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Project Profile

A Solution for HPHT Facilities to Mitigate Risks from Unplanned Releases in Testing Operations

Learn how ABS Group worked with numerous oilfield service providers to develop economical solutions for high pressure testing facilities.

Project Objectives

Project Overview

As the oil and gas industry continues to demand products capable of operating at higher working pressures in excess of 20,000 psi, the risk of unsafe hazards during testing has increased. The industry has responded to rising safety and performance demands by developing test cells to ensure the reliability of completion production equipment prior to in-service commissioning.

However, the methods for hazard evaluation and the design of test cell structures lacks consistency across organizations, particularly in regards to resisting unintended projectiles from an unplanned pressure release.

ABS Group developed a systematic approach that integrates our core Extreme Loads and Structural Risk service offerings to provide a consistent, cost-effective, and reliable test cell design for numerous oilfield service providers, enhancing worker safety in onshore high-pressure/high-temperature (HPHT) testing facilities.

Client Needs
  • Inconsistency between organizations on methods for hazard evaluation and test cell structure design
  • Confirming worker safety and mitigating hazards from unplanned failures
  • Developing an economically scalable HPHT testing approach to meet each business unit's needs


Our Solution

Perform HAZID to Develop Failure Scenarios

To establish a complete profile of potential hazards at a high-pressure test facility, a failure mode and effects analysis (FMEA) was performed. Since a testing facility encounters a wide variety of equipment and tools, it was imperative to implement the HAZID process to bound the problem. To make the solution scalable to each business unit or client, we were able to include contingency equipment in the evaluation for future expansion and growth.

The conclusions from this study were used to predict the energy release from high-pressure pneumatic and hydraulic equipment to establish design basis consequences including water spray, overpressure releases, and projectile impacts. The key tasks performed in this component of the work were:

  • Decompose equipment into individual parts
  • Down-select parts list to only include relevant items
  • Define source terms for scenarios (loaded area, volume, pressure, etc.)
  • Define characteristics of parts (mass, shape, location, etc.)
  • Perform fluid ejection velocity calculations
  • Perform projectile velocity calculations

Numerical Modeling

We used computational fluid dynamics to simulate energy release and propagation of fluid jets and overpressure release. This method was also used to examine projectile loading conditions as a complement to the analytical methods performed during the HAZID evaluation of the parts.

The kinetic energy for all equipment was calculated in the HAZID with control conditions forming the design basis loading for the structural design. ABS Group then analyzed hazards to determine the structural configuration for performance subject to the impact loading from these projectiles. We conducted nonlinear dynamic finite element analysis (FEA) modeling to evaluate structural adequacy for the design basis hazards. We defined the following acceptance criteria for overall system performance:

  • All potential fragments must be contained within the test cell. It is acceptable to have penetrations in the walls; however the fragments must be trapped so that the final velocity of the projectile at the penetration point equals 0-m/s.
  • Damage, including severe deformations, plasticity and cracking are acceptable, provided that the test cell maintains its structural integrity and no secondary hazards are created from the impacting projectile.
  • Spalling, if concrete or other brittle materials are elected for use in the design, is acceptable where the spall particles on the back side of the impacted surface do not generate a potential secondary hazard to occupants and equipment outside the test cell.

Design Development and Construction Support

A structural design of the test booth was developed by ABS Group which integrated the findings from the engineering analysis. We developed the design in concert with facility operations staff so that all requisite mechanical and environmental systems were included. The end product was a contractor-ready set of drawings and specifications.

ABS Group continued to serve the project through fabrication and provided on-demand service through construction so that the implementation of the design was done in accordance with the design intent.

Value Delivered

ABS Group developed the methodology that has been successfully used to design and construct more than 20 high pressure test cells and enclosures for many clients in the oilfield services market. The solutions were specific to the needs of each client and were developed with safety as the paramount concern.

In addition, we have helped with decision-making related to the deployment of test cell systems to provide a more cost-effective testing structure within the organization.

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