Predicting Critical Equipment Failure

The failure of critical process equipment on a production plant can be very costly to an operator as it frequently results in process shutdowns, delays to repair or replace and loss of reputation. Equipment such as heat exchangers, compressors, pumps, turbines and hydrocyclones are all essential for oil and gas processing and unless the plant has multiple trains and substantial over-capacity there will at best be a reduction in throughput and at worst a total production halt. Rotating machinery tends to give advanced warning of failure, as there is often an increase in noise or vibration prior to failure but this is not always the case. Other items can fail silently unless the operator has access to analytical data based on design and historical performance. The equipment manufacturer is normally best placed to make this interpretation but is frequently unavailable to the operators at critical times.

The Geologix Operations Advisor (GOA) operates on real plant data and is not a simulation tool. It can track critical equipment performance on a real-time basis through the application of data analytics. The attached video shows a gas processing scenario in which GOA is monitoring the performance of a gas discharge cooler. The performance of the cooler is compromised by fouling, which results eventually in produced gas over-temperature and plant trip. Without the analytical solution it would be very difficult for the operator to predict the failure of the discharge cooler as there is no reliable method of measuring the level of fouling directly.