With the rapid growth of LACT equipment used in the sale of crude oil, the volume of maintenance required of this equipment is increasing somewhat proportionally; for this reason, the object of this paper is to stress the importance of careful consideration with regard to maintenance when initiating LACT unit installations. Also to advance methods by which LACT unit maintenance costs can be minimized, both when specifying unit components at time of purchase, and during the operation of the unit. The decrease in production costs normally realized from LACT unit installations can be reduced still further with the employment of these maintenance methods.
As the large majority of LACT units being installed are of the positive displacement type this paper excludes the maintenance of volumetric type LACT equipment.
The realization that a large part of the LACT field maintenance costs could have been eliminated had the production personnel buying and operating the units been more experienced with this type of equipment prompted the writing of this paper.
The following proposals are an effort to convey the experience of designing, manufacturing and maintaining many units for many users.
The design of a LACT unit from the maintenance standpoint only, presents the problem of increased initial cost. Therefore, the economic study used for the justification of the unit purchase can also be used to dictate the extent to which unit components can be specified with maintenance minimizing in mind. As the majority of all components incorporated in these units are well known, no illustrations of individual components are included. Figure no. 1 illustrates the general location of components that might be included in a P. D. type LACT unit.
Unit simplicity should be one criterion used to dictate component specification, as the more complicated a unit the more maintenance is required of other than the operating production personnel. Each component added to a unit for any purpose furthers the possibility of component malfunction. Therefore, if acceptable, a unit containing a minimum of components is the most desirable from the maintenance standpoint.
There are numerous manufacturers of LACT components, the majority of which offer very high quality components that will represent a minimum of maintenance. For this reason no attempt is made to recommend any manufacturer's products, but merely to purpose the use of certain types of equipment that have proved to be more desirable for LACT use than others.