Global Energy Company Reduces Regulatory Compliance Costs on Fired Heaters Saving Almost $50 Million Dollars

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A client was facing a lengthy compliance process to upgrade a fleet of fired heaters. With aeSolutions guidance, the client reduced their compliance scope by 50%.


The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) issued a prescriptive design requiring the client to upgrade 79 fired heaters’ Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs). This would mean shutting down the plant resulting in a significant production loss and possible unexpected Process Hazards.


Focusing on the NFPA 86 prescriptive design applicable to waste gas thermal oxidizers and applying our experience in Process Safety Management (PSM), we worked with the client to target and isolate several areas of risk not readily apparent in the NFPA-prescribed design. We then conducted an options analysis and implemented a strategic risk reduction model, which included:

• Upgrades to flame scanners and other sensing elements
• Replacing generic relays with SIL-2 capable relays
• End-device leak testing
• Strategic upgrades to SIL-rated logic solvers

These modifications formed an Equivalent Design Package which was evaluated and approved by the Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ).


The client’s capital expenditure was reduced by $48 million while enhancing safety and reliability. aeSolutions slashed the compliance scope from a 10-year process of PLC upgrades of 79 fired heaters to just 20, with a credit taken for the remaining 59 heaters due to existing protection layers and minor upgrades to instrumentation and control equipment over a five-year upgrade program.

Industry: Oil & Gas

Geography: Pacific Northwest

Unit Operation: Fired Heaters, Boilers

Governing: NFPA 85, NFPA 86

Take a look at our Success Stories page for more ways aeSolutions has helped our clients.