Managing the Hazards of Flare Systems

Date From: 05 June 2018
Date To: 06 June 2018
Location: United Kingdom
Description: Covers the key hazards associated with onshore and offshore flare systems, from the discharge flange of relief valves, to the flare tip, and the risks which must be controlled to ensure the safe operation of such systems.
Event Type: IChemE Course
Venue: Rugby, UK
Organiser: IChemE
Contact Name: Courses department
Contact Phone: +44 (0)1788 534431
Contact Email:

Book Event


Flare systems are used throughout the petrochemical, oil refining and upstream oil and gas industries and serve as key relief and abatement systems. However, if not designed, operated and maintained correctly they can, and have, been involved in both minor and major accidents. 

The course covers a comprehensive review of the operations and equipment on offshore and onshore systems of all types. This includes categorising and reviewing the key hazards which must be controlled; using examples of past industry accidents and incidents, and errors in design that were revealed only in operation. In this way, delegates will gain a good understanding of the factors to develop safe process schemes; the aspects of controlled flare system operation, maintenance and plant modification; and finally effective process safety and environmental compliance over cycle of a flare system.

Learning outcomes

The course will help delegates to have a working knowledge and understand:

  • the components of a flare system, how they work, why these components, which make up a flare disposal system, are there and how they can fail or be rendered ineffective
  • key principles for ensuring flare system safety
  • the key types of incidents and accidents and be able to use this knowledge in the design, operation, modification and maintenance
  • the regulatory requirements from safety and environmental regulations such as COMAH and PPC regulations

Who will benefit

  • those who have responsibility for designing, operating, maintaining and/or modifying flare systems
  • personnel from operating companies, consultancies, EPCM companies and regulatory bodies who may be responsible for regulating assets which contain flare systems

Course outline

  • review of a flare system incident
  • review of flare system components 
  • key flare system siting considerations – eg ground level heat flux criteria
  • key flare system sizing considerations
  • hazard 1 – keeping air out of the flare system 
  • hazard 2 – keeping flare system lit
  • hazard 3 – preventing liquid overfill 
  • hazard 4 – preventing freezing/blockage 
  • hazard 5 – exclusion of personnel from flare systems  
  • hazard 6 – flaring toxic materials 
  • hazard 7 – preventing over-chilling 
  • hazard 8 -  working on flare systems (live break ins where no isolation valves exist, effectiveness of isolation valves etc) 
  • hazard 9 – performing operational checks, or maintenance within flare 'sterilisation' zones
  • environmental aspects of elevated flare stack systems (noise, light, loss of pilots etc)
  • other hazards  (eg steam hammer – as steam to elevated flare headers is usually at end of a header)


IChemE member – £850 + VAT
Non-member – £1000 + VAT

Course presenter

Paul Denham

Paul is a Chartered Chemical Engineer who has worked in a range of sectors for over 16 years. These include heavy chemicals, fine chemicals, pharmaceuticals, petrochemicals & onshore and offshore oil and gas. He has worked for and with a number of major companies (ICI, Albright & Wilson, Roche, GlaxoSmithKline, INEOS, Wood Group PSN, Shell, BP and Talisman) and in a number of plant operations, design, and commissioning and plant support roles. 

Since 2002, Paul has led a number of major compliance projects including preparing top-tier COMAH report for a full site, and preparing IPPC application for a full site. Paul has worked in full time process safety roles since 2006 and supported a number of petrochemical assets and in this role, he led safety reviews, incident investigations and remediation projects on a number of flare disposal systems. 

Paul currently works in the oil and gas industry providing technical safety engineering services as a director of GMS Technical Safety.  He also has a B(Eng) (Hons) from the University of Strathclyde and a MSc(Eng) in process safety & loss prevention from the University of Sheffield.

Alan Donnelly

Alan Donnelly is a Chartered Chemical Engineer with more than 16 years experience working in various roles across a range of industries, including upstream oil and gas, pharmaceuticals, agrochemicals, refining and research.

Alan has worked with a number of blue-chip companies, including Shell, BP, Exxon, BHP Billiton, Ineos, GSK, Syngenta, Aker Kvaerner, Jacobs and Wood Group PSN. His most recent role has been leading a team of process engineers designing brownfield modifications to three linked top tier COMAH sites. Previous roles have included plant design, commissioning and operations support on various sites. In these roles, Alan has worked on the refurbishment and modification of a number of different flare systems and their components.

Alan is currently working in the oil and gas industry as a director of Donnelly Process Engineering. He holds both PhD and BEng (Hons) degrees in chemical engineering from Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh.

Duration (for CPD recording purposes): up to 11.5 hours.  11.5 hours CPD
If you are recording mandatory CPD you should refer to your own regulator’s requirements as recognition of CPD hours may vary.

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IChemE is a registered charity in England & Wales (214379), and a charity registered in Scotland (SC 039661).