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Production Process Insights

The Benefits of a Refinery Sample Station Audit

Posted by Randy Cruse on 10/19/20 8:00 AM

Refinery Sample Station Audits

Refineries often operate sampling systems as separate entities within the plant. Conducting a site-wide sampling audit evaluates a plant’s sampling program to help ensure that all sampling stations are seamlessly working together. A comprehensive audit also helps refinery operators and managers develop a clear plan of action to ensure the processes they monitor remain safe and running properly.

Industry Challenges: Oil and Gas refineries 

Projects can run into the millions – or billions – of dollars in some of the most remote locations in the world, such as the Alaskan interior or the Arctic. And closed loop sampling is rapidly becoming an increased area of focus within the operational scope of all refining and petrochemical facilities. As their numbers increase, so also does the need for dedicated attention and management for all aspects of these systems.

Schedules and budgets are tighter than ever due to fluctuating economic influences. Safety is still critical. And stakeholders are concerned about projects’ impact on everything from the community to the environment. Plus, an industry shortage of technical talent, which is expected to worsen as the current generation of experienced engineers retires, complicates these issues.

The major concern is that sampling equipment traditionally does not fall into an existing area of responsibility and their care and support is pushed on operations by default. While day to day operation is not a problem with adequate training, there exists a real need for a comprehensive management program that far exceeds the expected obligations of operations and process engineering. 

All of these challenges drive the need for a sampling audit that highlights how plants can optimize existing refinery operations and strategically expand capacity to meet demand without majorly impacting their bottom line.


A sampling audit is a technical review of a sampling system’s Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT). Audits are conducted by certified sampling experts to identify SWOTs in business areas, sampling units/types and within specific samplers.

This analysis reviews:

  • If any updates, modifications or new systems need to be added
  • Priority of divisions based on the refinery’s needs
  • Estimated costs of potential repairs, edits, etc.
  • Risks associated with not taking recommended action(s)

Audits also take into account pressure (PSI), temperature and processes being audited to make a series of recommendations for the refinery.

Tailored recommendations. Each audit should be customized to the plant and domains or locations within the plant. No two samplers or processes work the same way, and many sampling areas are often under different types of management, depending on the location within the plant. These elements need to be considered when evaluating the system as a whole.

Audit Sample Image

Example of a Sentry Equipment Audit Report 

Prioritized actions. The result of an audit is a comprehensive list of recommended actions that plant operators can take to optimize their sampling systems, from repairing equipment to replacing an entire system. When identifying needs, the sampling expert conducting the audit should use a system for identifying priorities.

For example, Sentry Equipment provides comprehensive insight into all samplers within a plant, regardless of manufacturer or brand. Our experts work to find the best solutions for a refinery’s needs. Additionally, a maintenance schedule or best practices are provided to ensure the longevity of repairs, modifications and replacements.

an audit helps optimize plant systems

Running an efficient refinery requires real-time data analysis. Gleaning critical insights from your sampling equipment is essential to product quality, safety and operational processes.

A properly designed representative sampling system with the right sampling equipment ensures process samples are repeatable and reliable, every time to help refineries:

  • Maximize return on investment
  • Better manage loss control
  • Reduce operating costs
  • Comply with industry standards

Conducting a specialized sampling audit can help guide plants in making critical business decisions and implementing high-quality sampling processes. Conducting a specialized sampling audit can help guide plants in making critical business decisions and implementing high-quality sampling processes.

See how a customized audit could help your refinery. Contact us at +1-262-567-7256, or complete our online contact form for more information.

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Topics: Downstream, Solids & Powder, Liquid & Slurry, Gas

Written by Randy Cruse

Picture of Randy Cruse
As Senior Service Manager, Randy dedicates his lengthy career to developing and delivering service programs designed specifically for refineries and their sampling programs. He understands the risks and safety requirements that come along with being a service provider in the Oil & Gas industry and brings that expertise to each and every call.