Lightning Protection for Pipelines
Pipeline Compressor and Pump Stations
Poor grounding and bonding at pipeline compressor and pump stations often goes unnoticed until it is too late, and short circuit, lightning, or static discharge activities occur. Power generators, motor operated valves (MOVs), level transmitters, flow transmitters, SCADA communication, cathodic protection, and process skid grounds are often independently grounded. Too often, there is confusion about the separation of signal reference grounds, power grounds, and safety grounds during installation. Nearby lightning activity induces voltages in communication and power cables as well as ground references. Petro Guardian’s structured approach to lightning protection grounding, single point grounding, and surge protection minimizes electronic circuit failure, and helps avoid lost product, lost billing, and unhappy customers.
Static Buildup - Vessels and Pipeline
Static buildup in vessels and pipelines is common due to the flow of volatile fluids. Poor grounding and bonding of vessels can lead to damaging electrostatic discharge, which can ignite hydrocarbon vapors. Pipelines, steel storage tanks, and fiberglass storage tanks require a structured grounding and bonding plan to avoid static accumulation. Petro Guardian’s in-tank static control measures prevent fiberglass tank fires that are caused by accumulating charges inside the tanks.
Although direct lightning on pump and compressor stations is a serious threat, NFPA780-compliant structural lightning protection systems are too often overlooked in the design process. Traditional air terminals permit the formation of high-energy streamers that can ignite hydrocarbon vapors. Petro Guardian understands that the appropriate choice, height, and placement of air terminals is critical to avoid lightning-related fires.
The vast length of a pipeline acts as a potential collector for lightning strikes, and the current from these strikes can travel along the pipeline and into compressor and pump stations. Pipelines and steel storage tanks are often integrated with an impressed current cathodic protection system to minimize corrosion on steel surfaces. Lightning damage to cathodic protection control systems can leave expensive infrastructure without corrosion protection, leading to oil and gas spills.
Damage and Downtime
Damage and downtime to a pipeline operation can be avoided with Petro Guardian’s engineered approach to grounding and bonding. Contact the firstname.lastname@example.org to find out how you can improve the integrity of grounding and bonding at your facility.