“The real win here is the reduction to machine downtime. The frequency of filter related shutdowns have gone from 15-20 annually to ZERO. We have improved seal life, reduced operator exposure, and reduced disposable filter replacement costs. Additionally, for the first time ever, we have extended the oil change interval another 6 months which is an additional $20k in cost savings.”


Facility Maintenance Team

Challenge

An intermediate oil and gas producer in Western Canada was experiencing high levels of Black Powder contamination at their natural gas processing facility. The facility employs a 1500-HP natural-gas-flooded screw compressor; the system is open loop which means the lube oil mixes with the rich natural gas, and is separated out as it passes through the machine. These types of systems are highly susceptible to premature wear because the components are exposed to all types of formation contamination (Black Powder) and solvents during operation. The OEM 3-micron filters have a low holding capacity and would only last 3 weeks on average. Once in bypass, the compressor would shut down due to high pressure differential. In some cases, the OEM paper filters would disintegrate completely, causing a total loss of machine lube oil and very costly cleanup.

Solution

The maintenance team decided to install a 24” high-flow ADD-Vantage 9000 filter on the lube system of the compressor. The goals of installing magnetic filtration were: (1) eliminate the presence of contamination in the lube oil system, (2) reduce wear and tear on the compressors and pumps, (3) extend the life of the pumps and compressors, and save on maintenance and replacement costs, and finally (4) improve on the performance of the conventional filtration system to reduce costs related to replacement filter cartridges.

Compressor Operating Controls

Compressor Lube Oil Capacity2.5 barrels
Cost / Barrel of Lube Oil$8,000
Cost / Seal Replacement, Labour & Downtime$10,000
Hours Allocated / Changeout2
Average Labour Wage$55
Natural Gas Flared / Hour$460
Average OEM Disposable Filter Cost$90
OEI Magnetic Filter 1-time Purchase Cost$5,000
OEI Magnetic Filter 1 Time Installation & Downtime Cost$1,000

OEM Filter Operating Parameters

Quantity of Filters in Operation2
Filter Replacement Intervals3 weeks
Oil Change Intervals6 months
Average Running Pressure Differential17 psi
Pressure Differential Shut-down Set Points18 psi
Average ISO Count23/21/17

OEM Filter Operating Costs

IncidentCost/IncidentQuantity / YearCost/Year
OEM Filter Replacements$18017$3,060
Labour$11017$1,870
Production Loss$1,50017$25,500
Oil Changes$20,0002$40,000
Seal Replacement$10,0004$40,000

Total OEM Filter Operating Costs: $115,360

OEI Filter Operating Parameters

Quantity of Filters in Operation1
Filter Cleaning Intervals6 months
Oil Change Intervals18 months
Average Running Pressure Differential1.5 psi
Pressure Differential Shut-down Set Points6 psi
Average ISO Count17/14/10

OEI Filter Operating Costs

IncidentCost/IncidentQuantity / YearCost/Year
OEM Filter Cleanings$00$0
Labour$1102$220
Production Loss$1,5002$3,000
Oil Changes$20,0000.6$12,000
Seal Replacement$10,0001$10,000

Total OEI Filter Operating Costs: $25,220

Results

After installing the ADD-Vantage 9000, the maintenance team increased oil sampling to once a week, and decided to inspect and clean the magnetic filter monthly in order to establish a baseline maintenance interval for the compressor. Their results were compelling; after installation, ISO Fluid Cleanliness counts decreased significantly and remained low; they were able to extend the magnetic filter cleaning intervals to semi-annually which aligned with their service intervals.

Their most significant achievement with deploying the OEI filter was the reduction in machine downtime. The maintenance team noted:

  • Decreased filter-related shutdowns
  • Eliminated conventional filter cartridge waste
  • 6 month extension of oil change intervals
  • Improved the compressor’s seal life
  • Reduced operator exposure

Total Cost Savings

Annual Payout

Payout

$90,140

24 Days

As far as overall machine longevity goes, we haven’t been able to run a complete lifecycle on OEI filtration as of yet, but given the immediate cost savings outlined above; it would just be a bonus if we were able to extend an overhaul. Going forward, we are expanding this trial to the whole machine class which includes 10 more identical machines, and I am excited to see the results.”


Facility Maintenance Team

Black powder is a type of particulate contamination that is common in hydrocarbons and it consists of both ferrous and non-ferrous elements and compounds, in varying amounts, typically in high concentrations of particles under 10 microns in size. It is difficult and expensive to remove with conventional filtration, and as a result it has significant negative impacts on oil and gas equipment and facilities; this includes pipelines, pumps, compressors, meters and so on, as well as product quality.