Technical Blog

Cognascents is dedicated to providing our clients with experts that are up-to-date with the latest working knowledge across the Asset Integrity, Process Engineering, Process Safety and Reliability spectrums. In striving to achieve this goal, our experts are often a part of technical discussions and debates. The Technical Toolkit will serve as our avenue to share information learned from these experiences within the dynamic Process Engineering and Process Safety Worlds.

A Call to Action

Over the past few decades, the Chemical and Oil & Gas industry has faced a relentless onslaught in the media, resulting in tangible consequences. The workforce is experiencing a decline in the influx of new engineers compared to the departure of seasoned professionals. This imbalance places the burden on fewer individuals with limited experience, expected…

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What Computer Algorithms Tell Us About Prioritizing Relief System Deficiencies

When the dust settles after completion of a facility’s relief system design revalidation, the difficult task of mitigating any identified deficiencies begins. The question inevitably arises as to which deficiencies to address first, and if your facility has recently undergone a unit wide or facility wide relief system revalidation, you may be wondering how to…

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What’s In Your Pipes?

Some time ago, a client had a heat and material balance that they wanted recreated and scaled, but the only documentation the client had in regards to process chemistry was a set of PFDs with stream tables. Based on the flow rates and compositions on the page (what was appearing and disappearing), I had to…

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Ask Our Expert: Justin Daarud

1. What Mechanical Integrity program improvements will deliver integrity and reliability performance? Visualization and Digital Twins:For me personally, visualization is critical to enhancing any program. Whether I am looking at a spreadsheet, an inspection report, an engineering specification sheet or U1A, visualization of a digital twin helps me visualize the equipment and its degradation locations.…

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Texas….Pipes, Pipes, Freeze Baby

Alright; stop, grab a seat, and listen… It was COLD in Texas.  REALLY cold. However, with simple planning for reliability, Texans could have possibly prevented multiple pipe-freezing failures that are continuing to plague many as we thaw out from Winter Storm Uri.  Hopefully, my story and observations of our collective pipe-freezing situation will remind us…

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Ask Our Expert: Najib Melhem

1. What are the challenges operators are facing when trying to maintain their relief system program in a low-price oil environment? The industry faces several challenges in the current low-price climate specifically due to the uncertainty in the pandemic-driven supply and demand pressures that extend beyond normal market economics. In addition to the impact of…

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My Last Words Top 10 List

  My sister-in-law, Judy Perez, recently passed away after a long battle with pancreatic cancer. Her last days were tough on everyone close to her. There is no doubt that cancer sucks! Being around death is not a habit I want to develop; however, exposure to the physical, mental, and spiritual grit that accompanies many…

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Keyed-Valve Interlocks

  Several years ago, while working in a refinery, I noticed a relief valve with its inlet block valve completely closed. I radioed an operator for assistance. Within minutes, two operators arrived and confirmed that the valve should not be closed. They opened the valve and thanked me for notifying them. In following up a…

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How Are You Being Useful?

My sister-in-law, Judy Perez, is battling Stage 4 pancreatic cancer and has been for over four years. She just started a cycle of compassionate care treatment at MD Anderson. Life has been especially tough for her and my brother, Julio Perez, these last several months. They have dealt with physical pain, emotional highs and lows,…

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Considerations when Establishing a Mechanical Integrity Program for a Process Safety Management Regulated Facility

Energy organizations such as chemical manufacturers, oil and gas production, and even pharmaceutical manufacturers strive to maintain a Process Safety Management (PSM) program to ensure the safety of their employees and those around their facilities. Many of these organizations are familiar with the requirements of PSM including the process of conducting Process Hazard Analysis (PHA)…

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PHAs and Flare Systems

At every facility, there is a point during the process hazard analysis when the team inevitably dives into “the black hole” of flare/relief/scrubber systems.  Following strict HAZOP analysis methodology, a team documents all deviations from normal operating limits.  However, with most relief systems, this leaves the team facing numerous causes, and with each source, having…

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Group & Self Accountability in Process Hazard Analyses

When performing a process hazard analysis (PHA), often people of different positions and specializations are gathered in the meeting room to assess the chosen process on its safety and ability to safeguard against inherent hazards. These groups can include personnel from maintenance, operations, engineering, HS&E (Health, Safety, and Environmental), and management. This diversity of thought…

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Are You Loyal?

Do you remember the last time you betrayed someone or let someone down by not meeting your commitments? Was it missing or cancelling a lunch date? Was it telling a little white lie? Was it omitting part of the truth? Was it choosing something or someone different for the sake of variety? Was it staying…

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No…You Will Never Use That in the Real World, but That’s Not the Point!

The point of education is not just to learn facts or be able solve math problems, but to develop skills that make us better, more well-rounded individuals. So, with that said, the next time that a recent college or high school graduate complains about having had to learn, “things they will never use again,” remind them that the critical thinking and reasoning skills that they developed are more important than the actual information they had to study.

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Choose to See the Good

I keep hearing and reading how pessimistic and apathetic we are as a society. I have really started paying attention to what I see and hear through media, family, and friends. Sometimes we don’t realize when our thoughts, words, and actions turn toxic. It is a full-time job to keep the toxicity at bay and…

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Summer Is a Great Time to Learn

Both of my parents were educators. Needless to say, learning was a valued activity growing up. Even during summers, my parents worked hard to balance creative and unfocused time with reading and learning time. Looking back, they did a good job of letting me goof around enough during summers while also driving me to be…

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Prepare with the End in Mind

This blog synthesizes two of my passions – reading and Scouting. The Boy Scout motto is “Be Prepared”.  When asked what Scouts should be prepared for, Lord Baden-Powell’s response was “Why, for any old thing”.  B-P developed the Scouting program and movement with a firm intent for young men to always be “in a state…

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