The Alberta Energy Regulator oversees the development of energy resources such as oil wells and gas pipelines to ensure that they are efficient, safe, and environmentally responsible. The AER also manages water resources and public land.
It has specific rules and regulations to prevent environmental pollution that every organization involved in the production of these resources, including those responsible for fabrication and design of equipment need to follow.
Before discussing these regulatory standards, let us see what vent stacks and flare knockout drums are.
What is a Vent Stack?
A vent stack disposal system is used to collect and discharge gas into the atmosphere after the normal operations in a way that is safe and efficient. It is commonly used in industrial plants such as chemical plants, petroleum refineries, oil batteries, and natural gas production facilities.
What is a Flare Stack and Flare Knockout Drum?
A flare stack is commonly used in industrial plants to burn off the unusable, flammable gas released during a variety of process situations. It helps to protect the facilities against potential threats of fire accidents.
A Flare Knock Out Drum (FKOD) is installed upstream of a flare stack to remove any free liquids from the flare or vent stream. This prevent liquids from entering the stack and causing unacceptable smoke emissions. It is an essential piece of safety equipment in both emergency and maintenance flaring systems.
Difference Between a Vent Stack and a Flare Stack
Both vent stacks and flare stacks have similar functions and designs. The difference is that a flare stack is continuously lit on fire with a pilot flare whereas a vent stack is not.
Now, that we are clear about the functions of the vent and flare stacks, as well as how they are different, learn about a few mandatory standards.
Regulatory Standards for Flaring and Venting
It helps to note that the AER and other authorities governing the design and industry codes do not differentiate between the flare and vent stacks when it comes to emissions. They only require the facilities to adhere to their rules and regulations to avoid venting or burning excess gas.
Let us take a look at two important standards for flare stacks and vent stacks.
Alberta Energy Regulator’s Directive 060
This directive was released on December 13, 2018, and mainly applies to upstream petroleum industrial facilities for flaring and venting. It also applies to the gas pipeline installations such as line heaters and compressor stations that are licensed by the AER.
The main goal of conserving gas from tank flaring and venting initiative is to decrease methane emissions to meet the outcome of a 45 percent decrease by 2025 as compared to 2014 levels.
American Petroleum Institute Standard 2000
The API 2000 provides the venting requirements for oilfield vent stacks and storage tanks in general. It covers the regular and emergency vapour venting requirements.
We Engineer Efficient Products for the Energy Industry
At Aspire Energy Resources Inc., we design and fabricate products that comply with all the required standards. Some of our previous work includes the following:
Upgrading the Tank Venting System
As per the orders of the AER, we worked to conserve the gas venting off of the oil production storage tanks to ensure the compliance of Directive 060.
Controlling Crude Oil Battery Venting
Our scope of work included designing the header and vent stack as per API 2000 to ensure the venting was well within the allowable 900 m3/day limits. We also installed a Vapor Recovery Unit compressor (VRU) to conserve gas.