Downstream petroleum operations require the safe and efficient transport of fluids that are often flammable and toxic. With the proper pressure instrumentation in place, you have accurate, reliable measurements to help identify and correct issues before they can develop into safety incidents that cause unplanned downtime, or worse, injuries or deaths.

With misapplied, broken, or failed gauges in place, however, you are left without any warning. An Instrument Audit will help ensure gauges are working correctly to keep your people and plant safe.

In a total of 250 Instrument Audits, WIKA found that, on average, eight malfunctioning or misapplied pressure gauges are located within 20 feet of workers at any given time.

Following the 2009 blast that killed seven workers at its Anacortes, Washington, refinery, Tesoro Corporation embarked on a series of maintenance shutdowns and a thorough investigation into the disaster. The identified cause: a damaged exchanger, which failed after a high temperature hydrogen attack (HTHA).

The weakened steel shell of the exchanger could not withstand operating pressures. This resulted in the shell rupturing and the subsequent fire. As a result of this evaluation, Tesoro conducted additional inspections, installed additional instrumentation, established new integrity operating windows in pertinent hydro-process units, and built new exchangers designed to minimize HTHA risk.

The problem is by no means confined to one company or location. Since the beginning of 2009, at least 80 fires have occurred at 59 refineries. Over the past decade, at least 7,600 accidental chemical releases from refineries have been reported to the U.S. Coast Guard’s National Response Center; about half were blamed on equipment failure. To counter this trend, safety must be given its due—and optimum safety depends on accurate information.

Plant managers have a wide variety of gauges and instruments from which to choose, but there is no room for guesswork. A gauge must be appropriate for the application to prevent failure. In processing industries, the pressure gauges must be rugged enough to withstand harsh conditions such as corrosive media, vibration, and temperature extremes. For example, XSEL™ process gauges from WIKA were designed for the refining, chemical and petrochemical industries and deliver years of accurate service in these extreme environments.

Achieving that optimum safety requires consistent instrument reviews and audits and using reliable gauges and instrumentation. In this regard, pressure gauges and instruments from WIKA represent the industry standard for efficiency and safety. An additional advantage is the expertise that is behind equipment from WIKA. WIKA’s Full Audit Service Team (FAST) is available to conduct an Instrument Audit at no charge to help you identify and correct issues before a crisis takes place. FAST services also include turnaround instrument planning, failure analysis, and instrument safety training.

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