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Interpretation of IP15 in Process Plant Design: a Commonsense Approach --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Author 1 AJ Tuckett Company Foster Wheeler Energy Limited Address Foley House 5 Seaward Place Glasgow Scotland G41 1HH e-mail andy_tuckett@fwuk.fwc.com Author Background Andy is Chief Process Engineer for Foster Wheeler Energy Limited Glasgow Operations. He has a BSc (Hons) in Chemical Engineering from Loughborough University. He has over 20 years’ experience in process design and engineering of oil and gas projects. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Author 2 I R Calcott Company Foster Wheeler Energy Limited Address Foley House 5 Seaward Place Glasgow Scotland G41 1HH e-mail iain_calcott@fwuk.fwc.com Author Background Iain is a Principal Process Engineer for Foster Wheeler Energy Limited Glasgow Operations. He holds a BSc (Hons) in Chemical Engineering from Heriot Watt University and has worked for over 17 years in process design and plant operation. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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Chapter 5 ‘Classification of Individual Point Sources’ details the methodology for classification of the radius associated with equipment and piping. for example a flange leak is likely to have a diameter of 1 to 6 mm. the hazardous area is expected to be mainly Zone 2 with localised Zone 1s. This code was re-issued as a second edition in August 2002 to take a more risk-based approach to area classification. As the radius is now based on dispersion modelling of specific release compositions there is no longer a distinction between heavier than air or lighter than air releases. • • METHODOLOGY FOR HAZARDOUS AREA CLASSIFICATION There are a number of discrete steps that need to be completed in order to arrive at the hazardous area classification for a process plant. This is achieved by assigning a level of release for secondary sources. The difference now is that the release/leak source is now quantified. In addition it provides an updated. demonstrable methodology for specifying hazardous radius. The new IP code is based on dispersion modelling taking into account variables such as pressure and mist/spray formation. The main differences between the second edition of the IP15 code and the first issue can be summarised thus: • The second edition is based on an assessment of the risk to operators who work within hazardous areas. each of the above steps are then discussed in more detail below. These form the basis of the work procedures employed by Foster Wheeler: • • • • • • Identify the point sources of release Determine the grade of release and fluid category Establish zone classification Determine hazard radius Preparation of hazardous area drawing Hazardous area classification review The procedure adopted is represented in a flowchart in Figure 1. with respect to secondary (Zone 2) releases.INTRODUCTION Hazardous area classification of process plants is often undertaken using as a basis the Institute of Petroleum Model Code of Safe Practice Part 15 ‘Area Classification Code for Installations Handling Flammable Fluids. As a consequence of this there are now additional considerations which must be taken into account when determining the hazardous radius. This paper summarises how Foster Wheeler has interpreted and applied the revised code on a number of recent projects for the oil and gas industry. In addition the diameter of the leak source is related to the level of release. As before. and the probability of ignition of that release. Page: 2 . and takes account of the period of time an operator spends exposed to a potential release source.

Primary sources Physical Properties Heat & Material Balance Determine Fluid Category Ventilation Establish Zone Classification Level of Release Client’s Operations Staff Input Probability Pocc IP15 Plot Plan Number of Releases Nrange IP15 Exposure IP15 Probability of Ignition Pign IP15/ Air Dispersion Hazardous Radius Hazardous Area Classification Drawings Review Revise Agreed Hazardous Area Classification Figure 1 Page: 3 .Input P&IDs Plot Plans Heat & Material Balance Activity Output Identify Release Determine Grade of Release Amend Design to remove continuous.

and reducing the diameter of vents and drains. closed drain systems. The grades are defined in IP15 as. but at a temperature sufficient for boiling to occur on release A flammable liquid not in categories A or B. vents from balanced bellows relief valves. This can include such measures as installation of closed sampling systems. such as regular sampling. Continuous release is considered. as a rule of thumb. would vaporise rapidly and substantially. Small secondary releases within the process plant are less important. which will not form a mist or spray on release B C G (i) G (i) Unclassified Page: 4 . This category includes: a) Any liquefied petroleum gas or lighter flammable liquid b) Any flammable liquid at a temperature sufficient to produce on release more than about 40% vol vaporisation with no heat input other than from the surroundings A flammable liquid not in Category A. primary releases for between 10 and 1. Examples of these include oily water drain system. for instances where it is likely to be present for a period in excess of 1. primary sources and secondary sources which are likely to have an impact on the extent of a Zone 2 outside the plant boundary are identified at an early stage. DETERMINE THE GRADE OF RELEASE AND FLUID CATEGORY The grade of a source is dependant on the likely frequency of release. continuous. In addition to the above. as they are unlikely to have an impact on the extent of hazardous zones. on release. To do this. or form a flammable mist or spray A typical methane-rich natural gas Refinery hydrogen Heavy oils etc with flash point greater than 100oC handled at a temperature below flash point. and secondary for less than 10 hours. etc.000 hours per year. primary or secondary. it is important that the process design of the facility is well-developed. it is important for the process engineer to consider other potential sources of release which may not be shown on the above documents.IDENTIFICATION OF SOURCES OF RELEASE The starting point for any area classification is to determine all the potential sources of release. and that a plant layout is available in at least a conceptual form.000 hours per year. Typically. effort must be made to minimise the number of primary releases as far as is practicable. the following key documents are used when determining the sources of release: • • • • Equipment list Piping and instrument diagrams Heat and material balance Plot plan In addition. During design. analyser vents. they should be considered as primary grades. be at a temperature above its flash point. where releases are present for less than 10 hours but occur on a frequent basis during normal operation. drain hubs and vent pipes. but which can. The fluid category is defined in IP15 as follows: Fluid Category A Description A flammable liquid that on release. It is important that all continuous.

For cases outside the limits. In cases where this has been found to be necessary. determined from the number of sources of release to which they are likely to be exposed. The procedure used for determining level of release is described below. It is the general intent that the level be assigned to an installation rather than determine the level for each individual point source. freely-ventilated area. In the IP Code exposure is determined from: Exp= Pocc X Nrange Where Pocc is the probability of an individual being on site within the hazardous area. it is necessary to undertake dispersion modelling to determine the extent of a flammable cloud. The release frequency is based on personnel risk only.ESTABLISH ZONE CLASSIFICATION For an open. DETERMINE HAZARD RADIUS The method used to determine a hazardous radius is dependant on the grade of release. compressor shelter. Nrange is the time weighted average number of release sources which can affect the individual during their time within the hazardous area IP15 provides four values for Pocc: Page: 5 . the hazardous radius can be determined directly from these tables. and sumps. Foster Wheeler typically use PHAST (Process Hazard Analysis Software Tool) from DNV Software. LEVEL OF RELEASE The level of release takes account of the period of time that personnel are exposed to a risk. level II or level III and is described as the release frequency. such as an analyser house. The first step in determining the level of release is to establish exposure of personnel. For a secondary grade release it is first necessary to determine the level of release. The level of release is either level I. reference has to be made to IP15 to determine whether the applicable zone has to be increased to take account of inadequate ventilation. the following Zones apply (depending on the grade of release): • • • Continuous: Zone 0 Primary: Zone 1 Secondary: Zone 2 For enclosed areas. For primary and continuous releases. and the likelihood of ignition. and then to determine the hazardous radius either directly from IP15 or from dispersion modelling. This can prove to be quite difficult when the boundary of an installation may have varying risks of ignition. where the potential leaks sizes and fluid categories are within the limits of the tables within IP15 section 5 and Annex 6.

Using the values of exposure and Pign. a value for Pign can be determined. but with certain areas close to strong sources of release exposed to level 2.13 and 0. It is essential that the assumptions made in determining the probability of exposure are well documented and recorded in order to provide an audit trail for later review and to meet HSE requirements. Referring to Figure C2. level I is applicable for process plant. Typical values of time an individual is exposed. probability of ignition. probability of ignition.• • • • 0.028: Individual spends an average of 1 hours per shift exposed to a hazardous release The likely exposure of personnel needs to be discussed with the plant’s operating team. offsite area. but in practice Foster Wheeler has found that in modern automated plants the exposure of personnel tends to be between 2 and 5 hours. giving rise to a Pocc of between 0. The next step is to determine Nrange. In table C3 of IP15 the following four strengths of ignition are given: • • • • Controlled. in practice level 3 has not been encountered. Foster Wheeler has found that in most instances. It is important that these values are discussed with the client’s operating personnel. The calculation of release frequency level is required to be made as a minimum for each type of plant area e. 1 By taking account of the proportion of time the most exposed individual will spend exposed to each of the strengths of ignition.0. The percentage of time an individual is then exposed to each of these levels then needs to be assessed. probability of ignition.13: Individual spends an average of 5 hours per shift exposed to a hazardous release 0. These calculations are carried out by the process department with input from client (operations/maintenance). medium and high. Before determining the level of release it is now necessary to determine the probability of ignition.g. The basis for all decisions taken must also be recorded for record and audit purposes. 0.003 Weak. Depending on the assumptions made we would typically expect to arrive at an exposure of between 1. utility area. 0. Page: 6 . process area. The tables in IP15 give the average number of sources to which an individual will be exposed during his period within the hazardous area. depending on the activity which he is undertaking.22: Individual spends 100% of all shifts exposed to a hazardous release 0.055. and engineering disciplines as necessary. the appropriate level of release is determined from Figure C2 (in ID15). used on previous projects are: • • • Low: 20% Medium: 50% High: 30% It is now possible to determine the exposure from table C2 (in ID15). probability of ignition. Three levels are indicated: low.1 Strong.5 and 2.055: Individual spends an average of 2 hours per shift exposed to a hazardous release 0.01 Medium. 0.

If necessary. Guidance is given in IP15 on the size of holes likely to occur for certain credible scenarios. Foster Wheeler process group represents the above information in tabular form on a hazardous release schedule. HAZARDOUS RADIUS For each source of release the hazardous radius can be determined using Chapter 5 and Annex C3 of IP15. and hence the extent of hazardous radius. HAZARDOUS AREA DRAWING The above information can be represented on a hazardous area classification drawing. air dispersion modelling can be undertaken to determine the extent of hazardous zones. particularly with regard to operator occupancy and ignition sources. Following the review meeting the hazardous area drawing will normally require to be updated to incorporate the actions of the review team before being released for engineering design use. The review team should typically be composed of the following personnel. (including operations and maintenance personnel) The review will typically be chaired by the Project Engineer and follows a check list to ensure that the area classification drawing has correctly interpreted the information contained in the hazardous release schedule and to gain buy in and agreement on the various assumptions made during the hazardous area classification process. All actions arising from the review must be recorded and should be entered into a project design safety action tracking register to ensure an auditable trail to close out exists. This drawing is based on the plot plan for the process unit with the hazardous zones overlaid.The output of these calculations should be to provide a release frequency level for all areas of the plant which is subsequently used to establish hazardous radius for releases as per IP Code section 5. Page: 7 . is dependent on the hole size through which the leak occurs combined with the operating pressure. and is endorsed by the various engineering departments and importantly the client/operations representative. • • • • • • Process engineer Project engineer Electrical engineer Instrument engineer Design safety engineer Client representatives. Drawings are produced in both plan and elevation to give a full three dimensional representation of the hazardous area.4. HAZARDOUS AREA REVIEW Once the preliminary hazardous area classification drawing has been prepared a formal review is undertaken to confirm that the proposed area classification is in accordance with project requirements. The leakage rates of hydrocarbon.

and helps to ensure that the classification is agreed and accepted by all parties concerned. By undertaking the hazardous area classification in a structured manner. these opportunities can be identified more easily and resolved.The approach employed by Foster Wheeler. and that it meets project requirements. 2nd Edition August 2002. importantly. The formal hazardous area classification review is an important part of the process as it brings together a range of disciplines. By ensuring that the client is involved throughout the process and particularly during acceptance and agreement. can also be audited. it ensures that the design process is understood and accepted by the operator. Opportunities exist to modify the design of a process plant. as detailed above. Area Classification Code for Installations Handling Flammable Fluids. REFERENCES Institute of Petroleum. Part 15. Page: 8 . to remove or downgrade hazardous releases to reduce the zone classification or the extent of a hazardous radius. results in the hazardous area classification of a process plant that follows the recommendations of IP15 and.