Top 10 checks in designing and delivering an LNG project - Part 1

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David Messersmith, Manager of LNG Technology and Services Group, Bechtel Corporation
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I have been asked many times over the years how does one avoid making choices that make negative impacts. The truth of the matter there are many things that can derail a project and the laws of probability work against us in eliminating all of them on a given project. However we must continuously try. I always remember a phrase I heard from my Father many times, it is not the number of mistakes you make that determines how professional you are, it is how you resolve and avoid repeating them in the future that others will use to make that determination.

The goal of any organization is to minimize errors to begin with through carefully structured and managed quality programs, to learn from previous issues and institute mechanisms to educate others on how to avoid the same, and finally manage the program to rectify the discovered error on the project. In the spirit of the original question, the following is offered for information and discussion for those interested. Although I have numbered them from 10 to 1, they are all significant and the reader can use their own order of priority, or subtract or add their own:

10. Design Checking – Most Engineering companies have a review and checking procedure that governs how issued documents are reviewed, checked and approved for release to be used by those who need the information. By nature, much engineering work evolves and the quality of the information increases with time. An effective practice is to ensure information flow to the end users identifies the quality or certainty of the information so the risk of performing further work on that basis is known and quantified.

9. Feed gas composition range – Many plant performance issues and limitations can be traced back to the design definition of the feed gas composition range... Plant performance will be significantly impacted if the actual variance of feed gas composition is much larger than anticipated. A good design practice is to anticipate possible and probable feed compositions, their periodicity of change and agree with the owners as to what ranges, and for how long periods of operations do they want to prepare for.

8. Capturing Alternate case operations – The multitude of individual systems and separate components of LNG plant systems are exposed to a wide range of operational conditions that need to be identified during design. Prudent design procedures also address conditions outside of the known operating range, especially for critical systems. Operations outside of normal design conditions may of course create bottlenecks to operations. In some cases, such outside of normal design range operations may pose potential risks to the protection devices or even the capability of the system to contain loss. . This evaluation of cases must be through and ongoing as new cases may be identified during subsequent review and in some cases during operations.

7. System Cleanliness prior to start up – Most contaminants will be detrimental to operations. Dirt and debris will plug small passages, contaminants will deposit where it is likely to be the biggest problem, and the damage is likely to increase over time. Proper procedures for clean turn over to operations pay for themselves quickly.

This is part 1 of a two-part article. Shortly we will be posting about the other 6 most significant checks in designing and delivering an LNG project. Follow us to discover more.

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