Case Study

Flare Study Project


Permian Basin

West Texas

Oil & Gas Infrastructure

Upstream, Gas Processing

Market Landscape:

As federal regulations continue to change and become more stringent, Oil and Gas companies must conform to these guidelines in order to stay compliant.

One new federal regulation, the 40 CFR 60.18 requirement, demands that all emission sources resulting from maintenance, start-up, and shut down (MSS) activities must be processed by the plant flare beginning January 5, 2014. This new regulation is driving change in the energy industry as American Oil and Gas companies are forced to reduce their emissions across locations and now must process MSS activities via the flare.

Client Challenge:

As one of the largest natural gas processors, this leader in the midstream segment operates a large gas processing plant in Midland, TX. This client understood the immediate need to meet the new 40 CFR 60.18 federal regulation by 2014. None of their current flare stakes were fully compliant for processing MSS activities. In order to achieve compliance under the new regulation, this natural gas processor needed to re-direct maintenance blow- downs associated with the inlet machine and turbines from atmospheric release into the flare systems for processing. Additionally, plant shutdown procedures now require smokeless processing by the flare. To become compliant and increase their level of safe operation, the client turned to Halker Consulting (“Halker”) to update and baseline their engineering drawings.

The Solution:

Halker developed a comprehensive initial phase for the flare study project which included recommendations for locations of future tie-points and drawing sets that provide a global view and understanding of the flare systems to be used for meetings, training purposes, and engineering.

Halker identified and created the following deliverables to study the three existing plant flare systems:

  • Tie-point list
  • Flare system drawings
  • Flare device list
  • Independent review of recently installed equipmentand construction packages and thier production efficiency
The Result:

Halker developed a strong relationship with this client over the course of the first project phase.

Halker provided the client with a number of positive recommendations that will allow them to meet the new federal requirement on time which include:

  • Installing flare stacks designed to process the currentdesign rates. The new flare stacks would be equipped with flare tips that provide smokeless operation for scheduled maintenance blowdowns, startup/ shutdown, and continuous rates
  • Installing elevated vent and acid gas flare headers that are sloped towards new KO vessels
  • Verifying tie-point locations for new maintenance blowdowns
  • Verifying requirement for purge/sweep gas for vent and process flare
  • Providing structural design for the platform support that services the Imperial inlet to the flare header, or remove from service as Imperial inlet is locked out
  • Repair steps on the east side of the main flare pipe lane crossover

After Halker completed Phase 1, they began work on phase 2 which is still in progress. This phase of the project involves creating flare header simulations to analyze
flow to stack for MSS connections (planned) and ESD (unplanned) events to determine if the existing headers and stacks were adequate.

As a part of phase 2, Halker specified new equipment consistent with the phase 1 recommendations. The selected equipment will complete the construction packages that detail the routing of new blowdown sources to flare headers and the installation of new flare knockouts and stacks. With the installation of the equipment upgrades, the plant will be capable of processing all MSS activities and stay fully compliant when considering the upcoming regulation. Halker also assembled a local team in Midland, TX to execute both project phases cost efficiently and effectively and meet aggressive federal regulation deadlines.

Halker’s whole-systems approach helped this client optimize their existing infrastructure to maximize production and profit through safe and compliant engineered solutions. Halker provided valuable documentation that also helped the client make informed decisions regarding facility operation.