It is known that the oilfield industry inherently poses many hazards. Therefore, it is crucial to have and implement emergency shutdown systems that will minimize risks. These are put in place to proactively tackle an emergency and protect humans, industrial plants, and the environment.

Implementing an emergency shutdown system offers a disciplined, systematic approach for hazard identification, safety requirement specifications, and safety system designs, operations and maintenance. For optimal operational efficiency and safety, we have laid out the most important reasons as to why oilfields must have emergency shutdown systems.

  1. Safety: Enough protection from failure or danger. Safety controls are designed so that anything that can harm a system, does not influence the operating state of a plant, where the hazard potential is lowered. Measuring safety levels will indicate the chance of a system not performing during its specified time interval.
  2. Reliability: The ability of a system to fulfill its function during its operation time. To measure reliability, experts use “Mean Time Between Failure”.
  3. Availability: The probability that a system will function. This is calculated in percentage, by dividing the mean operating time between the mean down time of a system.

Emergencies in the oilfield typically involve:

  • flooding
  • leaks
  • escape of hydrocarbons
  • fire outbreaks
  • pressurized gases

In short, emergency shutdown systems are so important because, in case of an emergency, not having these, can bring a series of detrimental repercussions: economically, environmentally, and operationally.

Elements in a Shutdown System:

  1. Emergency shutdown valve
  2. Valve actuator
  3. Emergency shutdown controller
  4. Alarm

It is crucial to conduct risk analysis that follow the high safety standards. Generally, emergency shutdown systems need a high SIL (Safety Integrity Level) of 2 or 3. This defines the level or risk-reduction given by a safety function or procedure. The chart below depicts the Emergency Shutdown levels used in the petroleum industry:

ESD LevelActionMagnitude of incidentCost of Incident
1Total facility shutdownCatastrophicLess than $10,000
2Unit or plant shutdownSevereUp to
$1 million
3Equipment shutdownMajorUp to
4Equipment protective system shutdownSlightLess than $10,000
5Non-ESD process and control alarmsRoutineAround

The activation of an Emergency Shutdown System should be as simple as possible, and the measurements taken depend on the magnitude of the emergency. Also, inspectors and personnel should be trained and knowledgeable when assessing these kinds of protection systems.  Trainings should include proper operation and maintenance procedures from start-up to shut down, as well as during operations and during an emergency such as a leak or spill.

Learn more about Plainsman’s Shutdown Systems here!
Shutdown by Levels examples of actions

  • Shutdown parts of the system
  • Isolate Hydrocarbon and/or stop hydrocarbon flow
  • Isolate Electrical equipment
  • Depressurize
  • Emergency ventilation control
  • Close watertight doors and fire doors

Why Plainsman?

Safety Shutdown Systems from Plainsman include our HiLo-Matic product line. This is a self-contained, zero emission and reliable valve shutdown system that does not require external power. Plainsman is capable of providing a complete turnkey system, assembled, tested and ready for on-site operation.

Remember there is no such thing as zero risk. Thus, it is crucial to plan ahead to minimize and prevent failures, specially in a volatile industry like Oil & Gas. It is beneficial to plant owners, staff, the operations of a plant, and the environment!
Give us a call today! Our team of experts would love to be the ones to help you, Call Toll Free 1-877-448-0586.