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Your guide to implementing a successful downstream sampling programme

Published by , Editorial Assistant
Hydrocarbon Engineering,

Capturing representative samples and protecting the operator is critical in high-temperature and high-pressure applications commonly found in refineries. That is why it is essential to develop and implement a reliable downstream sampling programme, starting with a strategy that will keep your equipment running properly for years.

An adequately designed representative sampling system with the right sampling equipment ensures process samples are repeatable and reliable every time to help refineries:

  • Maximise return on investment.
  • Better manage loss control.
  • Reduce operating costs.
  • Comply with industry standards.

However, refineries often operate sampling systems as separate entities within the plant. This leaves plants open to gaps and potential risks in their sampling programme. Refineries can mitigate these risks with a holistic sampling programme.

Establish a holistic downstream sampling programme

1. Identify your equipment needs

It can be challenging to know how to plan and implement a service programme. Plant operators and maintenance personnel are often unsure about how to implement a sampling programme that will help them make strategic decisions.

Successfully identify your refinery's needs by defining the type of updates and equipment for your process applications. This process should include:

  • Assessing assets.
  • Identifying sampling needs.
  • Prioritising needs.
  • Executing and implementing the sampling system.
  • Developing a maintenance schedule.

Do you need to repair or replace it?

When reviewing your sampling needs, it can be challenging to know when to continue maintaining or repairing equipment and when to replace it. Many industrial plants in the US were built decades ago and were not expected to operate still. Yet, many are still running today, often well past their expected life span. Hydrocarbon sampling systems and equipment are often overlooked within these plants, even as new technology and regulations demand more from them.

With ageing equipment and facilities, operators face increasing challenges in maintaining equipment's reliability, integrity, and safety. One of the biggest hidden threats to your plant's efficient and safe operation is deteriorating sampling equipment.

Choosing the right upgrade or replacement based on crucial considerations can give downstream plants a second life and help avoid downtime or even a devastating shutdown.

When deciding whether to hang on to a piece of equipment through regular maintenance or spend the funds to upgrade or replace it, asset managers must consider several factors, including:

  • Cost of the repair, upgrade or replacement.
  • Age of the equipment.
  • Process condition exposure.
  • Harsh environmental condition exposure.
  • Expected lifecycle with or without repairs/upgrade.

2. Meet application needs with detailed planning

Ensure your programme's longevity with a detailed sample panel audit that helps you successfully match the sampler to your application needs.

Conducting a site-wide sampling audit evaluates a plant's sampling programme to help ensure that all sampling stations seamlessly work together. A comprehensive audit also helps refinery operators and managers develop a clear plan of action to ensure monitored processes remain safe and running correctly.

A sampling audit is a technical review of a sampling system's Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT). Certified sampling experts conduct audits to identify SWOTs in business areas, sampling units/types, and within specific samplers.

This analysis reviews:

  • If any updates, modifications or new systems need to be added.
  • Priority of divisions based on the refinery's needs.
  • Estimated costs of potential repairs, edits, etc.
  • Risks associated with not taking recommended action(s).

Audits also take into account pressure (PSI), temperature, and processes being audited to make a series of recommendations for the refinery.

Match your sampling system to your applications

Capturing representative samples and protecting the operator is critical in high-temperature and high-pressure applications commonly found in hydrocarbon processing. An experienced provider can help guide you through choosing the suitable sampler for your application.

3. Maximise your investment

A new sampling system needs a well-planned startup and commissioning process to maximise the accuracy and extend the life of your investment. Sampling expertise ensures your equipment is brought online quickly and accurately while helping operators understand the system's intricacies to maximise the life of your investment.

This process should include:

  • Evaluating the application.
  • Evaluating the sampler placement.
  • Identifying peripherally necessary conditions.
  • Adequate checks of equipment.
  • Conducting startup commissioning and training after installation.

Optimise your sampling programme with training

Conducting training at every level of a refinery ensures that all sampling stations and the processes they measure seamlessly work together. Training plant operators to properly monitor the system's intricacies also provides shortened startup and reliable performance of your equipment, helping maximise accuracy and confidence in your system's measurements.

Training should begin when an employee is hired and include equipment orientation and comprehensive plant safety training per OSHA 1910 Plant Safety Regulations. After the initial training is completed, regular follow-up training sessions should be held for all employees regularly.

Implement a successful downstream sampling programme

For safety and efficiency, it is critical to implement a downstream sampling programme in your plant or refinery.

Ready to learn more? It's all in Sentry Equipment’s eBook, 'Implementing a Successful Downstream Sampling Program'. In it, you will learn how to:

  • Establish a holistic downstream sampling programme.
  • Develop a refinery-wide sampling strategy.
  • Identify your equipment needs.
  • Recognise when to repair or replace your equipment.
  • Maximise your investment with installation and training.

Simply click here to read it in full!

About Sentry Equipment

When Dick Henszey took over The Henszey Company that was founded in 1924, he renamed it Sentry Equipment because the company ‘guarded’ material integrity and boiler systems against corrosion. That, with five employees and a bold vision, has grown into a global enterprise of 180 employee-owners who serve customers in over 50 countries across six continents. The company delivers true representative sampling and analysis techniques to its customers, empowering them to accurately monitor and measure processes for improved production efficiency, output and safety. Standing behind its commitments, the company determined to tackle any application, anywhere.

Running an efficient operation is not easy. It requires thorough, careful analysis of controlled, real-time data achieved through reliable, accurate and repeatable process monitoring and measuring. Sentry Equipment’s products and services effectively condition, sample and measure gas, liquid, slurry, powder, solids, steam or water to help its customers obtain the critical insights they need to control and optimise their processes.

If you’d like to learn more about Sentry Equipment, just follow this link.

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