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Category: Refining
Question: What is the typical frequency for a flare inspection in a refinery?
Keywords: flare,inspection,frequency
Answer: Flare inspection programs are more often dictated by practical rather than theoretical considerations. For example, if your refinery is served by a single flare, you have no option but to schedule the inspection of the flare along with the maintenance and inspection turnaround schedule for the rest of the process units. In such a scenario, you should inspect the flare whenever you are allowed to do so. Some refineries have a spare flare stack. You can, then, offer a stack for inspection after a year of operation. A good flare stack maintenance program, must, of course, include an inspection of the flare burner tip, pilot burner tip and the molecular seal. It is also a good idea to carry out a thickness survey of the refinery flare header and unit flare headers whenever you can. Flare headers can sometimes get choked with debris from upsets/continous operation. You can perhaps break a flange to see the available flow area in the header. Experience with flare headers indicate that it is a good idea to keep a slight nitrogen purge in the header during a maintenance and inspection shutdown to prevent air ingress. The headers always contain pyrophoric iron which can ignite upon exposure to oxygen. You should carry out routine checks (monthly) on the pilot burner ignitor circuit. Finally, during an inspection shutdown, the pilot and fuel gas header lines should be flushed, preferably with nitrogen. If you have a nitrogen crisis, you can use LP steam, but make sure you drain out the condensate.