Why sulphur presents ADNOC with such a challenge
Douglas Louie from Worley Parsons explains the problems facing ADNOC
Related blog post: ADNOC's sulphur conundrum a real stinker
One of of our readers, Douglas Louie, a senior process specialist with WorleyParsons, has emailed in a superb jargon-busting explanation about the technical issues associated with the design and construction of a 275km sulphur pipeline.
Designing long sulphur pipelines is in some respects similar to any other long distant pipeline. There must be adequate support and allowance for thermal expansion.
The unique challenge is that sulphur will freeze if temperatures are not maintained. If sulphur should freeze in the line it may take days to weeks to thaw depending on the extent of the blockage.
The design should consider backups for the heating system. The design, installation and maintenance of the pipeline insulation and jacketing are also critical. Poor or missing insulation will result in high heat losses leading to freezing in the line.
Minimizing the number of flanges is also good practice. Flanges are potential leak points and there is the potential that leaking sulphur will ignite.
The design should consider dividing the pipeline into sections with intermediate storage and pumping stations. This will minimize the risk of one continuous 275km pipeline but costs will be higher.
- Many thanks for that Douglas. If anyone else has anything to add please drop me us an email.