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1st Draft - October 1996

Recommended Practice for The Sparing of Relief Valves

1. Scope
This code of practice is intended to provide guidance for the design,
installation and maintenance of Duplicate Relief valve systems.

2. Application
In certain circumstances interactions between the operating
environment and the components of a relief valve cast doubt on the
ability of the relief valve to reliably perform its function for the full
period between planned shutdowns. Inspection authorities may then
require an inspection of the valve in between planned shutdowns.
In order to avoid the need for an additional shutdown the following
options should be considered:
a).Use of bursting discs to protect the valve from process
b).Use of in line purges under the relief valve to wash/blow
away deposits.
c).Use of other maintenance windows/ opportunities should be

If after due consideration all other options are proved unviable then
the provision of Duplicate Relief Valves may be considered.

3. Design Considerations

3.1 All requirements in this RP are additional to the standards applied for
the design and installation of single relief valve systems.

3.2 Piping and general layout must ensure clear access for valve change
over, maintenance and any necessary craneage. This can be achieved
by either permanent platforms or clear access for temporary platforms/

3.3 Inlet and Discharge Piping shall drain away from the isolation
valves.Depressurising /purging vents shall be directed away from
personnel access areas.

3.4 Isolation Valves shall be provided on the inlet to all "spared" relief
valves and the discharge of all relief valves which relieve into
combined/shared headers or flare systems where these are required to
be operational during valve changeovers.

3.5 All isolation valves shall match or exceed the appropriate line
specification with particular attention to the requirement for tight shut

3.6 All isolation valves shall be full bore.

3.7 When gate valves are used they should be installed with stems oriented
horizontally or with a downward slope upto a maximum of 45° to
prevent any failure/ falling of the gate from blocking the flow.

RP Sparing of Relief Valves (Draft1) Page 1 of 3 Issued : Oct 96
3.8 Particular attention should be paid to the pressure drop from the
pressure source to the relief valve inlet to ensure that this does not
exceed accepted guidelines. e.g. API 520 states a maximum of non-
recoverable pressure losses of 3% of set pressure.

3.9 A maintenance philosophy should be prepared for the isolation valves

based on the projected use and interval between planned shutdowns.

3.10 Both inlet and discharge piping shall be provided with adequate
support for removal and replacement of the Relief valve and possibly
protracted operation without the relief valve present.

3.11 General arrangements should include those features shown below:


4. Construction / Commissioning
4.1 Considerationshould be given to leak testing isolation valves prior to

4.2 Special care should be taken to ensure all construction debris ,scale etc
is removed from inlet /outlet lines.

5. Operational Requirements and Philosophy

The intention behind providing spared relief valves is to provide an
opportunity to carry out inspection/maintenance within the period
between planned shutdowns. It is not to respond to unforeseen events
and therefore strict precautions and clear management procedures must
be established to prevent ill considered change over under pressure.

5.1 A master register shall be kept of all relief valve locations which
include isolation valves.

5.2 Each Isolation valve shall be painted Yellow and be clearly and
indelibly marked with its own identification number.

RP Sparing of Relief Valves (Draft1) Page 2 of 3 Issued : Oct 96
5.3 Each isolation valve shall be capable of being securely locked in
position (either open or closed).

5.4 Each plant shall have a specific and detailed procedure for the
authorisation and recording of change over from one duty valve to

5.5 Some form of Status notification shall be readily available to operating

staff to identify those valves which are currently in service.

5.6 Periodic inspections shall be made which verify the status and
identification of the isolation valves and the condition of the locking

5.7 There shall be a clear maintenance policy for the monitoring and
overhaul of the main isolation valves to ensure tight shut off when

5.8 Relief Valves which are mounted in position whether isolated or not
should be regarded as being in service from the point of view of
Inspection endorsement.

5.9 It is recommended that spare valves should be held in an overhauled

state in a suitable workshop / store ready for a final confirmation test
before installation.

6. References

API 520 Sizing, selection,and installation of Pressure Relieving Devices

in Refineries
RP44-1 Overpressure Protection Systems
ASME Section VIII D1 Appendix M
BP Relief valve work Group Interim Report

Issued by : J.M.Chipchase
Location : Q.I.Team Britannic House

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