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In the early days, a facility such as petroleum production platform would have to be shutdown, a production well in clusters wells will have to be shut down during drilling, and pipeline to be purged and cleaned of flammable material before any hot work operation can take place. This challenge has been taken care of by the development and use of positive pressure hot work habitats.
A habitat is a tent made of flexible fire retardant panels designed to be enclosed over an area where hot work is performed in other to create an overpressure environment that acts as a barrier between an ignition source (hot work) and an explosive/fire hazard (hydrocarbon). It is portable and inflatable structure designed to facilitate hot work in Zone1 area.
It is a stand-alone system that does not require tie-in to vessel gas detection or control systems, or costly production shut downs. The fire retardant panels easily fit together to provide a pressurized environment, creating a safe enclosure when there is a requirement for hot work (welding, burning, cutting, grinding etc.) and electrical cabling in potentially hazardous areas.
Live Plant/Platform/Well + Hot Work = Habitats = No Risk of Fire or Explosion
It is designed to provide a safe module in which hot work can be safely executed while the platform or plant is live. Habitats are designed in such a way to enclose a well or be sealed around pipe work and equipment, and suit all applications, pipe repairs, structural repairs, inspections, drilling in cluster wells, etc.
Components of a Habitat
The principal components of the habitat are the flame or fire retardant flexible panels which are zipped together and sealed with velcro. This allows any size and shape of habitat to be created. The habitat doors are manufactured from marine aluminium. They are light and easy to handle but still robust enough to withstand the rigours of the offshore and swamp weather. Transparent panels allow the fireguard or habitat operator to observe the operation inside, while monitoring the pressure control gauge. Portable gas detector is used to monitor ingress of hydrocarbons. There are also scaffolds for anchoring the habitat panels.
The habitats provided by Engineering Systems Limited offer two main objectives:
1. Containment – The panel arrangement ensures that grinding sparks and/or welding slag have no possibility to escape from the enclosure. This prevents fire/explosion triggers from reaching flammable gases and hydrocarbons.
2. Pressurisation – The inflated enclosure creates an internal overpressure which acts as a barrier to prevent the ingress of hydrocarbons into the enclosure where hot work is going on.
Operation of a Habitat
During Habitat operation, air is pumped into the habitat enclosure through a fan or blower forcing any local atmospheric contaminants outside and preventing gases circulating from entering, making the inside intrinsically safe. Within just a few minutes the entire atmosphere within the habitat is completely refreshed with air taken from a safe area outside of the specified zone, using an extractor fan. The habitat is inflated and the positive pressure maintained by a fan or blower which is ran from an air compressor.
During hot work in a habitat, Portable Gas Detector, which acts as a sniffer. is used to continuously monitor local exterior air supply and the source of ventilation air. Detection of gas shall result in immediate and complete stoppage of hot work. If for any reason the air supply is disrupted and pressure is lost during hot work, the habitat will not collapse, as It will be supported by straps fixed to the scaffolds or structure on which the panels are anchored.
Application & Use
Habitat is useful in conditions where it is forbidden to use open fire. Hence, it is a crucial element at offshore installations, onshore and petrochemical plants during drilling, repair and modification works. Habitats are typically used for the following construction and drilling applications:
ü Installation & tie-in of new pipe work for Brownfield developments and Campaign
ü Installation of new structural supports and skids for platform/plant upgrades.
ü Repair of critical plant & equipment, cable splicing and housing non-EX equipment.
ü Hot work during drilling activities on cluster wells.
ü Floating, Production, Storage and Offloading, FPSO
Features & Advantages
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