Oil & gas sector needs better planning of pressure safety valve testing
London — Valve engineering and management company Severn Unival is advising oil and gas companies that better planning could bring significant time- and money-saving benefits to routine testing of pressure safety valves (PSVs).
According to Severn Unival, quality data and a robust maintenance strategy can underpin risk-based methods enabling significant extension of standard inspection intervals. This approach, it said, works in synergy with activity to meet prevailing Health and Safety recommendations surrounding these valves.
KP4, the Health & Safety Executive’s inspection programme targeting ageing oil and gas assets, makes specific reference to pressure relief in its Process Integrity criteria. Duty holders are obliged to demonstrate and document due diligence surrounding the certification of valves involved in this critical application.
Over time, this results in a repository of PSV performance data, added Severn Unival, pointing out that a competent valve management service provider can analyse and interpret this data to make recommendations for enhanced risk-based decisions.
“Many oil and gas companies don’t realise what a rich pool of data they create when meeting due diligence requirements,” Severn Unival director, Colin Findlay, explained. “When PSVs consistently hit required performance levels and open at the set pressure, it is perfectly acceptable to extend testing intervals. It is simply a case of joining the dots, and using technology to reinforce the data analysis.”
PSV testing routinely happens when a plant or platform is offline, so it is usually a priority for planned shutdowns. By reducing the frequency of testing, attention can be diverted to other areas of the valve population that might not have the same safety implications, but have an important role in overall production or business performance.
“With good planning, testing and maintenance can be prioritised according to real need,” Findlay continues. “A more strategic, intelligence-led, risk-based approach can reap dividends. It saves time and money in terms of the testing itself, and enables performance-enhancing jobs that might otherwise have been overlooked to move up the priority list. This approach is particularly useful when devising maintenance programmes for ageing assets.”