5.0 Flare Inspection and Maintenance

Arriving Offshore for a Flare Tip Change-out

Arriving Offshore to Support a Tip Change-out

Flare tip inspection and maintenance, can be very costly and time consuming due to the stringent, safety and planning requirements that are mandatory within an operator’s organisation.

Historically when access was made to a flare tip, its condition would be largely unknown. In many cases remedial work would have to be untaken without any prior planning and this would frequently result in an extended shutdown/TAR if greater work became necessary.

Today this need not be the case. Argo Flare Services, provide a “FlyBy” flare inspection service, using a professional photographer with vast experience, and (in most cases) the shuttle helicopter.

Following the ‘Fly-By’, the operator recieves a full set of photographs and if requested a comprehencive flare report documenting the flare tip(s) condition. Provided the Fly-By is arranged ahead of a planned shutdown and access to the flare deck, the photographs coupled with the report, provide valuable information to assist with advanced planning of any remedial flare maintenance neccesary.

Should you find unexpected flare tip issues that require imediate, dedicated and focused attention, consider our “Flare Crisis Management” service for a fast bespoke solution, minimising your downtime.

Flare Maintenance.

Why you should look after your flare.

  • It’s good practice
  • The flare is the plant/platform safety relief device, designed to provide controlled combustion of hydrocarbon releases during operation and system trips
  • It is also an environmental device (methane is a greenhouse gas and is ~20 times more potent than CO2)
  • Whilst the flare is operating it’s condition is largely ignored/unknown
  • If considered, flare tip inspections are typically undertaken during a shutdown and only after the flare tower or boom has been isolated
  • Such inspections are infrequent and often undertaken by personnel with no previous flare experience. Tell tale signs of potential problems can often be missed
  • Even if maintenance requirements are correctly identified, it is often not possible to arrange for work to be carried out until the next available Shutdown
  • Note: The next planned shutdown could be beyond the remaining lifecycle of the flare.

Consequences of a Failing/Failed Flare.

  • Unsafe operation as a consequence of uncontrolled hydrocarbon release and gas cloud formation
  • Increased radiation on support structures, working areas, and surrounding equipment

Note: Flare tips are typically manufactured in temperature resistant alloys and are on long lead times.

  • Dropped objects
  • Increased back pressure and blowdown times
  • Lost production

Flare Inspection Objectives

  • To know and understand the condition of the flare and it’s potential life expectancy
  • To provide enough information to establish a plan for maintenance work for the pre-scheduled shutdown

Note: For offshore applications, specialist helicopter flare change-out crews can achieve tip change out within a single 12 hr day. Winter change outs give rise to other issues eg: restricted daylight/working hours, potential delays due to weather.

  • To determine what spares or materials are expected for maintenance or whether a replacement tip is required
  • To provide time to plan, schedule and book an installation contractor