The Gas Recycling plant of Qatar Petroleum, Dukhan had a tough time in dealing with huge alarms generation. Gas recycling is a big integrated process plant and has one central control room where all the unit operations are controlled. Because of the nature of the process lot of alarms are generated and most of them are for operator information purpose and do not require any operator intervention.
There were 27,000 alarms configured. And there were three common problems with alarms, Standing alarms, Background alarms or bad actors and alarm floods. There was no alarm philosophy, alarms were constantly added and rarely deleted. Alarm limits were rarely revisited. The panel operators approach was reactive to alarms as constantly alarms were generating. To deal with alarms problems, the alarm management project was implemented.
This paper will describe in detail the ongoing alarm management project in the Gas Recycling plant, QP Dukhan and aims to provide all the details of project design stage, alarm philosophy, implementation techniques and the initial benefits achieved.
The roadmap used for alarm management project includes developing the alarm philosophy, alarm rationalization, implementing the alarm changes in the DCS configuration and benefit retention. The alarm philosophy designed based on the EEMUA guidelines. The benchmark values set by the EEMUA are chosen as the project KPI targets.
The implementation of the Alarm management project require lot of involvement by the process engineer, system engineer, instrumentation engineer and experienced control room operators for rationalizing the alarms. The initial results after ongoing implementation of the alarm management projects shows that the average alarm rate per 10 minutes has improved drastically from 6.5/10 min to 1-2 alarms/10 min which is very close to the EEMUA set benchmark values. The benefits achieved due to reduction in the alarms are more productive and positive workforce and improved safety.
The overall conclusion that can be drawn from the data collected is that the steady state alarm rate has been reduced to a manageable level and the EEMUA target of less than 10 alarms per 10 min period during flood is a challenge with today's technology and practices.