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16 May 2010

Managing asset integrity in LNG facilities

Andrs Eduardo Rivas and Luciano Narcisi of GIE S.A., an engineering consultancy in Argentina, examine how a state-of-the-art Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) facility in Chile came about...
ince the introduction of natural gas into Repblica de Chile from Argentina in the late 1990s, the country has made extensive investments in gas-related infrastructure, distribution pipelines, utilities and public transportation. But since the 2004 energy crisis there, Argentina has been an unreliable gas provider. This new scenario forced Chilean authorities to seek new, reliable and safe gas sources. Chile, they decided, should not be dependent on only one source for gas supply and, hence, needed global suppliers. The LNG facility was designed to enable Chile to obtain diversified and independent natural gas sources. Because of the long distances between Chile and the actual producers, LNG seemed a good choice. The first project draft received a green light from the local environmental agency in 2005. The FEED (Front End Engineering Design) was completed during 2006; the incorporation of a new company and first equipment acquisition was started in 2007 and the first shipment was processed in June 2009. The LNG terminal was designed, built and is being operated in full compliance of all stakeholders interests, legal requisites and international best practices. Asset management

Case study:

plays a significant role in this, from design concept to the facilitys initial commissioning. After investment and commissioning, the operator must provide proper maintenance for the assets in order to comply with legal and stakeholder requirements and expectations. From the onset, the concept of asset management was integral to the project. This design method included principles and methodologies such as the UK COMAH (Control of Major Accident Hazards) 1999 and E&P Safety Case approach. Similar provisions are made in other standards and regulations such as OSHA (USA) Process Safety Management (Non mandatory) - 1910.119, ASME B31.8S, and PAS55, which helped to steer the asset management initiative. An integral part of the asset management process was defining the competence

requirements for everyone involved in the asset management process. From the conceptual design stage to early commissioning, key employees were engaged in a full training scheme in order to build an asset management team capable of maintaining and reviewing policies, developing new strategies, planning and implementing asset management activities, managing risks and improving overall performance. Around 35 people were intensively trained in this during one year and a continued competence building effort continues for the next two years.

To consistently achieve this performance goal and adhere to local regulations and international best practices, an asset integrity system was set up.

The asset

The facility is a maritime terminal for reception, storage and regasification of LNG; supplying natural gas to central Chile safely and reliably since August 2009. The LNG terminal covers more than 40 hectares, with a pier 1,850m long and 12m over sea level that connects ships to the storage area. Three cryogenic storage

May 2010


Photo caption here

tanks with 334mil m total capacity feed a regasification facility that processes 2,5M tonnes per year, supplying 10MMCMD to distribution network.

earthquakes. The stored LNG is vaporised finally and injected into the natural gas distribution network at a rate of 10MSCMD.

The process

The maintenance challenge

LNG is delivered by means of LNG carriers with 80k to 265k m capacity. These double hull ships up to 350m long and 55m wide are designed to operate at low temperatures (-160C). The LNG carriers tie at a 1,600m long dock. After berthing, five unloading arms are attached to the LNG carrier gas manifold three for unloading, one for evaporated gas backpressure and the last one acts as a backup for both functions. The LNG is stored in three high safety tanks with 334k m3 LNG capacity at atmospheric pressure and -160C. The tanks have an inner compartment made of cryogenic steel and an outer concrete shell. The tanks were mounted on seismic isolators designed to survive severe

Optimum performance in a process plant depends on maintaining a fine balance among many complex mechanical systems, while avoiding failure in key assets that could lead to unplanned shutdowns, or non-acceptable risk to people or environment. As this highly complex system carries high fire and explosion risks due to the process characteristics and the large amount of fluids involved the asset management caring phase process is strongly biased to safety and mechanical integrity issues. To consistently achieve this performance goal and adhere to local regulations and international best practices, an asset integrity system was set up. The challenges to managing asset integrity are: n Having a structured methodology that is

n n n

appropriate to the plant type and history and its equipment inventory Having access to a technically appropriate empirical basis for estimating the likelihoods and consequences of failures (mechanical, safety-related and process-related) Managing a very large inspection and safety process database Being able to track the changing conditions at the asset Assuring the life extension of the equipment by defining the performance standards for each piece of equipment.

The company has met these challenges with:

n An industry-standard asset management

n Industry-leading advanced risk assessment

tools for condition and integrity assessment

n In-house best practices for consistent

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18 May 2010

Structures and buildings

Maintenance Management

Integrity Management

Emergency Response Systems

This strategy was implemented by means of a management process aimed at safety-critical elements and production-critical elements at the LNG terminal. Maintenance and inspection activities were developed to guarantee functionality, availability and survival for each relevant element at LNG terminal. Figure 1 shows a summary of the relationships among major hazards and safetycritical elements green represents prevention, yellow detection or mitigation and orange stands for emergency. Safety-critical elements are installations, equipment, systems and/or processes which prevent, limit or contribute to minimising the impact of major accidents. They are, basically, systemic barriers designed to avoid or preempt incidents, detect malfunctioning, control consequences of incidents or a part of emergency response programme. These critical elements are targeted through a risk analysis and hazard identification. Performance standards and written verification procedures were then developed for each selected item. This process identifies major risk drivers, mitigation measures, risk-based maintenance plans and key performance indicators. All these technical issues were subcontracted to a third party consultancy, which also provided some training in order to embed competencies within the organisation. This project is considered as state of the art

Loss of containment Human mistakes Works Risks




Emergency Energy System

Safety Integrity Systems



Mayor Hazards

Natural forces Deliberated attack Failure due to energy shut down Ship collisions Design and Fabrication defects Maintenance and Inspection deficiencies




D/C/M Detection/Control/Mitigation


in South America as it is the first infrastructure project there 100% conceived, designed, built and implemented following asset management strategies. For more details, visit www.giemdp.

A solid foundation

The LNG terminal was envisioned, designed and built on asset management principles.

It has developed a robust maintenance plan whose main objectives are reliable and efficient operation. This initiative is being accomplished by means of safety-critical element management. This management implies a deep understanding of the risks involved and robust maintenance planning. This methodology allows the terminal proper risk identification and mitigation, which provides the highest safety and environmental standards for the workforce and neighboring communities.
Authors biography Andrs Rivas (BsSc Chem, MBA) is Director of GIE S.A., an engineering consultancy specialising in Asset Management in the oil and gas market. GIE S.A. is a member of the IAM. More information can be found at Andrs can be contacted at ar, or on +54 223 4822308.

PAS55 Publicly Available Specification for the optimized management of physical assets UK COMAH (Control of Major Accident Hazards) 1999. 1910.119OSHA Process Safety Management. ASME B31.8S Managing System Integrity of Gas Pipelines API 581.Risk Based Inspection

Photo caption here

HSE Management

Containment equipment

n Process and Operations knowledge n Benchmark comparisons to similar

Figure 1

Safety Critical Elements

Process Control Systems