Reciprocating Compressors – Flare Valve

As flow rate to the compressor increases, the suction pressure rises until the volume of gas at actual conditions of temperature and pressure compressed by the cylinder equals the volume required by the cylinder. A flare valve is needed to keep the suction pressure from rising too high and overpressuring the suction cylinder, creating too high a rod load or increasing the horsepower requirements beyond the capability of the driver.

The flare valve also allows production to continue momentarily if a compressor shuts down automatically. Even in booster service it may be beneficial to allow an operator to assess the cause of the compressor shutdown before shutting in the wells. In flash gas or gas-lift service, it is almost always beneficial to continue to produce the liquids while the cause of the compressor shutdown is investigated. The flare valve must always be installed upstream of the suction shutdown valve.

Example process flow diagram of reciprocating compressor

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