Compressed air is often called the “4th utility” after electricity, water, and gas, making reliable air compression a critical part of any industrial process. The loss of compressed air can result in costly unplanned downtime, resulting in hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars in lost production per day. This is particularly true in many Oil, Gas, Chemical, and Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) applications that rely on compressed air throughout the upstream and downstream processes.
To uphold the highest standards in design and operation of plants in aforementioned fields, the American Petroleum Institute (API) has established API standards for equipment in these types of applications, providing global industry standards to promote equipment safety, reliability, and efficiency. API 672 and API 614 are the two most applicable standards for air compressors, and each sets a benchmark for design, manufacturing, and testing. API 672 is the governing standard for integrally geared centrifugal air compressors, and API 614 is the governing standard of the compressor lubrication system.
Here’s a closer look at the significant benefits and importance of API 672 and 614 standards for air compressors:
API 672 and 614 standards are designed to ensure the reliability and safety of air compressors. With a focus on robust engineering practices, these standards significantly reduce potential failures and enhance the plant operators’ overall safety. Compliance with these standards is crucial in industries where any compromise in reliability could lead to significant operational disruptions. Certain requirements within these standards are designated as “if specified or Special Duty compressor requirements. These features and requirements are typically specified for installations requiring higher availability or un-spared.
API 672 and 614 define requirements for instrumentation and control of air compressors and lubrication systems. As control technology has evolved and advanced, OEM control systems can perform real-time compressor performance analysis to recommend alternative control modes and improve overall efficiency. This improved efficiency results in lower operational costs and reduces overall power consumption, leading to lower emissions. Additional instrumentation monitoring coupled with the latest control technology allows for more predictive maintenance to reduce the likelihood of unplanned downtime for the equipment. API continues to incorporate additional standards to include more innovative solutions, and nowhere is this more apparent than within the advancement of compressor controls.
These API standards define best practices for manufacturers and operators for inspections and maintenance on air compressors. These criteria are developed by subject matter experts, including oil and gas refiners, operators, contractors, and vendors. Compressors built to these API standards are designed with typical service and maintenance requirements in mind to reduce the difficulty and time required to perform routine maintenance and repair work.
API standards are internationally recognized, and API 672 is the global standard for centrifugal air compressors. Adhering to these standards ensures compliance with industry norms and regulations, allowing for consistency amongst manufacturers and operators internationally. This global acceptance criteria fosters confidence among end-users in the reliability and quality of the equipment supplied by the compressor manufacturers. API-compliant machines have a proven track record of long-term reliable operation in the most demanding applications.
A focus on environmentally responsible practices has never been more important for contractors and operators than it is today. API standards play a pivotal role in reducing global emissions by defining the requirements followed by manufacturers and operators worldwide. By incorporating guidelines for energy efficiency, these standards help contribute towards net zero goals.
API 672 and 614 standards serve as a cornerstone for designing, manufacturing, and operating centrifugal air compressors within the oil, gas, chemical, and LNG applications. By upholding these standards, industries ensure the longevity and safety of their equipment.
Access our webinar, "Cracking the Code: Mastering API Standards for Centrifugal Air Compressors". This webinar is tailored for engineering, procurement, and quality personnel within EPCs and end-users in the oil and gas, petrochemical, and LNG markets.
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