Despite regulations becoming more and more stringent, significant quantities of gas are still flared around the world every year. Indeed, for safety reasons, flaring remains a usual practice in oil and gas production in cases of process upset. For instance, emergency shutdown, when the unit must be depressurized in a short period of time, most of the gas inventories are flared to limit as much as possible the potential consequences of fire and explosion within the facility.
With the increase of the global demand for energy and especially in Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG), the recent development of Floating Liquefied Natural Gas unit (FLNG) has raised new challenges concerning flare stack design. Since FLNG facilities handle large flammable gas quantities the flare stack needs to be designed considering much more stringent cases. It results in an increased length of flare stack, to reduce the radiation effects on personnel and equipment. The thermal response of the flare structure needs also to be accounted for in the design, in addition to other load cases such as piping and structural weight or vessel accelerations.
To accomplish the structural design of the flare stack, the engineers will have to convert the radiative heat fluxes from the flame into the resulting temperature of the structure exposed.
Indeed, temperature is the parameter that can be used as a thermal load case in any finite element analysis calculation code. Current temperature mapping methodologies applied on projects are not exhaustive and are often based on a simplified approach which is now challenged by operators and certification bodies who require more detailed verifications on flare structure heating during continuous or emergency flaring. Moreover, such simplified modelling approaches tends to overestimate thermal protection to mitigate the heat radiation impact.
The proposed approach described in this paper will address these points through a multidisciplinary workflow to form a flexible, simple and robust technical methodology to be applied during project execution. The proposed approach will assess heat radiation and temperature calculations in a spatial-temporal reference including the dynamic response.
This transient approach is more attractive as computed temperatures will be lower than steady-state approach results which are the usual engineering practice, especially for accidental loading cases, such as emergency depressurization, where the flare release can decrease quickly.