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EPS - Fire And Gas

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This package is divided into the following main headings:


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Introduction
Objectives
Principles of Operation
Summary
Self Test

Introduction
The overall aim of a Fire and Gas System is to monitor all air spaces where a fire or
accumulation of a potentially flammable mixture may occur and to detect these events, alert
personnel and initiate timely executive actions in order to minimize the consequences of the
event.

Objectives
Upon completion of this package, you should be able to:
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Explain which automatic executive actions are initiated upon fire detection.
List the different types of fire detection system in use.
Describe the different types of gas detectors in use.
Explain what considerations are given to the selection of detectors for different types of area.
List the interfaces between the fire and gas system and other systems.

Principles of Operation
The Fire and Gas system consists of a fire and gas control panel located in the CCR and a number of
detectors located at various points throughout the facility. The fire and gas panel is integrated into the
overall Process Shutdown and Monitoring System thereby providing the operator with a display of the
complete status of the facility.
The EPF will normally be subdivided into a number of separate fire zones each with its own set of fire
and gas detectors and separate fire protection. Subdivision is determined on an individual basis for each
plant and such factors as naturally occurring fire barriers (fire walls, bulkheads, physical separation),
capacity of the fire water system and the specific hazards present in each area are considered. For
compact plants where there are no inherent fire barriers, the entire process area and wellhead area is
considered a single fire zone. In general, the installation of fire walls for the sole purpose of dividing one
part of the plant from another for the purposes of zoning is not considered.
Typical zoning would be:
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Wellhead area (Zone 1)

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EPS - Fire And Gas


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Process area (Zone 2)


Central control room (Zone 3)
Electrical rooms (Zone 4)
Utilities area (Zone 5)

The operator interface with the fire and gas system is the CCR Panel and/or workstations. Individual gas
LEL levels are displayed.
Maintenance bypass facilities are provided to facilitate online testing of the fire and gas system. Fire and
gas alarms are displayed on the first-up alarm annunciator.
All input and output signals to the fire and gas panel are individually hardwired.
The fire and gas system automatically initiates fire protection systems on detection of fire.
The fire and gas system interfaces with the ESD system to initiate automatic shutdown and/or blowdown
of the process plant.

Fire Detection
Fires are detected using a combination of the following:
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Fusible loop heat detection (plastic tube)


Infrared flame detectors
Rate of rise heat detectors
Smoke detectors

The selection of detector type considers the probable type of fire in each area and the limitations of each
detector with respect to its ability to detect a fire in the specific environment. (i.e., smoke detection is
only suitable for use in confined spaces such as control rooms and switchgear rooms.) In high risk areas
and in areas where the consequential damage from a fire is great, two types of detection shall be used.
Typical selection of fire detection would be:
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The wellhead area - fusible loop heat detection system.


Process area - fusible loop heat detection and infrared flame detectors.
Control room and electrical rooms - optical smoke detectors and infrared flame detectors.
Enclosed machinery spaces - infrared flame detectors and rate of rise heat detectors. (In general,
ventilation rates in these areas are too high for smoke detectors to work satisfactorily.)

To reduce the incidence of spurious trips, IR flame detectors and smoke detectors will be voted on the
basis of any two detectors in the area. Sensing a fire shall cause executive action. Detection by a single
detector shall initiate a fire alarm. Where voting is employed, there shall be a minimum of three
detectors of the same type in a fire zone.
Automatic Executive Actions
Upon fire detection, the following executive actions shall be automatically initiated, wherever
applicable:

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EPS - Fire And Gas


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Isolation and disposal of hydrocarbon inventories.


Isolate energy supplies by shutdown of equipment .
Release of active fire protection systems (where installed).
Start firewater pumps.

The first two actions are initiated by the fire and gas system and executed via the process ESD system.
Active fire protection systems are released directly by the fire and gas system.
Facilities for remote and local manual release of fire protection are also provided.

Gas Detection
Gas detection systems are designed to detect potentially hazardous accumulations of flammable and
toxic gas. (Toxic gas detection is only installed when the crude oil is predicted to contain H 2S.) The
presence of gas will be detected using a combination of the following types of detectors:
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Catalytic type flammable gas detectors


Point type infrared gas detectors
Open path type infrared gas detectors
Catalytic type H 2S detectors

H2 S detectors raise alarms at 10 ppm and 20 ppm but do not initiate any executive actions.
The selection of detector type considers the type of gas which can be present in each area, the ventilation
systems and the physical layout of the equipment in the area.
When selecting gas detectors, consideration is also given to the long term reliability and stability of the
detectors. Infrared detectors are more expensive than catalytic types but do not suffer from the problems
of catalyst poisoning which reduces the sensitivity of catalytic types. Furthermore, IR detectors
incorporate fault monitoring circuitry to alert operators if a detector fails or loses sensitivity. Loss of
sensitivity of a catalytic type detector can only be determined by testing the detector. For this reason,
infrared detectors are recommended for longer term contracts where the saving in maintenance and
detector replacement will offset the higher capital cost of the detectors.
It is also possible to cover a larger area of the plant with a smaller number of detectors using open path
type IR technology. For this reason, open path type detectors are recommended for coverage of large
open areas irrespective of the duration of the contract.
Gas detection is always installed in or adjacent to the ventilation inlets serving control rooms,
switchrooms and enclosed equipment spaces.
Catalytic type flammable gas detectors initiate alarms and shutdowns as follows:
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One detector sensing gas at 20% LEL - low gas warning.


One detector sensing gas at 60% LEL - high gas alarm.
Two detectors in the same zone sensing gas at 60% LEL - shutdown and blowdown of the plant.

Point type infrared gas detectors (if used) initiate alarms and shutdowns as follows:

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One detector sensing gas at 20% LEL - gas warning.


Two detectors in the same zone sensing gas at 20% LEL - shutdown and blowdown of the plant.
One detector sensing gas at 60% LEL - shutdown and blowdown of the plant.

Open path type infrared gas detectors (if used) shall initiate alarms and shutdowns as follows:
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One detector sensing gas at 1 LEL meter - low gas warning.


One detector sensing gas at 3 LEL meters - shutdown and blowdown of the plant.

Gas detection levels are displayed in the central control room to allow the operator to assess the
magnitude, location and extent of a gas release.
A typical selection of detectors would be:
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Wellhead area - Two open path IR gas detectors


Process area - Four open path IR gas detectors, four point type IR gas detectors
Control room - Two point type IR gas detectors (one inside, one in ventilation inlet)
Electrical room - Two point type IR gas detectors (one inside, one in ventilation inlet)
Enclosed machinery space - Two point type IR gas detectors (one inside, one in ventilation inlet)

To achieve the same level of coverage with catalytic type detectors the following would be a typical
selection:
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Wellhead area - Four detectors


Process area - Twelve detectors
Control room - Six detectors (three inside, three in ventilation inlet)
Electrical room - Six detectors (three inside, three in ventilation inlet)
Enclosed machinery space - Six detectors (three inside, three in ventilation inlet)

Manual Detection
In addition to automatic detection of fire and gas, it is essential to provide a means by which personnel
throughout the installation can quickly alert the operator at the continuously manned CCR of any
hazardous event and its approximate location.
Therefore two separate manual detection systems are provided.
1. The first system is for general alarm and comprises a number of Manual Alarm Call (MAC)
break-glass stations located at strategic locations throughout the facility. These will initiate an
alarm on the alarm annunciator in the CCR and an audible alarm outdoors in the process facility.
2. The other is intended to be used in the event of a process incident and shall initiate a Surface
Process Shutdown (SPS) via the process ESD system.
Alarms
An audible alarm is installed in the process area (and visual alarm in high noise areas) to alert operators
in the area of potentially hazardous situations. This alarm sounds automatically for the following events:
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Manual call point operated


Fire alarm for any reason

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EPS - Fire And Gas


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Flammable gas detected at any level


Toxic gas detected

Interface with Other Systems


Process ESD System
Rig Systems (Offshore Installations)
From process F&G System:
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Start firewater pump


Fire detected
Gas detected (low level)
Gas detected (high level)

From rig to process F&G System


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Fire detected
Gas detected

Summary
In this training page, we have discussed the following points:
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The types of fire detectors in use.


The types of smoke and gas detectors in use.
The automatic executive actions taken upon fire detection.
The suitability of detectors for the area's in which they work.

Self Test
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List the four types of fire detector currently in use.


Explain the voting system employed for use with IR detectors and smoke detectors.
Explain what executive actions are initiated upon fire detection.
List the four types of gas detectors currently in use.
What is the function and limitations of the H 2S detectors.
What are the advantages/disadvantages of IR detectors compared with catalytic type detectors.
Which types of detectors would you expect to find in the well head area?
Which types of detectors would you expect to find in the control room?
What minimum events must raise an alarm in the process area?
What other systems interface with the Fire and Gas system?

Your feedback about the information presented in this topic is welcome.


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EPS - Fire And Gas

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A list of references on this topic is available.
You can access the original graphics presented in this topic and use them to build your own
presentations.

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