Automated Overpressure Protection Systems Saving Millions for Midstream Operations

Overpressure Protection System DepictedAs oil and gas flow rates continue to increase and environmental regulations become more restrictive, a growing number of midstream operations are adopting automated Overpressure Protection Systems (OPPS) to safeguard their investment, reduce expenditures and mitigate operational risk. In addition, the trend is quickly spreading across the process industries as more operators are finding substantial economic benefits to adopting these systems. 


An OPPS is designed to replace the function of mechanical pressure relief valves (PRVs) to reduce the probability for containment losses that can have significant economic impact and cause environmental, health and safety issues. While systems with manual PRVs mitigate overpressure events through venting or flaring, an OPPS uses sensors, logic solvers and final control elements to identify and isolate the source of overpressure quickly without exposing flared product to personnel or the environment. 


With an OPPS, oil and gas operations can reduce the cost of flare system usage, installation and expansions, saving millions in CapEx. From an operational perspective, having an OPPS can reduce the cost of manually testing PRVs as well as reduce the amount of errors and spurious trips associated with manual testing. 


The reduction in fugitive emissions is a significant benefit to operations using an OPPS, as environmental mandates restricting atmospheric release and flared gases are becoming more prevalent. More midstream companies are coming under pressure to stay current with industry standards, and because an OPPS can be SIL-rated, the switch from PRV systems is becoming easier and more widespread. 


Engineers at Houston-based systems integrator Barry D. Payne & Associates (BDP) began designing OPPSs for clients in the midstream sector in 2015 and have now designed and commissioned 12 such systems spanning nine individual sites. Emerson Impact Partner Puffer-Sweiven assists BDP in constructing the system panels and managing the licensing process. 

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