Fire & Safety Philosophy for FEED – New Port Control Tower for QE

Fire & Safety Philosophy for FEED - New Port Control Tower for QE

Fire & Safety Philosophy study was carried out for FEED – New Port Control Tower in Ras Laffan Port of Qatar Energy by iFluids Engineering and Consultancy WLL . Fire Safety Philosophy is the fundamental approach an organization adopts to prevent, mitigate, and respond to fire-related risks. It aims to protect people, property, and the environment from the devastating impacts of fires. Click here to read more on What is Fire & Safety Philosophy?

Line of Sight, Geotechnical studies are planned to be completed, and Radar Coverage study has been carried out, for this location by specialist vendors. FEED shall incorporate outcome of these studies and update specific design parameters, as identified in the studies.

The goal of this project is to provide the FEED for a new fit-for-purpose Port Control Tower and all related infrastructures at the site chosen in Ras Laffan Port and to make sure compliance with RLIC operations requirements and Qatar Energy’s Fire and Safety Philosophy.

The Ras Laffan Industrial City (RLIC), which situated in the northern region of the State of Qatar, contains the Ras Laffan Port. For the export of LNG, condensate, and other related liquid products from the petrochemical industries situated at RLIC, the port has loading facilities. Ship repair and dry docks, LNG berths, associated liquid product berths, bulk sulphur berths, container terminals, and general cargo berths are some of the amenities offered by the RLIC Port. Prior to this, the port area and its approaches were continuously monitored by visual and radar signals from the port’s existing control tower.

The Common Sulphur Facility, among other developments, blocks a portion of the present Port Control Tower’s line of sight and places restrictions on the functionality of the Vessel Traffic Centre and Port control operations with the extension of the Port under the current Master Plan. In 2015, a FEED package for a new port control tower was created, covering the entire structure at a position close to the Common Sulphur Facilities area.

The land formerly chosen for the Port Control Tower is no longer available due to the NFX project’s expansions in the Sulphur Facilities region. As a result, a newly chosen area will be where the new Port Control Tower will be constructed. The main objective is to outline HSE fire & Safety philosophy to be adopted for managing risks associated with the New Port Control Tower at Ras Laffan.

The overall objective is to define the HSE design philosophy to be adhered to for the project, and to show how this philosophy is to be implemented in the design and construction of the upgraded facility and the associated modifications.

The philosophy prescribes the safety analysis to be carried out, and methodologies to be adopted, in order to demonstrate achievement of the specified minimum safety standards. The primary objective of this philosophy is to ensure that the Fire & Safety design of facility reduces the risk to facility personnel, third parties, the environment, security sensor assets and capital investment of the facility to as low as reasonably practicable

The New Port Control Tower facility project shall be designed to fulfil the following as underlined by the Qatar Energy Corporate Philosophy for Fire & Safety.

  • Foremost account is taken for the health and safety of its employees, and all other persons who may be affected directly or indirectly by its activities.
  • The protection of its assets is ensured.
  • Proper regard is given to the conservation of the natural environment and the local amenities
  • The design shall recognize the possibility of all hazards involved in the facility/operation and eliminate/mitigate the resultant risk by identifying and analyzing the risk factors and providing means to eliminate/mitigate the risks.
  • Construction of all facilities shall employ materials which are suitable for the service and environmental conditions.
  • Elimination or minimizing the spread of spills and leaks shall be considered by provision of the appropriate degree of containment and drainage.
  • The adequacy and location of buildings shall be designed carefully in accordance with appropriate Codes and Standards and risk assessment.
  • The facilities design shall cater for protecting operating and maintenance personnel during normal operations and against contingency situations involved in start-up, shut-down and emergency control of the facilities.
  • Adequate ventilation shall be provided throughout all areas and spaces to preclude the accumulation of combustible or toxic vapours.

To ensure, throughout all stages of design, that the proposed facility meets the latest International safety and environmental codes and standards, using the most cost-effective measures available, below measures shall part of design.

  • Inherent Safety/Prevention

The primary safety intent of the plant modification design shall be to ensure that any undesirable or hazardous events do not arise.

  • Control

Should the undesirable hazardous events occur, they should be promptly detected and acted upon automatically (e.g. by the Fire and Gas System and Emergency Shutdown System) with the aim of reducing the risk to personnel and the environment, and minimizing the damage to equipment, plant and structures.

  • Mitigation

The consequences of an accidental hazardous event may be in the form of fire, thermal radiation and release of toxic chemicals in liquid form. The needed safety measures will be evaluated based on how likely it is that something bad will happen and how bad it will be if it does.

Ignition of the flammable gas-air mixture can produce fire and/or explosions capable of causing injury to personnel as well as major structural failure and damage to Tower.

The TLV for H2S is 10 ppm in air and it is considered as the maximum allowable concentration for continuous exposure during an eight hours period. The maximum allowable STEL is 15 ppm in air. Hydrogen Sulphide is an extremely toxic gas and concentrations above 500 ppm are potentially fatal.

In order to provide an effective protection system to tower personnel in case of toxic gas release, Qatar Energy’s philosophy is to initiate a general alarm on detection of gas levels at or above 10 ppm. On hearing this alarm, tower personnel are required to follow the evacuation plan and make their way to the designated muster areas.

Overall aim of the new design shall provide a system that is fit to protect against the major fire hazards which could lead to injury to personnel, damage to facilities, loss of operation or pollution of the environment, in accordance with the applicable engineering codes and standards.

New fire protection systems shall be designed in line with the latest international standards and current Qatar Energy standards, including QP Fire and Safety Philosophy.

The following safety studies/reviews shall be performed during the FEED stage of the project.

  • Hazard Identification (HAZID)/ Environmental Impact Identification (ENVID) Study:

A HAZID /ENVID workshop shall be carried out in line with QatarEnergy procedure, at early stage of this project to identify hazards that are present in the current design and the potential consequences if these hazards are realized. The recommendations/ outcomes of the FEED HAZID/ ENVID have to be addressed during the EPIC stage HAZID/ENVID workshop.

  • Major Accident Hazard (MAH) Assessment:

A QRA study report of Ras Laffan Report shall be used to identify and assess the impact from major accident hazard (MAHs) on the proposed new location. The assessment report shall include explosions, external fire, and toxic gas from accidental events from adjacent existing process facilities. Impact of these events on the proposed facilities shall be taken in account by studying the impact based on the QRA report.

  • HSE Risk Register

HSE Risk Register is a live document which shall be maintained to follow up and monitoring the Risk associated and HSE issues raised in other safety study reviews as well throughout the life cycle of the project. HSE Risk Register shall be complying with the requirements of QP procedure for registering and reporting HSE risks. HSE Risk Register prepared during the PIN/SOR stage shall be updated by recording hazards, effects and actions implemented at various stages of the project.

Hazardous Area Classification is one of the ways to control the ignition sources. Classification of hazardous areas will be based on the latest revision of EI Model Code of Safe Practice– Area Classification Code for Installations handling flammable fluids.

The hazardous areas are classified into zones which are defined as follows:

  • Zone 0: A place where petrol and air mix all the time or for a long time.
  • Zone 1: Area in which explosive gas/air mixture is likely to occur in normal operations.
  • Zone 2: It refers to a designated region where the occurrence of explosive combinations of gas and air is improbable during routine activities. In the event that such mixtures do arise, they are expected to persist for only a brief duration.
  • Non-Hazardous: An Area not classified as Zone 0, 1 or 2.

The extent of Hazardous zones is dependent on source of hazard, physical properties of material released and defined as continuous, primary and secondary grade of release.

It is essential that The New Port Control Tower layout is configured to minimize the possibility of an undesired event occurring. Careful attention to locate new equipment and buildings improves the safety, accessibility and efficiency of the facility.

Consideration shall be given to drainage from all areas considering the firewater discharge rates that would be encountered. Dedicated access ways within The New Control Tower facility shall be provided for operations, emergency escape and firefighting. These access ways will run to the main roads of facility.

The necessary width of roads will let work vehicles like cranes and emergency vehicles like fire trucks get through. Major roads are wide enough for two cars to pass each other. Evacuation, Escape, Rescue & Access routes for the New Port Control Tower facility shall be verified with existing available plot area.

The new plot plan shall be updated based on the verification. Any additional escape routes, exit or access if required due to addition of new building or equipment, shall be provided in accordance with QP Fire & Safety philosophy.

  • Dedicated access ways within each area shall be provided for operations, emergency escape and firefighting. These access ways will run to the plant roads.
  • There will be two means of escape to safety from any normal work area of the site, except for small platforms or rooms.
  • Maintenance access of 1.0 m shall be provided for individual items of equipment.
  • Entrances and exits will be built into the perimeter fence as needed to make sure that there are at least two ways to safety.
  • There needs to be a clear sign next to the emergency exit lights.
  • Escape routes will be directed away from possible hazards and will terminate at a designated muster area that will be in a safe location by the site entrance.

The New Port Control Tower will be equipped with an entrance and egress access control system to manage personnel access to the building.

Means of Egress in New Port Control Tower:

The new port control tower will be equipped with an entrance and egress access control system to manage personnel accesses to the building.

  • A sensor shall be provided on the egress side, arranged to electrically unlock the door in the direction of egress upon detection of an approaching occupant.
  • Doors shall automatically electrically unlock in the direction of egress upon loss of power to the sensor or to the part of the locking system that electrically locks the doors.
  • The manual release device must be easy to find and have a sign that says “PUSH TO EXIT” next to it.
  • If available, the building’s automated sprinkler or fire detection system unlocks egress doors. New installation hardware must comply with Access control System unit standards.

The fire and gas detection system shall meet the requirements of QP Corporate Philosophy.

The fire and gas detection coverage requirement shall be provided based on equipment layout and the locations will be shown in the F&G system location layouts. New detectors / devices shall be provided as required. Specifications and Datasheets shall be prepared for new F&G devices.

A complete fire and gas detection system shall be provided covering the following:

  • Flammable & Toxic Gas Detection
  • Fire Detection
  • High Sensitive Smoke Detection (HSSD) system
  • Hydrogen Gas Detection – Hydrogen (H2) gas detector shall be provided in battery rooms based on the H2 hazard in battery room.
  • Alarm Light and Audible Alarm Locations.
  • Manual Call Points – a system of manual call points for initiating a fire alarm shall be provided.

The entire F&G system shall monitor the F&G detectors & initiators, generate alarms, activate related deluge systems and initiate facility shutdown, as required. The F&G system in normal operating mode shall continuously, automatically and permanently monitor F&G detectors / Manual alarm call points in various areas and display the status to the operator on DCS HMI as well as on the F&G mimic panels. Even after a facility shutdown, the F&G system shall remain in operation mode whilst the possibility of a fire hazard exists. Self-monitoring will detect issues that could affect system operation. Faults will trigger alarms and system displays.

A Cause & Effect diagram indicating all the necessary actions following confirmed gas or fire detection shall be developed. The principles of their operational requirements, e.g., Alarm limits for High, High-High voting systems and the resulting actions following activation shall be clearly outlined on the Cause & Effect diagram.

  • All components shall be accessible for maintenance and testing without disruption to routine operation of the plant, interruption of overall protection monitoring or undue degradation of the system (Including sensors, through logic and annunciation to activation).
  • The Fire and Gas Panel will sound audible and visual alerts for alarm conditions.
  • Locate and describe the detecting equipment activated at the main fire and gas panel and any other defined control point or repeater station.
  • Video display colors adopted in QatarEnergy Status Display Systems, Visual alarms at the alarm panel and any annunciation panels shall meet the approved color coding as per QP Fire & Safety
  • philosophy.
  • Minimum SIL requirement for F&G panel shall be SIL-2.

All F&G system shall be FM approved or UL listed or equivalent. The alarm system shall be supplied power from the essential power supply and shall include battery back-up with a dedicated battery charger. The back-up battery capacity shall not be less than 60 minutes maximum load. Fire resistance is a necessary requirement for cables used in field detectors.

The selection of field detector types should be based on the following criteria:

  • The type which gives the earliest detection of the event
  • Freedom from spurious operation
  • Suitability for the ambient environmental conditions
  • An optimum design and limitation of the number of detectors
  • Proven operation in similar situations
  • Inherent reliability
  • Low maintenance requirements

Flammable & Toxic gas detectors shall be provided at HVAC fresh air intake duct. As Hazard release scenarios, especially toxic (H2S) releases (identified in QRA report) from RLC have the potential to impact the New Port Tower and impact the control tower building occupant.

Toxic Gas and flammable gas detector shall be provided in HVAC inlet and around the site perimeter. If flammable or toxic gas is detected, F&G panel shall initiate general alarm and send a signal to HVAC Control panel. HVAC control panel shall initiate the following actions.

  • Fresh air inlet gas tight damper (motorized damper) shall be closed. PACU shall run in recirculation mode (i.e. PACU will run continuously and building cooling demand achieved without fresh air).
  • All motorized damper located in exhaust fans outlets shall be closed and all extract fans shall be switched-off.

Fires within the NPCT facility predominantly involve:

  • Electrical and instrument equipment and cabling such as that contained in the switch room or local equipment room: OR
  • Other combustible material such as paper, rag, lubricating oil and grease that may be contained in a workshop or materials store.

Detector types shall be selected to detect the predominant characteristics of the fire behavior, and shall be provided in sufficient numbers and suitably located to provide effective monitoring.

Due consideration shall be given to the specification and design of fire detection systems to minimize the incidence of false or spurious alarms. Fire detector selection shall be from the following types (Depending upon the area being protected):

  • Smoke detection – Ionization, Optical and Air sampling (HSSD) – Shall be installed in special rooms like Substation LV, MV and Transformer rooms. Main electrical rooms, IT server rooms, CCTV equipment room, and telecoms rooms. And Point Smoke Detectors will be used in all rooms and corridors
  • Heat detection – Pneumatic (frangible bulb / fusible plug / fusible tube) or Electrical (rate of rise / rate compensated / fixed temp). Shall be installed in Fuel storage room.
  • Linear Heat Detector Cable for fire detection shall be provided in floor voids and cable trenches.

The general philosophy for firefighting is that only one major fire scenario occurs at a time and any potential fire shall be contained by the automatic protection systems provided. The plant shall be arranged in such a way that it will minimize the probability of Fire or Explosion by containing the hydrocarbon fluids in properly designed and constructed process systems.

Design and operation of the plant shall seek to control potential ignition sources by hazardous area classification. The layout of the plant shall be reviewed to reduce the impact of the incident. The implementation of fire protection systems is imperative for the suppression of fires and the mitigation of heat damage to plant structures and equipment.

The fire protection systems employed will consist of a variety of firewater-based systems, gaseous fire protection systems, and passive fire protection measures, as deemed suitable for each specific location.

The general philosophy for firefighting on onshore installations is that any potential fire shall be contained by the automatic protection systems provided, followed by intervention of the fire brigade. For minor fire situations, plant personnel shall be required to initiate a first attack using portable extinguishers and/or hose reels.

In certain defined areas such as Control Rooms intervention of the plant personnel will be required. Fire and Explosion Risk Assessment shall be carried out where applicable to evaluate fire scenarios and their effects. Output of the FERA shall be used to define the safeguarding system.

Passive fire protection involves the use of inherently safe fire protection systems. The term passive means that no action or activation is required to realize the fire protection safeguards of the system. Sufficient structural protection should be provided in the form of passive fire protection to minimize the effect of a hazard and prevent escalation that may lead to progressive collapse.

A new firewater system shall be designed for the New Port Control tower. The facility shall be provided with firewater systems namely fixed, mobile and portable firefighting equipment in accordance with the relevant design Codes.

The total Fire water required for fire protection for the New Port Control Tower facility is based on the amount of water, which is required to control and possibly extinguish largest single credible fire event in a single fire zone.

In accordance with Qatar Energy requirements, normally unmanned buildings like Substation LV, MV and Transformer rooms. Main electrical rooms, IT server rooms, CCTV equipment room, and telecoms rooms shall be provided with high sensitivity smoke detection systems (HSSD).

Detection in HSSD system shall generate alarm in control room and will activate Clean Agent Fire Suppression System after a time delay.  Clean agent system shall have own gas extinguishing system panel, which shall be compatible with building F & G system equipment and panel.

Protected areas shall be arranged and designed such that all ventilations are stopped; fire dampers are closed and relevant equipment shutdown prior to discharge of clean agent. Portable fire extinguishers will be the primary means to attack and fight incipient fires. Portable fire extinguishers shall be installed at the New Port Control Tower facility. The type, number and location of fire extinguishers to be identified in the fire protection and safety equipment layout.

The functional integrity of the New Port Control Tower Building needs to be assured so that emergency action & firefighting operations can be undertaken after the occurrence of a fire or explosion event. Hence New Port Control tower building shall, where practicable, be located outside areas of fire hazardous effect.

To the extent possible, all sprinkler and riser piping and fittings will be installed so that the system can be drained through the main drain. If this is not possible, auxiliary drainage facilities will be sized and arranged.

The HVAC system for New Port Tower building shall be provided with treated fresh air. The design of fresh air intake shall be provided with flammable & toxic gas detectors with motorized dampers to avoid drawing of combustible vapor or Toxic gas into building.

Toxic Gas Detectors (H2S) shall be located on the perimeter of the New Port Control Tower site and in the New Port Control Tower HVAC inlet. The detection systems will provide early detection of elevated concentrations of H2S within either of the HVAC air intake systems and on activation will alarm, seal off the respective HVAC inlet and shut down the unit. Since the building could be exposed to smoke or an external flammable mixture, the building will also be equipped with seals for windows, doors, and penetrations to prevent the infiltration of formation of smoke or a flammable mixture inside the building.

Occupants of the building will be trained the evacuation of the building and in Shelter-in-Place procedures, depending on the hazard scenario in place. The building emergency evacuation plan shall document the building design features for shelter in place and when shelter in place is required and will clearly mark escape route paths in the event evacuation is called for. When the Shelter-in-Place concept is chosen, personnel will be mustered to a common location within the building specifically designed to provide the following features:

  • Emergency communications equipment (e.g.: telephones, at a minimum);
  • PPE (breathing protection for evacuation purposes, should it be necessary); and
  • Seals for windows, doors, and penetrations.
  • Drinking facilities will be provided – assume bottled water stored within facility.
  • Some provision for benches for seating
  • First aid emergency packs will be stored within room.

The shelter in place will contain compressed air, as used in hospitals for assisted patient breathing to an air quality and the refuge will be of the above will be within a 4 hours gas tight construction capable of housing the people of PCT.

On flammable and toxic gas detections in HVAC fresh air intake, damper with auto shutdown of the HVAC system will be executed, air tight (sealed) doors /indoors, no opening for the SIP room shall be established. And Air Supply to SIP from Air cylinder and requirement of volume will be based on number of occupants in the tower. For Additional information, refer shelter in Place – Design Brief Document. It is imperative to ensure that all penetrations of walls, floors or ceilings in non-hazardous areas are effectively sealed in order to maintain pressure levels and prevent the entry of gas. Where necessity a ventilation duct passes through a main vertical zone bulkhead or fire partition (also a firewall), a fail-safe fire shutter (or damper) held by fusible links shall be fitted adjacent to the bulkhead. The shutter shall be capable of manual operation from both sides of the bulkhead.

The operating position shall be readily accessible, be marked in red, and be fitted on at least one side of the bulkhead with a visible indicator showing the shutter position. Fire dampers must possess a fire rating that is at least equivalent to the barrier they are designed to safeguard, and they must not compromise the structural integrity of the fire barrier. In order to ensure operational continuity during emergency scenarios where the main supply fans are deactivated, it is imperative to establish distinct independent ventilation systems for all essential equipment.

The primary objective of the emergency alarm system is to activate an alarm signal throughout all areas of the facility. That is achieved by means of an audible alarm and status light. Where necessary visual alarms located in areas of high ambient noise, distinctly identifiable from other signals or alarms in the plant / installations in order that:

  • All personnel may be summoned to their muster areas.
  • Personnel shall be warned of the occurrence of specific emergencies, and so enable immediate action to be taken.

The design objectives are:

  • To alert personnel
  • To provide a simple alarm code which is easily recognized.

Alarms shall be annunciated at the New Port Control Tower in all floors. The emergency power shall be capable of supplying the following services with electricity for a period of at least 24 hours.

  • Emergency Escape lighting
  • Fire & Gas detection systems
  • Firefighting system
  • Alarm and PA systems
  • Communications system

Emergency generators shall be provided with automatic starting and loading facilities. An uncomplicated and dependable approach for facilitating the prompt transition of emergency generators to their predetermined load shall be implemented.

On loss of both main and emergency generator power, the UPS battery power supply systems shall then be capable of providing continuous power to the following systems for a period of 60 min:

  • Fire and Gas detection system
  • Firefighting system
  • Telecommunication system

shall be designed to provide communication facilities for safety and operational purposes.

The following telecommunications facilities shall be provided:

  • Telephone system for external and internal communications;
  • Telex system;
  • Paging system;
  • Radio system for tower personnel to communicate with port operations personnel and marine vessel entering the port; and
  • Intercom system

The telecom system will be equipped with backup power pack (batteries) to continue operation during blackout. The system shall be adequate to communicate, with:

  • Other port operations;
  • Emergency Centre, fire station;
  • Communication centres;
  • Marine vessels and life boats;
  • Helicopters and heliports; and
  • Fire vehicles.

Emergency telecommunications will utilize the same systems discussed above and will also include portable radios for communications within the port and to industrial facilities pumping materials into the port.

Safety signs shall be of photo luminescent type so that they will be visible in the event of power failure. Safety signs shall be provided at appropriate locations to indicate the escape route, location of firefighting safety and lifesaving equipment’s.

Wind sock shall be located to indicate the wind direction. This shall be fluorescent orange color and located in a highly visible location. Wind socks shall be provided with collapsible poles so replacement is made easy without the need for high lift trucks.

The following are the new buildings/shelters proposed under the project.

  • The New Port Control Tower

The new Port Control Tower will consist of the following, as a minimum:

  • Ground floor – Entrance lobby, vertical circulation, separate access for services & utilities.
  • First floor – Services, space for shelter-in-place
  • Typical floors (tower core – lifts & staircases)
  • Port Operations Floor
  • Marine Emergency / Search & Rescue Centre Floor
  • Plant Room Floor
  • Port Control (VTS) Floor
  • Roof Top – VTS equipment, cameras, radars, antennae, and the like.

The above buildings/shelters shall be located in Non-hazardous area.

The maximum noise limits in facility shall be 85 dB (A) over an 8-hour working at a distance of 1m from the source. Allowance shall be made for Reliable speech, PA system, telephone or radio communication. Work areas where it is not reasonably practicable to reduce the noise level to 85 dB (A) are restricted areas. Hearing protection shall be provided for workers in such areas where noise levels exceed the defined acceptable noise levels.

Extreme climatic conditions especially highest temperatures during summer can have an adverse health effect on workers during normal work and maintenance activities. Awareness should be given to workers and precautions to be taken. Adequate natural ventilation or forced air ventilation as appropriate shall be ensured. Heat stress is a main occupational health consideration in HAZID study.

Breathing apparatus. Fire suit, Fire blanket shall be in sufficient quantity for the number of persons in work in facility at any time during normal operations.