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ScanTech Offshore selected by major international oil company (IOC) to provide solution for automated fire detection and fire suppression system

The system is required for an ongoing three-year project to enhance health and safety for the management of methanol as well as other flammable liquids and chemicals.


The IOC had to store large volumes of methanol in a temporary offshore production facility in Angola, Central Africa. Derived from natural gas, methanol is a colourless alcohol, hygroscopic and completely miscible with water. It is a good solvent but very toxic, extremely flammable and easily ignited. Pure methanol has a flash point of 11°C.

At all stages of transportation and distribution, methanol must be stored securely and handled responsibly.
When in an upset condition offshore, methanol presents a challenge that must be addressed with a complementary solution as a methanol fire is invisible to the naked eye.

The challenge

  • To provide an effective solution for the storage of multiple different chemicals, including methanol and defoaming agents.
  • Challenges when handling and storing methanol include protecting and securing the tanks while also providing the same level of protection to the high-pressure pumping systems that are necessary to deliver the methanol to the process.
  • To maximise the available deck area on board the vessel, which is a finite space defined by the length and beam of the vessel when it is built.

The solution

  • ScanTech Offshore’s PyroSentry™ - an automated fire detection and fire suppression system designed for flammable liquid bunds and storage areas – was installed for the duration of the project. It’s primarily used to enhance safety when storing or handling methanol on supply vessels and offshore installations during well testing and well intervention.
  • Ahead of the project’s start, ScanTech Offshore provided its engineering services to assist with the delivery of an engineering and simulation solution to meet the customer’s specific requirements and ensure adequate suppression of the system.
  • The PyroSentry™ was a bespoke engineered solution specific to the client’s needs, created for specific flammable liquid bunds to accommodate the client’s chemical tanks while also ensuring that the chemical tanks could be easily swapped out with zero downtime.
  • The PyroSentry™ delivers an audible and visual alarm system, utilising thermal imaging cameras and a portable firefighting system – an ideal solution for plug-and-play installation.
  • The system was designed to be in line with the project’s requirements and capable of handling a large capacity of liquids, with quantities of methanol ranging from 1000 litres to 85,000 litres.
  • An integrated full interface was incorporated to provide a temporary production platform fire and gas detection system.

Results and benefits

  • The solution was successfully installed in the allotted time frame, and the three-year project is currently ongoing with great success.
  • The major IOC was able to carry out the project in line with the relevant safety regulations.
  • ScanTech Offshore delivered reduced and efficient lead time from the start of planning the project to the delivery of equipment, achieving this in a less than six-week turnaround for the client.
  • ScanTech Offshore delivered a low maintenance option with reduced personnel requirements, which therefore provides the customer with effective cost optimisation due to the reduced personnel on board required offshore.
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