Lightning Protection for Oil & Gas Industry


Lightning on above ground storage tanks
Recommended practice for Lightning Protection of above ground Storage Tanks for Flammable or Combustible Liquids were established as a standard guide to design, install and maintain lightning protection systems for preventing fire in storage tanks with flammable or combustible contents. The lightning process starts in the clouds, with a stepped leader descending to earth. The stepped leader often exhibits branching on its path to the ground as it attempts to find the best route to the ground. The path of the stepped leader is very irregular because of random variations in the local air conditions and other factors. When the stepped leader is within about 300Ft or less from the tank or ground, the electric on the ground level rises sharply, and the electric field on the highest items becomes great enough to launch an upward streamer towards the down-coming leader. Two or more streamers may rise almost simultaneously from the ground objects such as tanks, vents, separators etc but only one is usually successful in making the connection to the downward leader. A typical negative cloud-to-ground flash contains three to four strokes, but may have as many as 30. The currents in any one stroke can range from just a few kilo amperes to 200kA.

Effects of Lightning on aboveground storage tanks
The attachment point of a Direct Lightning Stroke for tanks will be at the highest vertical electric field regions which would include the tank rim, vents, hand rails, gauge poles, lights and other objects on the top of the shell or, for large diameter tanks, the fixed or floating roof itself. from the point of attachment, the lightning current will flow as a sheet over all conducting paths. As the current spreads out over a large area, the surface charge is neutralized. Any DISCONTINUITIES in the current paths may result in ARCING ACROSS THE GAPS that can ignite any flammable vapours in the area.

For a stroke adjacent to a tank, some current will flow over the outer skin of the shell across the fixed or floating roof and down to the ground on the other side of the shell. There would be much less energy in the discharge currents moving across the tank as compared to a tank directly struck. Any discontinuities in the current paths may result in ARCING ACROSS THE GAPS.
A lightning strike, may be direct on the tank or adjacent to the tank, shall not necessary ignite fire unless flammable vapors are present together with an oxygen concentration. Proper operation and maintenance of internal floating roof tanks (IFRT) and vents can prevent dangerous fires. The fast change in electric field that occurs from a lightning strike and the sudden rise in ground potential will always induce impulse current and voltage surges on to power and control cables that can potentially destroy electronics such as pressure gauges, level sensors, actuators, power supply, surveillance and control equipment.

Lightning Protection for Oil & Gas Production/Disposal Facilities
Petrochemical storage tanks at Oil & Gas Production and Disposal facilities are particularly susceptible to lightning strikes, especially those made from fiberglass. The buildup of static electricity is also a common predicament. Given the often natural volatility of the contents in these tanks, a subsequent explosion and fire caused by lightning or static buildup can have absolutely catastrophic effects. LES has developed a three-part standard installation procedure to help mitigate the effects of static buildup and lightning events on storage tanks. Tank Battery Lightning Protection Application Brochure

Lightning Protection for Drilling Rigs
Drilling rigs can easily be 100 feet. Tall and housed with sensitive electronic and control equipment that handle flammable material. Lightning events are capable of devastating every major drilling electrical system, interrupt the programming of control devices, isolate the communications of the operation and even cause fires and explosions that could lead to the loss of lives, and extensive damage to both the environment and property. LES has developed a four-part standard installation procedure to help mitigate the effects of lightning on Drilling Rigs.. Drilling Rig Lightning Protection Application Brochure

Lightning Protection for SCADA and Communication Towers
Telecommunication towers such as cellular, microwave communication, television broadcast or radio repeaters are generally very tall structures, placed in remote and often isolated locations. All equipment with electronics and control equipment are very sensitive to Lightning and Lightning Electromagnetic Pulses. Their maintenance and repair usually requires technicians to travel to remote distances which results in long duration downtime that costs the operators large amount of revenue loss and loss in customer satisfaction. LES has developed a four-part standard installation procedure to help mitigate the effects of lightning on communication facilities. Telecommunication Site Lightning Protection Application Brochure

Lightning Elimination Systems (LES) is a lightning protection company that uses scientific theory as well as over 15 years of field experience to design custom solutions to shield people, places and sensitive electrical and electronic equipment from the damaging effects of lightning strikes. Contact US to provide Lightning Protection for your Oil & Gas Facility.