(5c) Need for Re-Evaluation of Relief System Design Under Current “New Normal” As Certain Credits Disappear
Southwest Process Technology Conference
Thursday, October 1, 2020 - 2:15pm to 2:45pm
We have seen a number of economic factors collide recently: steep drops in demand and prices across basic commodities including oil and petrochemical products, uncertainty across global economies, and mixed actions from economic and political leaders of many countries. This can be attributed to the varying degree of spread of COVID-19 across the globe. All these conditions have placed companies under economic stress, especially those in the process industry struggling to maintain sales and output levels. Companies are taking radical actions to reduce capital and operational expenditure. These economic pressures can be taxing on all areas of a business, but especially on the production floor-level operations.
Cost-cutting directives are coming from the executive levels, demanding a significant reduction in expenditures while maintaining ongoing production. While all areas of a company feel the impacts, key process safety impacts are experienced on facility floors. A slight slip in the level of process safety endangers operators, maintenance personnel, and their supervisors. During these times of extreme economic pressure, it is imperative that process safety management remains in full-fledged effect. '˜Safety first' must be an overriding motto and an unflinching standard for process manufacturing industries.
Numerous operating companies globally are faced with major unparalleled challenges. Some of the steps taken to address these challenges can compromise process safety leading to hazardous conditions. One of the steps taken involves reduction in number of on-site personnel owing to the COVID-19 response plan. API Standard 521 allows for operator intervention credit to prevent some of the overpressure scenarios from occurring. This presentation discusses all such overpressure scenarios where operator intervention credit may have been taken in the current design but with limited resource availability, relying on operators to avoid such overpressure scenarios can cause an overload situation and compromise overpressure protection.