3.2 Outline types of failures that may lead to loss of containment from hydrocarbons

Element 3: Hydrocarbon process safety 2

4.1 Unit IOG1 Management of international oil and gas operational safety

Learning outcomes

On completion of this element, candidates should be able to demonstrate understanding of the content through the application of knowledge to familiar and unfamiliar situations. In particular they should be able to:

3.1 Outline types of failure modes that may lead to loss of containment from hydrocarbons

3.2 Outline types of failures that may lead to loss of containment from hydrocarbons

3.3 Outline the controls available to maintain safety critical equipment

3.4 Outline the hazards, risks and controls available for safe containment of hydrocarbons offshore and onshore

3.5 Outline the fire hazards, risks and controls relating to hydrocarbons

3.6 Outline the hazards, risks and controls available for operating boilers and furnaces.


3.1 Failure modes

  • Creep
  • Stress
  • Stress corrosion cracking
  • Thermal shock
  • Brittle fracture
  • What is meant by a ‘safe operating envelope’
  • Use of knowledge of failure modes in initial design, process and safe-operating procedures
  • Failure of the annular rim (bottom rim of storage tank).

3.2 Other types of failures

  • Weld failures – the need for regular weld inspection  and non-destructive inspection techniques

3.3 Safety critical equipment controls

  • Emergency shutdown (ESD) equipment and systems
  • Safety integrity levels (SIL) for instrumentation
  • Procedures for bypassing ESD – not to bypass without consideration of consequences – testing and logging
  • Blow down facilities, flare types
  • Closed and open drain headers, sewers, interceptors.

3.4 Safe containment of hydrocarbons

  • Hazards and risks including overfilling, effects of vacuum, overloading of foundations and failure modes for tank shells and associated pipe work
  • Floating roof tanks (both external and internal roof types), landing the roof, sinking the roof and rim seal fires/failures
  • Fixed roof storage tanks, pressure and vacuum hazards
  • Bunding of storage tanks including volume and area sizing, construction and valving arrangements
  • Filling of tanks, overfilling/alarms/tanker connections
  • Pressurised / refrigerated vessels for LPG/LNG/CO2
  • Loss of containment and consequences
  • - jet fires, pool fires
  • - how hydrocarbon vapour clouds are generated and potential consequences
  • - BLEVE’s, CVCE’s and UVCE’s
  • - pipelines (eg,  protection of pipelines, surveying, maintenance, security against arson and illegal tapping)
  • Decommissioning of plant and associated facilities (an overview)
  • Management of simultaneous operations.

3.5 Fire hazards, risks and controls

  • Lightning
  • Fire triangle and the potential consequences:
  • - explosions
  • - thermal radiation
  • Electrostatic charges, how they are generated and controlled
  • The identification of ignition sources
  • Zoning  /  hazardous  area  classification,  and  selection  of  suitable  ignition  protected electrical and mechanical equipment and critical control equipment.

3.6 Furnace and boiler operations

  • Use of furnace and boiler operations
  • Hazards and risks of operating boilers and furnaces in particular those arising from loss of pilot gas supply, over firing, flame impingement firebox over pressure, low tube flow, control of tube metal temperature (TMT).

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