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Things We Loved in 2019: The API Fall Meeting Subcommittee on Pressure Relieving Systems

The API Fall Meeting Subcommittee on Pressure Relieving Systems
November 18-21, 2019 (Atlanta, Georgia)

This past fall, three team members from Provenance Consulting attended and participated in the API Subcommittee on Pressure Relieving Systems (SCPRS) at the 2019 Fall Refining and Equipment Standards Meeting in Atlanta, Georgia. Between enjoying lunch at The Varsity and other popular Atlanta eateries, Justin Phillips, Jillian Hays and James Topp jumped into the thick of the subcommittee meetings.

Justin Phillips, our Relief Systems Line of Service Manager and voting member in the SCPRS, has actively participated in these meetings since 2012.

“As a professional engineer, engaging in these groups is an important way to stay abreast of advances in pressure relief system technology and to influence the application of pressure relief system standards. It’s also a great place to network and maintain regular contact with industry partners and clients.”

Project Lead James Topp volunteered as meeting secretary during the 2019 API meetings for API 520, 521, 2000, and the Joint Session. According to Justin, “This was James’ first time attending the API meetings and he worked hard to keep up with the discussions. His time and contributions are very much appreciated by the chairpersons and task force leaders.”

From his perspective, Topp recognizes the long-lasting benefit of such subcommittee efforts. “It is very useful to see how the industry approaches the issues that come up. Beyond that, it helps develop my own abilities as a consultant and enabled me to meet leaders in the relief systems field.”

Finding “Broad Consensus” on Pressure Relief Applications

The goals of these meetings are to work out disagreements and find broad consensus on the most appropriate way to apply pressure relief systems, while simultaneously networking and sharing Provenance Consulting’s solutions. Our participation as a company demonstrates to clients, partners, and competitors that Provenance Consulting and Trinity Consultants have a bona fide and highly specialized interest in pressure relief systems.

Our representatives are also able to bring meeting news back into the organization for dissemination immediately – with a genuine understanding of the underlying purpose and motivations of the committee.

SCPRS Current & Future Focus

There are several important milestones approaching for the SCPRS: “We are nearing publication of the next editions of the standards (e.g., API 521), which means that the subcommittee can focus on newer or evolving areas of focus as soon as Spring 2020.

Prediction and avoidance of PSV instability has been (and will continue to be) an area of change as our understanding of the contributing phenomena evolves.

The most heated discussions in the past decade have revolved around the inadequacy of “the 3% rule” to predict PSV instability and the engineering studies that professionals might use to better predict PSV stability (or lack thereof).

For this reason, the next publication cycle of API 520 Part II might see some more interesting changes to address this topic. Set a timer and check back in five years!” suggests Phillips.

Proposed Potential Changes to Subcommittee Procedures

Topp adds, “Outside of the focus on valve stability, a lot of the other discussion focused on potential changes related to how the meetings might function and would API try to work with ISO again.”

Experienced project lead Jillian Hays notes that an interesting suggestion was proposed by the new joint committee chairpersons. SCPRS chairs Matt Brewer, BP, and vice-chair Eli Vatland Johansen, Equinor, proposed that a “round table” session could occur in future committee meetings.

“They believe a round table setting would be a more active collaborative use of time on current issues, and it would hopefully pull more involvement than the key dozen or two that speak up during all the other meetings,” Hays explains.

According to Hays, the industry veterans usually speak up every meeting. While it’s important to share industry knowledge, providing an opportunity for some “younger” voices to be heard could create a more inclusive process that allows for smoother generational turnover in future.

The 2020 Spring Refining and Equipment Standards Meeting will take place in April in New Orleans, Louisiana. Our team is looking forward to another successful meeting with leaders in pressure relieving systems.

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