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Novel Passive Fire Shelters Enhance Safety Management for Offshore Gas Project

06 May 2014

Novel Passive Fire Shelters Enhance Safety Management for Offshore Gas Project

Intertec are to provide three ground-breaking passive fire shelters, which are designed to protect the vital control electronics of automatic emergency shutdown and fire suppression systems on offshore gas production platforms in the Arabian Gulf.

According to Intertec, the shelters are fabricated using lightweight composite GRP materials and employ patented techniques to resist fire for two hours – allowing critical electronic safety equipment to remain operational. Although there are currently no standards for this application area that cover containment temperatures, Intertec says it designs, manufactures and tests its fire shelters to a rigorous proprietary specification which demands that their internal temperature must remain below 60 degrees throughout the rated protection time. The novel shelters are also capable of withstanding both conventional and more severe hydrocarbon fires.

Intertec explains that all three fire shelters are floor-mounted ‘walk-in’ models of a style usually associated with process analyser shelters and are the largest that it has produced to date. They represent a major advance over many current fire protection technologies used in this area, such as fire safe buildings constructed from concrete or steel and covered with fire resistant ceramic tiles, or conventional shelters covered with intumescent materials – which can hinder access. It says the weight of the composite GRP materials that it uses is about 25 percent that of steel – for a similar strength – and only 10 percent that of concrete, making it especially suitable for offshore applications.

According to Intertec, until now almost all of the fire resistant enclosures produced have been in the form of smaller cabinets designed to protect specific critical process control elements of refineries, petrochemical plants and offshore platforms - typically electromechanical emergency shutdown (ESD) valves and actuators. This is the first time that fire shelters have been specified for the even more demanding role of protecting heat-sensitive control system electronics from the direct and indirect effects of fire.

Martin Hess, Managing Director at Intertec, says “Our ability to manufacture fire-resistant enclosures, cabinets and shelters and to tailor their dimensions – as well as other specification properties like  thermal insulation, explosion protection, IP rating, extreme storm rating and blast proofing – is opening up new markets in the offshore and onshore sector.”

Photo provided by Intertac