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Flaring

Definition

Flaring refers to the operation of sending to the flare for the atmospheric combustion the gases and sometimes the liquids which could not be processed in the cycle of production.

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Flaring takes part of all the oil & gas and petrochemical processes, upstream and downstream, in order to control over-pressures which may come from wells, valves, compressors or any source within the pumping or transformation operations.

Whenever industrial plant equipment items are over-pressured, the pressure relief valves provided as essential safety devices on the equipment automatically release gases and sometimes liquids.

Those pressure relief valves are required by industrial design codes and standards as well as by law.

The released gases and liquids are routed through large piping systems called flare headers to a vertical elevated flare.

The released gases are burned as they exit the flare stacks.

The size and brightness of the resulting flame depends upon the flammable material’s flow rate in terms of joules or BTU per hour.

Most industrial plant flares have a vapor-liquid separator (also known as a knockout drum) upstream of the flare to remove any large amounts of liquid that may accompany the relieved gases.

In order to keep the flare system functional, a small amount of gas is continuously burned, like a pilot light, so that the system is always ready for its primary purpose as an over-pressure safety system.

On the upstream activities it is mainly used to burn the associated gas when this gas cannot be collected or marketized.

On the downstream processes it is more used as a safety device to regulate the whole refinery or petrochemical complex.

In both cases, flaring has a strong impact on the environment in producing massive CO² emissions.

In addition flaring is reflecting the inefficiency of the whole process.

Therefore all the operating companies are investing capital expenditure for gas flare recovery on existing facilities and to design the greenfield plants to minimize flaring, reduce their carbon footprint and improve overall performances.

For more information and data about oil and gas and petrochemical projects go to Project Smart Explorer

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