Providing Reliable Fire Detection in Large-Scale, High Risk Industrial Environments

25 Mar 2019 / 10:32

Designing a reliable fire detection system for high-risk industrial environments can prove particularly challenging.  There are a number of factors that need to be taken into consideration, not least the location and scale of the site. Extra care needs to be taken at sites where operations are classed as hazardous and where there may be a risk of explosion. The safety of all individuals working at or visiting the site must also be taken into account.  And, of course, the chosen system will have to adhere to the safety regulations of authorities in the region.

Fire detection specialists, Sentrix Technology, faced all of these challenges when designing a complex fire detection system for the Pengerang Deepwater Petroleum Terminal in Johor, Malaysia. The terminal is South East Asia’s first independent land-based petrochemicals storage facility.

Located along major international shipping routes, at the south-eastern tip of the Malaysian Peninsular, Pengerang’s sheltered harbour and deep water make it an ideal location for the oil, gas and petrochemical hub. The dedicated industrial terminal has the capacity to store approximately two million m3 of crude, refined petroleum and petrochemical products.

The terminal is owned by PITSB – a joint venture involving Dialog Group Berhad, Royal Vopak and State Secretary, Johor (Incorporated). When it first opened in 2014, the terminal marked an important economic development for Pengerang, creating thousands of jobs and attracting other investors to the area since its opening.

A phased Approach

Construction of the terminal is being delivered in three phases and, to date, Apollo has been the fire detection manufacturer of choice for Phase One and Two of this landmark project. Phase One, completed in 2014, saw Apollo’s fire detection solutions specified and installed by the fire detection specialists appointed for the project, Sentrix Technology.

Phase One incorporated a vast array of products from Apollo’s Discovery range, including smoke detectors, heat detectors, manual call points, mini switch monitors, explosion IR3 flame detectors, open path gas detectors, linear heat detectors, weather-proof and explosion-proof sounders and Xenon beacons.

Fast forward to 2018 and Phase Two of construction at the deepwater terminal has recently been completed, with Sentrix Technology once again choosing the latest in fire detection technology from Apollo Fire Detectors.

Phase Two consists of 22 internal floating roof storage tanks, Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) regasification facilities and two units of 200,000 mᵌ LNG storage tanks. The terminal has a dedicated 24m deep water jetty with 11 berths and is capable of handling very large crude carriers. It will also offer berths for unloading and reloading of LNG vessels, including QMax, the largest LNG carrier in its class.

To meet the stringent fire detection requirements of Phase Two, a comprehensive system was installed across a range of buildings and open areas, including substations, monitoring buildings, jetty berths, and administration areas, as well as tank pits, the guard house and the loading pump station. Multiple zones are monitored by eight SCAME addressable fire panels with IRIDE graphics.

A high spec, seamless solution

As in Phase One, the second phase required fire detectors designed especially for large and complex applications. Apollo’s high-specification, intelligent Discovery range was once again chosen because of its suitability for the scale of the project. Discovery devices are designed to be adaptable to changing conditions and to offer protection against unwanted alarms. Varying bands of sensitivity can be selected to suit the requirements of the protected space, making the Discovery range extremely flexible for use in many different environmental conditions.

Working seamlessly together in Phase Two are more than 160 Apollo Discovery and Orbis smoke and heat detectors with 60 XP95 output modules, 25 Discovery manual call points and 74 sounder control units. The large open areas around the terminal and the jetties are protected by six strategically placed air horns, while heavy-duty manual call points, sounders and beacons cover the tank pit bund wall and utilities tank areas.

Sentrix Technology chose an open protocol system, which not only allows for forward and backward compatibility with the chosen SCAME panels and Apollo Discovery, Orbis and XP95 devices, but also means that the wide choice of products and availability of spares makes for easy future maintenance.

Much of the installation work was carried out during the construction phase of the project, with a few areas requiring commissioning and testing during plant operation. All testing was completed, and rigorous safety certificates were issued by the Malaysia Fire & Rescue Department in July 2018. Sentrix’s continued involvement includes the scheduled maintenance of the fire protection system.

For the protection of the floating roof tanks, Sentrix installed Protectowire Linear Heat Detection (LHD), a cable-based system that provides economical temperature monitoring at the precise point of risk. The system is reliable, flexible and has the ability to detect abnormal temperature variances before it develops into a fire situation. In addition, all the tanks are equipped with a water spray system and fixed ground fire water and foam monitors with a range of 60 - 70m, which protect all the storage tanks.  

The jetty areas are equipped with 228 mᵌ/hr remote controlled water and foam monitors with a range of 70m, protecting both the berths and jetty.  

Meeting environmental and legislative requirements

Several challenges needed to be addressed when designing the fire detection system for the first two phases of the Pengerang Deepwater Petroleum Terminal. The site is not only very large and varied in terms of differing marine jetty and land-based storage areas, but the potential risks posed by the large amount of crude oil and refined petroleum products stored onsite meant that the design needed to be robust enough to cope with this hazardous and demanding environment.

Throughout Phase One and Two, Apollo’s Discovery range has proven to offer reliability and flexibility in coping with even the most demanding of environments, meeting the strict regulations of numerous bodies, including the Jabatan Penyelamat & Bomba Malaysia local authority, the American National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Codes, the Malaysian Standard (MS) and the Uniform Building By-Laws (UBBL) 1984, making the Pengerang terminal one of the best protected and safest Deep Water Terminals in the world.

“Having successfully completed the installation of a well-designed system for Phase One of this vast project, we were familiar with the challenges of such a large-scale site with its demanding environments and highly flammable risks. With the Apollo system working so well on Phase One, we had total confidence that the Discovery range was the ideal solution for Phase Two,” said Chong Yin Keong, General Manager at Sentrix Technology.




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