller than typical industry practice for large facilities.25” and a maximum size of 2”).05” with a minimum size of 0. Resulting leak sizes are shown in the following table (rounding up to the next 0. 3. they decided to use the MDL as the basis for leak sizes in the FSS. A parts count was performed for each segment and frequencies were corrected for plant specific operations. Their process was segmented into 4 sections with potentially hazardous consequences. However. The resulting plot of leak size versus frequency is shown in the following figure.GCPS 2015 __________________________________________________________________________ Consequences were then evaluated and blast loads on buildings from the new process were reduced to about half of their initial pressure and impulse as a result of the MDL study. The company had a single event frequency tolerance already defined in LOPA procedures which was applied in this evaluation. Thus.

Factors such as building occupancy. ignition likelihood. the company decided to use that as a maximum leak size because it would have been the assumption if the MDL study were not performed. Case Study 3 An asphalt terminal decided to perform a MDL to use as a basis or leak sizes in a FSS since they believed their risks to be less than that typical for most refineries and petrochemical plants. number of independent hazards. 1” leak size assumption). consequences from one of these scenarios may have been underestimated. The resulting plot of leak size versus frequency is shown in the following figure. Case Study 2 Leak Sizes Comparing the leak sizes to a typical 2” leak size assumption shows that three scenarios would be expected to have much reduced consequences. Their process was segmented into 4 sections with potentially hazardous consequences. number of hazardous segments. If the company had performed a typical FSS assuming a leak size less than 2” based on the perceived simplicity of operations (e. Since it is typical practice to use a maximum leak size of 2“ in a consequence-based FSS where leak sizes are assumed.g. The company had no risk tolerance criteria or LOPA single event frequency criteria so frequency tolerance criterion was developed based on common industry maximum individual risk criteria of 1 E-4 fatalities per year. Note that this illustrates a flaw in the leak size assumption practice – that the risks from all leaks are equal. acceptable occupant vulnerability and an additional factor of safety were used to generate a single event frequency tolerance. A parts count was performed for each segment and frequencies were corrected for plant specific operations. . 4.GCPS 2015 __________________________________________________________________________ Table 2. wind directions.

they would have greatly overestimated the risk from three of their scenarios and may have spent money remediating risks that weren’t present.90 2 0. Table 3.15 4 0.05”).20 Had the company used 2” leaks for all leak sizes.GCPS 2015 __________________________________________________________________________ Figure 3. Resulting leak sizes are shown in the following table (rounding up to the next 0. Had the company used a smaller leak size such as 1” or less. 5 Conclusion In Facility Siting.25 3 0. no approach can predict maximum risk unless many scenarios with a range of leak sizes are evaluated and resulting vulnerabilities used with failure frequencies . Case Study 3 Parts Count Curve fits were performed for each segment and the equations solved for the frequency tolerance criteria. Case Study 3 Leak Sizes Segment Leak Size (in) 1 1. they would have underestimated the risk from one of their scenarios and still overestimated the risk from three scenarios.

GCPS 2015 __________________________________________________________________________ to calculate occupant fatalities for comparison with a risk tolerance criteria (i. D. The Maximum Design Leak (MDL) Approach to Leak Size Selection.L.e. Nouri. . This paper shows real-world application of the MDL to illustrate the advantage of using risk calculations to determine leak size frequencies for facilities that are not prepared to document risk in terms of acceptable fatalities per year and which are not complex or not high risk (e. Many facilities have not determined acceptable risk tolerance nor wish to spend the resources on a QRA so they chose to perform consequence-based FSSs where a leak size is assumed and only the scenario locations with the potential maximum consequences are evaluated. presented at the 2011 Mary Kay O’Connor Process Safety Center International Symposium. F. which is not realistic. Fitzgerald. Stahl. The MDL approach provides a means to evaluate leaks from sources with varying frequency such that higher frequency leak sources are modeled using larger leak sizes than lower frequency leaks.W.g. It illustrates there may be some facilities where a single leak size would be a valid assumption for some scenarios but there may be other scenarios where it would be overly conservative and not a good allocation of limited resources.J. Campbell. One leak size (usually smaller than full bore rupture) is typically used in FSSs because the likelihood from full bore rupture scenarios is assumed to be low. 6. October 25. This single leak size assumption equates the frequency of all leaks. References. Typical consequence-based approaches have an inherent flaw in their leak size assumptions. 2011. M. not refineries or large petrochemical facilities). Montgomery. R.A. QRA). [1] G.