Process Safety

Process Safety is a framework for managing the integrity of operating systems and processes, handling hazardous substances by applying state of the art design principles, engineering, and operating practices.


In 2020, the Process Safety initiatives remain a major focus for the Company, even though the pandemic influenced the entire business. For continuous knowledge improvement and experience sharing in the process safety domain, we maintained our external collaboration with high-profile organizations by extending the membership in EPSC (European Process Safety Center). We also continued the distribution across OMV Petrom, for information and debate, of the worldwide communication on process safety topics promoted by CCPS (Center for Chemical Process Safety), Process Safety BEACON, resources aimed at delivering process safety messages and which present accidents and describe the lessons learned and the practical means to prevent recurrences.


OMV Petrom Upstream follows the recommended practice from IOGP (International Association of Oil and Gas Producers) related to Process Safety Key Performance Indicators. These indicators are aimed at learning from past events to ensure continuous improvement in Process Safety.


The Process Safety KPIs in OMV Petrom Upstream also monitor the performance of safety-critical maintenance (99.93% completed work orders), the ratio of preventive to corrective work orders (77/23) and the number of regulatory inspections (98.77%).


In 2020, OMV Petrom continued to improve the Pipeline Integrity Management Program in Upstream, even during challenging times. New and existing risks were prioritized using the Pipeline Integrity Management System software, with the highest ranked pipelines being targeted for complete or sectional replacement, again ensuring that our pipeline integrity efforts focus on the locations where these greatest risks exist. In conjunction with this, the development of Corrosion Management Plans for our high-risk pipelines commenced along with projects to install “Pig Launchers and Receivers” to enable cleaning and internal inspection of these pipelines.

Process Safety Events
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Note: The numbers for 2020 are referring to OMV Petrom Group, while for the previous years, reflected only Upstream Division.

External coatings and cathode protection are now mandatory for all new metallic pipelines and are supported by the Group Standards and Procedures. Within OMV Petrom Upstream, all new pipelines are now constructed and coated in accordance with the following standard and further protected in accordance with Cross Divisional (Upstream and Downstream) standard for cathode protection (CP). The coating application for field joints for Onshore Pipelines are done based on the standard for Coating of Pipes for Pipelines and Coating for Field Joints developed upon the international standard EN ISO 21809 Petroleum and natural gas industries – External coatings for buried or submerged pipelines used in pipeline transportation systems and alternatively upon DIN 30670 Polyethylene coatings for steel pipes and fittings and EN 12068 cathode protection – External organic coatings – Tapes and shrinkable materials.


Cathode Protection is complying with the requirements for the design, construction,  operation and maintenance of cathode protection systems for buried metallic pipelines onshore with and without the influence of external electrical sources. The requirements as defined in our regulation are based upon the international standard EN ISO 15589-1:2017 (D), Petroleum, petrochemical and natural gas industries.


In Upstream, a Pipeline Inspection program is in place and functional for all pipelines with capability for internal inspection, all of which is managed and planned within the SAP CMMS (Computerized Maintenance Management System). The Pipeline Inspection Program is a risk-based approach where “next inspection” period is based on the results from the previous inspection along with, corrosion coupon measurements and fluid and debris analysis during pigging and cleaning operations. Where pigging is not possible spot check wall thickness measurements are taken at critical points and “next inspection dates” based on results are also decided. Normally these range between 2 and 6 years.


Regarding the pipeline modernization and replacement programs, Upstream has a strategy for the replacement and modernization of onshore pipelines. Pipeline Integrity software and GIS data are used to calculate each pipeline’s risk based on the inventory (Gas, Oil, Water) and over 100 criteria, which results in a risk ranking of the pipelines and pipeline segments considering safety, environmental, production and reputational consequences. The age and condition of the pipeline are considered as well as the routes with many criteria.


In Downstream, the effective integrity management of Refinery Petrobrazi is supported by a clear program of inspections. The task of inspection activities is to ensure efficient and effective maximizing of the operational life of the equipment, safe and legal provisions while optimizing risk by applying the concept of thinking and way of entrepreneurial action. This practice had started long before and continued in 2020 with key inspections programed for piping, vessels, boilers, atmospheric and pressurized tankage, and pipelines. There is a module of SAP system in place, implemented under the label AIDA (Asset Integrity Data Assistant) which supports the relevant data management from recording and tracking of inspections results to relevant open cases for proper maintenance and remediation. Based on a local integrated process for inspections, several aspects and several domains are treated when planning and executing this activity throughout the year. Therefore, in 2020, an overview of the inspection activity revealed a total of approximately 1,700 visual-related inspections and over 250 specific inspections related to corrosion, shutdowns and end of lifetime.The Hazard and Operability (HAZOP) Program for Upstream facilities had to be partially postponed in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It was planned to increase by an additional 15 to 35 HAZOP studies in 2021. A Leak Detection and Repair program using Infra-Red detection cameras was also established and rolled out with the execution now planned in the CMMS. Retrofits of existing Assets are now underway in some Assets along with projects that reduce the number of facilities, thus reducing our carbon footprint.


However, 11 HAZOPs were executed to support critical operations, reviewing and updating all the required technical documentation.


The Electrical Integrity Assessment II Project in Upstream is now 96% complete for all activities and over 100 high-risk selected equipment were modernized or replaced. Phase III also commenced in 2020 to target an additional 21 selected electrical equipment.


To prevent unintentional and intentional third-party damage, an awareness campaign for communities in proximity to OMV Petrom onshore pipelines is now up and running. This initiative is managed at the local level with the Asset, and regular information and leaflets are distributed with the communications department’s full support. Right of way markers and warning markers are also being introduced and will be an ongoing effort. For enhanced leak detection, three pipelines are currently under pilot stages which commenced in 2019. Trials are being applied to Gas, Oil and mixed water/oil. For new pipelines, where suitable, fiber optic leak detection is being considered.

For the Integrity of the facilities in the Petrobrazi refinery, various investments were made to ensure and upgrade the physical and mechanical conditions. Several examples of integrity-related projects started can be mentioned:

► a project aimed to ensure compliance with process engineering standards and had the objective to replace both reactors 120 R1, R2 with suitable material for the process conditions. 120 R2 reactor was replaced in 2020.

► a project which also reveals the diversity and complexity of work that needs to be realized for a good management of installations integrity is the refurbishment of the metallic structure RC1 – unit 570.

► a project also started to continuously improve the status of the cable/pipe racks and underground pipes.

► a project named PCP – Upgrade Aromatic Complex will replace the old aromatic complex.

► a project to replace all 4 coke drums from Coker unit was started.

In terms of Process Safety, the Petrobrazi refinery has done several specific activities such as: risks reviews and several treatment plans completed for the risk management tool ARMS, more than 100 MOC forms were registered, over 25 PSSR (Process Safety Startup Review) were done, over 8,000 hours of training and learning were completed on the subjects of MOC, Process Safety beacons, EPSC, HAZOP, Process Safety Computer Based Training. A program that started in 2011 called Retro-HAZOP continued with Cogeneration and Utilities.


The status of Retro-HAZOP measures is continuously tracked. Several MOC forms were released to implement the Retro-HAZOP measures. For projects HAZID and HAZOP studies are done on a regular basis.