For OMV Petrom S.A., the largest gas and oil producer in Romania in southeastern Europe, safety, efficiency and compliance with European regulations are major criteria in critical applications such as burner management systems. For this reason, OMV Petrom’s Petrobrazi refinery decided to invest in new fuel gas lines and safety systems for its heaters and furnaces to make the units safer and more efficient.
In burner management systems, extraordinary reliability is expected from the on-off and safety valves, as unnecessary shutdowns of a heater would cost hundreds of thousands of dollars on a daily basis. In hazardous cases especially, the safety shut-off valves must close under all circumstances. In addition to shut-off safety, the on-off valves in front of the burners are responsible for managing the correct heat temperature. This means that reliable switching is very important, as it reduces operational costs and increases the heater efficiency.
Even exceeding safety standards
OMV Petrom’s emphasis on complying with and even exceeding the standards for tightness and safety established by the European health, safety and environmental (HSE) regulations made its valve selection task even more difficult. The company also expected that the chosen valves should be able to perform like new over a long period of time. As shutdowns for inspection and maintenance are costly, regular shutdowns are normally scheduled only once every four years, and they need to be performed as quickly as possible to minimize downtime.
Moreover, to protect the health of the operators and the environment, the best possible valve sealing over its full operational lifetime was required to avoid fugitive emissions of hazardous and toxic fuel gases.
Meeting challenges with a unique design
The OMV Petrom Petrobrazi refinery chose Neles’ valves for its fuel gas safety shutdown and burner on-off applications. Neles’ soft-seated Jamesbury Series 7000 and 9000 ball valves are made for highly demanding applications like fuel line emergency shut-off and switching applications. The patented Lip-Seal design and the unique Xtreme seat material not only provide superior long-term bubble tightness, but the cavity relief feature enables safe operation even in the event of sudden temperature increases. This allows any fuel gas overpressure that might build up in the ball valves’ cavities to be released automatically on the upstream side.
The Jamesbury polymer Xtreme material was developed by Neles to retain tightness under a high number of thermal cycles and valve strokes, even exceeding the 250,000 strokes required by EN 161, which is the standard for automatic shut-off valves in gas burners and gas applications.
Moreover, the shaft sealing design ensures the highest level of reliability and safety while achieving the lowest possible operational costs. The Jamesbury ball valve series is certified according to the most relevant fugitive emission standards, such as VDI 2440/Ta-Luft and ISO 15848-1 BH.
To fulfill European directives, OMV Petrom followed EN 746-1, the standard for safety requirements in combustion and fuel handling systems, which requires that only EN 161-certified valves be used in burner management systems. Neles’ fuel on-off valve units and emergency shut-off valve units are approved by TÜV Rheinland according to EN 161 Class A and certified according to IEC 61508 SIL 3. The approvals include Neles ValvGuard, the intelligent safety solenoid with partial stroke testing and diagnostic features. Neles ValvGuard provides additional safety and predictive maintenance capabilities.
Increasing safety, reducing costs
Since OMV Petrom has all relevant approvals and certificates for the fuel gas shut-off valves and therefore fully complies with European directives and regulations, the on-site approval process could be accelerated.
High process stability and safe operation are achieved through the unique design of Neles’ Jamesbury ball valves created specifically for burner applications. In turn, this ensures that the operational targets of the process heaters are met according to the planned shutdown schedule.
The simple and maintenance-friendly design of Jamesbury’s burner valves reduces operational costs and shortens downtime. Neles also provides full support through its single-source responsibility.
Text by Andreas Pischke
The text has been up-dated in July 2020, due to company name change to Neles.