Feb 01 2012

PFS launches game changing fire deluge safety testing technology


+ Flow Services


Paradigm Flow Services, the blockage removal experts for the oil and gas sector, is demonstrating a ground breaking new technology that will change the way oil and gas operators carry out fire deluge safety testing for the first time in 50 years.

Forming part of the company’s Deluge Integrity Management service for clients, the Dry-Flo testing technology eliminates issues with conventional wet testing for fire deluge safety systems which can lead to blockages.

Wet testing, where firewater is pumped through the deluge system to check flow through nozzles, can cause problems with corrosion under insulation, water ingress to electrical junction boxes, and flooding of the process module drains - global issues for oil and gas operators but a particular concern on ageing assets. Dry-Flo successfully uses conditioned and dehumidified air to assess the functionality of deluge nozzles, with remote sensors strategically placed to pick up the air wave signatures throughout the deluge system.

Rob Bain, managing director of Paradigm Flow Services, said: “Operators are looking for a way to minimise exposure to the problems with current testing methods. With a 20% rise in hydrocarbon releases from April 2013 to March 2014 and a 50% initial test failure rate in UK deluge systems, the importance of effective fire safety systems cannot be underestimated. Now is the right time to introduce these new testing measures which will transform how the industry benchmarks deluge performance for the first time in fifty years.

The Dry-Flo system dovetails with the Health and Safety Executive’s KP4 initiative which aims to improve awareness and management of the risks associated with ageing assets in the offshore oil and gas industry, and also the Asset Stewardship & Technology Strategies from the Wood Review UKCS Maximising Recovery Review.”

The Dry-Flo technology will be demonstrated to clients and industry stakeholders at Paradigm’s new office in Drumoak, Aberdeenshire over the next three days, 18th-20th November. The site includes a full scale 50 nozzle deluge system which has been specifically designed to replicate an offshore environment.

This industry first is game-changing for fire safety testing offshore. Not only does it address the risks associated with wet testing and corrosion; it is quicker to set up and complete the testing, it eliminates the need to cover and protect electrical equipment and it can be conducted while the deluge system is live. This means it is much less intrusive and there are no risks of accidental shutdown due to seawater ingress, reducing the impact on production. Additional benefits are a reduction in personnel required, compared with conventional wet testing, and it is more cost effective.

The data picked up from the air wave signatures is compared against hydraulic models developed by Paradigm engineers and the highly accurate sensors detect any deviations from optimum function. This can help to predict and pinpoint any issues with life-saving fire equipment and enables Paradigm to make recommendations on the best course of remediation.

Paradigm’s Deluge Integrity Management Service applies to the lifetime of safety critical fire water systems. From design and hydraulic modelling to maintenance, inspection and testing, technical experts from the Paradigm team support clients in achieving an efficient and HSE compliant life-of-field solution for fire safety, underpinned by an annual MOT to ensure ongoing effectiveness.