Analysis of Historical Dry Gas Seal Failure Data in Natural Gas Compressors
While proper design and care of dry gas seals is a well-understood topic, dry gas seal failures are still relatively common. These failures can result in frequent repairs and costly downtime. Although several case studies exist, relatively few dry gas seal failure studies exist and only limited statistical information is available in the literature. Based on a review of existing literature, very little effort has been put into studying failures to improve seal reliability. As a part of an industry-funded dry gas seal reliability project, a failure database has been populated with information provided by both end users and original equipment manufacturers. The database includes details on dry gas seal and separation seal configuration, seal gas supply, operating history, conditions at time of failure, and failure symptoms, including any results from failure analyses performed by the survey respondent. As of present, more than seven companies of the eleven approached have provided data for over 150 failure cases. From this extensive database of failures, statistical analysis is used to determine common reasons behind dry gas seal failures in gas compression service. Failure trends are identified based on data collected at the time of presentation, and corresponding recommendations are provided for improving dry gas seal reliability.