Natural gas plants

A Natural Gas plant is an installation of great economic value and high fire risk due to the materials being processed there and its easy combustion. The main area of risk is the gas storage area, which consists of insulated tanks at a temperature below its boiling point of -164 °C. Is essential to avoid the risk of accidents to protect the plant facilities and employees.

There are other hazard areas in the plant such as control rooms, storage areas, fuel tanks, electrical equipment, generators and pumps, truck loading and unloading areas, etc. All of these areas should be considered as hazard areas, since a fire in any of these places without adequate protection could spread to the tanks and increase the hazards.

Natural gas plants must comply with current regulations such as NFPA 59A, “Standard for the production, storage and handling of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG)” where fire protection measures are stipulated.

Documentation

Natural Gas Plants Protection

Areas of greatest risk

The main hazards that may occur in a natural gas plant where the gas is responsible for an accident are:

  • Leaking discharge manifolds in vessels and pumps.
  • Gas discharge due to over-pressurization in the tank.
  • Leaks in the distribution lines.
  • Leaks in compressors.
  • Accidents in marshland discharge.

Fire protection to prevent accidents focuses on three areas: prevention, control and extinguishment. Extinction takes place when there is a gas leak close to a fire source and an outbreak ensues. The extinguishing agent has to be applied over the fire and the possible gas leak points such as ventilation ducts and relief valves of the storage tanks to prevent the fire from spreading.

The gas plant must have automatic fire suppression systems and manual means to control any accident caused by gas leaks and spills that could lead to the accumulation of flammable vapours. The automatic fire extinguishing system must protect risk areas using properly placed nozzles to cover all risk areas.

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