Addressing Sea Water Line Leakage in a Refinery

Addressing Sea Water Line Leakage in a Refinery

This case study focuses on a utility issue faced by a refinery, specifically related to the seawater line used for cooling purposes. The refinery required a substantial amount of cooling water sourced from the sea, which was transported over a distance of 20 km. However, the seawater line experienced frequent leaks, causing disruptions and inconvenience for nearby communities. This write-up discusses the investigation, approach, action, and results taken to address the issue.


As the head of the utility and power plant department, the promoter of BiC, the service provider company, was responsible for resolving the sea water line problem. It was identified that the line, made of FRP (Fiber Reinforced Plastic), was not susceptible to corrosion but its mechenical strength was not like steel. Extensive data collection and analysis revealed that the root cause of the leaks was water hammering.


To mitigate the issue, the team focused on many reasons but the focus was on the standard operating procedure for starting and stopping the pump responsible for water flow. The investigation highlighted that pump changeover and complete shutdown of the line were common points of failure leading to leakage. ( it took time to trace)


It was decided that the pump should never be stopped for any reason, ensuring a continuous flow of water between the forward and return lines, as the refinery lacked storage facilities. Clear instructions were provided to operators regarding pump changeover procedures, emphasizing the need to avoid frequent stopping and starting of the pump. power availability was assured through the 33KV line and no shutdown was permitted.


Following the implementation of the new approach, where the pump ran continuously without interruption, no further leakage was observed. Additionally, minor issues related to other aspects were addressed during scheduled shutdowns, improving the overall efficiency and reliability of the system.


The BiC promoter, with their extensive expertise and 45 years of experience in the industry, successfully resolved the seawater line leakage issue in the refinery. This case study highlights the importance of scientific analysis, root cause investigation, and the belief that every problem has a solution. The refinery's high stake in uninterrupted water supply made it crucial to find a sustainable resolution. Patience, persistence, and consistency were key factors in identifying and implementing the appropriate solution. The study also emphasizes the significance of expert guidance and support in achieving successful outcomes in complex industrial settings.

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