Diesel engine packages providing power to ATEX Ex temporary well service equipment such as cementers, N2 units, wireline, and pump units should be regularly inspected; ideally every year. But who does this inspection and is it done to the correct Ex standards? Rob Double from Pyroban’s Oil and Gas team explains.

The oil and gas sector has gone through many changes in recent years and people who were originally responsible for equipment may no longer be in the industry. So, what is really happening offshore with ageing Ex protected equipment (including Pyroban supplied equipment) is not always clear, particularly when the technical expertise has been lost.

What are the explosion proof inspection requirements offshore?

The first thing to remember is that Pyroban provides safety systems for diesel engines which, without proper protection, can be the source of an ignition of flammable hydrocarbons.  Therefore, it is mission critical that the safety systems are not compromised.

That’s why the ATEX Directive requires the end user to “demonstrate that work equipment is designed and maintained with due regard for safety.” It calls for all equipment to be maintained in accordance with EN60079-17:2014 which states that an inspection routine should be introduced to ensure the continued safe operation of equipment.

For instance, many electronic engines and transmissions use an Ex nR protection concept, EN60079-17:2014 states that “restrictive breathing enclosures with provision for routine checking shall be subject to periodic pressure test measurement (see IEC 60079-15) at intervals of six month or more, as experience dictates”.

Pyroban inspections of temporary well service packages

Pyroban has a team of CompEx certified service engineers that can provide safety inspections offshore or when units have been brought back to the base for maintenance, reconditioning, or redeployment. This service complements the work that existing maintenance engineers and other operational staff may be doing adding an extra layer of assurance.

The Pyroban Annual Safety Audit (Ex-ASA) is a thorough inspection of all safety critical components and systems by experienced Pyroban engineers. Not only does it provide equipment owners and equipment operators peace of mind, an Ex-ASA is a solution which provides a means of compliance to the ATEX Directives and IECEx if carried out annually.

All safety critical components of Pyroban’s explosion protection system are inspected and recorded, including electrical Ex e, Ex nR, Exd enclosures, cables and glands, shutdown devices, exhaust system, flame arrestors, spark arrestors, thermal properties, and more. Irregularities need to be addressed and once correctly repaired the equipment can be re-inspected and an inspection certificate issued.

Some Pyroban systems are now on their last time buy availability, during the inspection we can help identify parts that might need replacing or help with an upgrade or strategy discussion to keep the assets up to date and relevant.

An Ex-ASA can also prove beneficial when purchasing a used piece of equipment or following refurbishment or modification.

Our experience can also be called upon to inspect non-Pyroban equipment.

Pyroban Engineers have all the essential training for immediate deployment offshore including BOSIET (basic offshore safety induction and emergency training), FOET (Further Offshore Emergency Training), CompEx and BS7671 training/qualifications.

We recommend that an Ex-ASA is carried out yearly to ensure your equipment is fully protected and working correctly. For more information contact our technical team on +44 (0) 1273 456800 or info@pyroban.com.