LeakSeek™ saves major refinery from replacing multi-million-dollar equipment and substantially lowers power consumption

Edmonton, Alberta (February 14, 2017) – Due to unknown issues affecting end-use demand for air, a major North American oil and gas refinery was looking at adding a new compressor. Before they went ahead and purchased the multi-million-dollar equipment, they consulted with INTEGRA Technologies, who proposed an “air energy audit” to investigate precisely where they were losing air on the backend. It was decided to conduct a study, utilizing LeakSeek™ Ultasonic Leak Detection technology, on both the utility and instrument air systems, to determine whether the problem could be solved by fixing potential air losses that were occurring across the plant.

Once INTEGRA Technologies was onsite, a full energy audit was executed utilizing LeakSeek™. What was found was significant failures in the following services

Instrument Air System

  • air actuators
  • air regulators
  • connectors
  • cracked lines
  • fitting leaks, and;

Yard air

  • valves passing or not fully closed

In other words, it was starting to look like the end-use air issues were due to ‘death by a thousand cuts’. In one case, a yard air valve was found to be passing at a rate of 90psi into the atmosphere.

The energy audit was conducted in five areas, with the following number of leaks and estimated air loss in each section:

Above: Chart displaying number of leaks and estimated air losses by Area

The three key areas of loss were found to be:

  • Valves Passing or failing due to age and style
  • Air Actuator Failures
  • Fitting Leaks

The estimated air system loss by operational area(s) were as follows:

Above: Pie chart of instrument air system estimated loss by Operational Area

Above: Pie chart of utility air system estimated loss by Operational Area

The whole refinery audit took 13-days of work with a small crew of technicians. The N2 systems were also audited at the same time, as the let down stations, where it comes off the main header line, were right beside the air lines.

Based on the results, and increase in performance following repair and maintenance of found deficiencies, the facility had the evidence needed to re-evaluate purchasing a new compressor. Based on the results of the Air Energy audit the facility was able to:

  • Pinpoint the deficiencies to correct their end usage problem and in turn keep up with demand
  • Increase plant efficiency, which supported economic reduction in power consumption
  • The baseline data and processes to institute an ongoing in-house program to effectively manage air system performance

Not only was there an economic impact to the facilities operating assets, but there was also long term daily cost saving from reduction in energy consumption supported by the increase in existing equipment performance.

To find out how LeakSeek™ Ultrasonic Leak Detection may benefit your plant, whether it be an energy audit while your up-and-running, or ensuring start-up and commissioning goes smoothly, contact INTEGRA Technologies today.