Manage Your Power to Enhance Safety, Improve Uptime
Second of Two Parts
In the summer issue, Part One examined a range of components engineered to improve safety and reliability. Part Two will explore a range of electrical distribution solutions engineered to improve the safety and reliability of upstream pumping operations. Oil and gas operations run in harsh, demanding environments, all of the time and around the world. To keep running, they require safe, reliable and efficient power.
Safety first. Personnel and equipment safety is paramount and even more so in offshore environments. At the same time, the cost of a power outage is enormous. Systems are expected to be up and running all the time. A range of electrical equipment is engineered to meet the rigorous application demands of upstream operations, and experienced service teams can customize solutions and upgrade existing systems to meet today’s demands and standards.
Part Two focuses on the electrical distribution solutions engineered to enhance safety, improve uptime and increase efficiency while meeting space constraints—which can be more limited in offshore applications.
Arc Flash Safety Standards—in Brief
The risk of an arc flash event is real, and it can instantaneously generate temperatures about four times the temperature of the sun. An arc flash is associated with the explosive release of energy caused by an electrical arc—due to either a phase-to-ground or phase-to-phase fault. This kind of fault can be the result of many factors—a dropped tool, accidental contact with electrical systems, a buildup of conductive dust, corrosion or improper work conditions.
Recent standards and design requirements—National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) 70E—are applicable to personnel who install, maintain or repair electrical systems. The purpose of NFPA 70E is to provide guidelines intending to limit injury to onset second-degree burns.
Motor Control, Engineered Arc Flash Protection
Motor control centers (MCCs) are routinely accessed for a variety of reasons—connecting or disconnecting starters or feeders, adjusting trip settings, replacing fuses, adding motor loads and general troubleshooting. To make adjustments, access to the interior of the unit buckets is required.
This means that the motor control center does not provide the highest level of personnel protection. Maintaining a deadfront barrier, such as a unit closed while connecting and disconnecting MCC starter or feeder units and providing insulated components or connections, significantly reduces the possibility of an arc-flash incident.