The Importance of SIL 3 & Safety Systems in Today’s Energy World
Posted: April 19, 2023
The oil and gas industry has put a great priority on resourcing innovative technology to promote the safety of people, equipment, and the environment. Whether by upgrading or by replacement, it’s undeniable that OEMs and operators understand the importance of keeping their safety systems current to industry standards.
Flow control valves are critical components of safety systems. In harsh subsea environments where the reliability of essential infrastructure is vital, hydraulic flow control valves play multiple roles. On a Blowout Preventer, they can help alleviate pressure kicks while drilling and initiating the closure of a BOP when issues arise. Among the most important advances are subsea high integrity pressure protection systems (HIPPS), which prevent unwanted discharge into the ocean while guarding against over-pressurization. Quick exhaust valves are a crucial component in HIPPS Systems to prevent over-pressurization in high pressure applications.
What is SIL 3—and Why is it Important for Safety Systems?
Safety Integrity Level 3 (SIL 3) is a standard measure of how safely a product performs. It’s a higher standard than either SIL 1 or SIL 2 in the SIL rating method. This means that SIL 3 is less likely to fail—specifically, it reduces risk of failure on demand by a factor of 1,000 to 10,000. This is excessive for many industrial applications—but necessary for dangerous situations the oil and gas industry encounters.
SIL 3 marks a standard for drilling and production equipment to ensure safe operations under adverse conditions. Reliable safety systems meet this requirement with redundant valves—if one valve malfunctions, a backup is available to ensure protection of the field assets.
The growing depth of offshore reservoirs has driven upstream equipment to increasing temperature and pressure requirements. Some upstream products have as high as a 20,000 psi pressure rating! A HIPPS with SIL 3 defends a lower pressure rated production line from over-pressurization in high pressure applications.
SIL 3 protection is particularly important for OEMs and operators who can’t afford failures of safety systems. The system must undergo certification by an independent party, as in the case of Gilmore’s quick exhaust valve, SIL certification by TÜV Rheinland. Certification entails demonstrating a comprehensive ability to make and deliver fail-safe components through arduous qualification testing.
Gilmore: Upholding Equipment Safety in the Oil and Gas Industry
The oil and gas industry faces numerous safety challenges. The high pressures on equipment can expose material to failure if insufficiently protected. Even a small misstep can cause damage to expensive infrastructure and the environment.
HIPPS offers operators a solution to the problem of having to replace older systems downstream from newer upstream systems. Gilmore’s QEV for HIPPS systems work in conjunction with other safety systems to protect subsea operations, saving operators time and money while reducing risk.
High Integrity Pressure Protection System (HIPPS)
A high integrity pressure protection system (HIPPS) is a significant safety system for the oil and gas industry, among other use cases. HIPPS monitors over-pressurization events and works to divert pressure surges. The HIPPS undergoes extensive testing before being put into service, in accordance with industry safety standards.
Operators don’t have to replace a lower pressure rated production system because the HIPPS system will allow them to flow back a new well of higher pressure into the existing production system. The growing importance given to environmental concerns and the advancements of drilling have increased well pressures which have made HIPPS critical safety systems more important than ever.
Quick Exhaust Valve (QEV)
A quick exhaust valve (QEV) contributes to HIPPS safety systems by activating barrier valves to close in the high pressure production fluid with regulated time, preventing high pressure going into the existing production system.
Gilmore’s QEV is certified for SIL 3 with redundant protection. Gilmore’s QEV for HIPPS can tolerate a thousand on-demand cycles. The soft seat valve works with an Inconel material structure to resist corrosion and oxidation.
When you need safe, reliable operations, it’s important to select an innovative technology partner who puts safety first, like Gilmore.
Rely on Safety Systems With Gilmore's QEV Redundant Protection
OEMs and operators need safety systems they can trust. Gilmore is the leader in producing flow control valves certified for safety; the SIL 3-compliant quick exhaust valve delivers high integrity pressure protection you can trust. These valves are not only safer, but work reliably without maintenance for decades.
Gilmore has been in the business for over sixty years and has proven expertise in the oil and gas industry. High-quality flow control products keep operations flowing. Schedule a call with Gilmore today to find out how better products can help you reduce operational costs, keep productivity high, and maintain safety in your drilling operations and processes.