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Two Refinery Sampling Solutions For Temperature Extremes

Posted by Sentry Equipment on 10/7/15 10:00 AM

Two Refinery Sampling Solutions For Temperature Extremes

Sentry sampling solutions for refineries are ready to meet any application, anywhere, even in extreme conditions. The following customer case studies show solutions for two applications, one in a high temperature and one in a sub-zero temperature environment.  

Sub-zero challenge

At a site in northern Alberta, Canada, various hydrocarbons were sampled using open bottles and sample cylinders. With ambient temperatures well below freezing for most of the year, samples would freeze before they could be collected.


To protect sample points from harsh conditions, our engineers custom-designed heated, insulated sampling cabinets to safely deliver representative samples in the sub-zero temperatures. The cabinet design for all sampling points was constructed of rugged two-inch thick foam insulation encapsulated in stainless steel sheet metal. The cabinet interior was seal welded and the bottom sloped to a drain port that led to the site’s oil and water sewer. These features aided in the clean-up of any spills inside the cabinet.

Additionally, an explosion-proof heating system maintained a temperature of 50°F (10°C) inside the cabinet despite freezing temperatures outside. The exterior of the cabinet featured a drip edge to prevent rain, snow and ice from penetrating the seal around the cabinet door. The door itself was equipped with a three-point latch system, which is easy to manipulate even with gloved hands. An external switch allowed the heater to be turned off before opening the cabinet.

Because there were sample points that carried a risk of off-gassing, some of the cabinets incorporated a nitrogen inlet and vent to purge the cabinet of any volatile organic compounds present with the sample.

High temperature challenge

Refineries need to sample volatile hydrocarbons in the form of liquids, slurries or gases. Often sampling takes place under extreme or dangerous conditions. At a refinery in California, management expressed concern about operator safety during sampling due to product temperatures that ranged up to 500°F (260°C). The proposed solution would have to meet the stringent environmental safety standards required by the state of California.


To address the safety issues, our engineers suggested using a fixed volume sampler with a nitrogen purge. The Sentry MFV manual low-emission sampler prevents operators from accidentally overfilling the sample container, while the nitrogen purge option vents any volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that are present with the sample. As an additional safety measure, the customized design incorporated a double-block sampling valve through the top of a stainless steel cabinet located on the sampling panel. The operator then can isolate the sample container inside the cabinet and actuate the sample valve from outside the enclosure. Any spill or leak of the product is contained within the cabinet, protecting both the operator and the environment from potential injury or contamination.

The cabinet included a window for visual inspection, and a drain port to flush spills to the plant’s hazardous waste collection system.

In addition to providing a customized solution that meets plant standards, process requirements, and state environmental safety regulations, staff also provided onsite training for operators using the new equipment.

Learn more about our low-emission samplers for refineries here.

This article was originally published on our website.

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Topics: Downstream, Upstream & Midstream, Gas

Written by Sentry Equipment

With proven sampling expertise since 1924, Sentry products and services provide business operations the critical insights to optimize process control and product quality. We deliver true representative sampling and analysis techniques to customers around the globe, empowering them to accurately monitor and measure processes for improved production efficiency, output and safety. Standing behind our commitments, we are determined to tackle any application, anywhere.

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