Home Health Case Studies in Maintenance and Reliability: A Wealth of Best Practices
Locations in East Asia
Facility: Liquefied Natural Gas Plant
This Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Plant was located on the coast. There were three production modules, where the natural gas was compressed and cooled, thereby liquefying it at -260°F. Steam turbines, each 9 MW in size, powered the nine refrigeration compressors. The plant generated its own electricity, using gas turbine and steam turbine driven alternators. Steam, at 60 bar gauge (barg.), was raised in 9 boilers. There were two liquid nitrogen generators to produce the nitrogen required for blanketing and as purging medium. The LNG was stored in double-walled cryogenic (extra low temperature) tanks. Dedicated LNG Tankers carried the cargo to the customers, from a company-owned deep-water jetty. The natural gas vapors, formed by evaporation from the storage tanks and by displacement from the tankers, were collected and compressed for use in the boilers and gas turbines.
Cryogenic plants require special materials of construction because low-carbon or low-alloy steels are prone to brittle fracture at low temperatures. The main materials used include aluminum and austenitic stainless steels. Aluminum is a difficult metal to weld and needs specially qualified welders and welding processes.
Most of the local people employed in the plant were middle-school or high- school graduates. They were young and enthusiastic, but with little exposure to heavy industrial or high hazard plants. Although expatriates held most of the senior technical positions, local engineering graduates were placed in supporting roles so that they could take over senior positions quickly.
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