Heatec provided two offshore oil-production platforms with healical coil thermal fluid heater systems.

Safety features help minimize the risk of fire and explosions on offshore platforms.
Equipment used on offshore platforms must incorporate safety features not usually required when the same equipment is used in shore facilities. These features are intended to minimize the risk of fire and explosions on platforms where combustible oil and gas are present.

Heatec, Chatanooga, TN, designed two heater systems for use on two oil-production platforms in the Gulf of Mexico. The heart of each system is a helical coil thermal fluid heater with an output of 5 million BTU/hr. The systems reduce the viscosity of recovered crude oil; heat glycol solution in a reboiler to remove water from gases; and heat amine solution in a reboiler to remove CO2 and sulfur from gases.

An important safety feature is the CO2 fire suppression system in the combustion chamber of the heater. When activated, it instantly extinguishes the flame in the combustion chamber and cools hot surfaces. A temperature sensor in the heater exhaust stack automatically activates the system if stack temperature exceeds its limit. Heater and platform sensors connected to the main platform-fire suppression system have melt-plugs in a sealed pneumatic loop. If a fire occurs on the platform, the plugs will melt at specific temperatures and trigger the platform-fire suppression system.

Equipment longevity is achieved by using protective coatings on all surfaces subject to rust and corrosion. Heater platforms, ladders and railing have a hot-dip galvanized coating, and platform and walkway gratings are made from nonskid fiberglass. Piping jackets and other components are constructed of stainless steel. Conduit is coated with plastic and a skid-resistant coating is applied to deck plates.