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Industrial Flare Stack

Flaring in Industry

A gas flare, alternatively known as a flare stack

is are important safety device used in refineries and petrochemical facilities. They safely burn excess hydrocarbon gases which cannot be recovered or recycled. Excess hydrocarbon gases are burnt in the flare systems in an environmentally-sound manner, as an alternative to releasing the vapour directly into the atmosphere.

During flaring, excess gases are combined with steam and/or air, and burnt off in the flare system to produce water vapour and carbon dioxide. The process of burning these excess gases is similar to the burning of liquefied petroleum gases (LPG), which some of us use as fuel for home cooking.

The use of flares is minimised to the extent that is possible. However, flaring can occur during a start-up and shut-down of any of our facilities for maintenance, and also during unplanned operational interruptions such as power outages.

When there is flaring promptly inform the neighbouring companies and Government agencies.

There are generally two types of flares that we use at manufacturing facilities:

  1. Elevated flares, where the flare tip is between 20 to 150 meters above ground.
  2. Ground flares, where the flare tip is about two to three meters above ground, which is fenced off with a high heat-shield fencing, which also acts as a safety zone.

What can sometimes be seen or heard in instances of flaring?

A flame or a glow:

Noise:

Smoke:

When you see flaring, please be assured that flares play a key role in keeping refineries and chemical plants running safely.

Source for the article

ExxonMobil

Schematic image of a Steam assisted Flare System

Steam assisted Flare System
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