Case Study - Malaysian LNG Facility

To prevent accidental product spillage while tankers are loading, Smith Flow Control supplied and installed a valve interlocking system for the Malaysia LNG installation at Bintulu in Sarawak, East Malaysia.

One of the largest LNG facilities in the world, the LNG loading site features hydraulically actuated loading arms which are maneuvered into place from a control station. Once connected, the supply valve is opened up allowing product transfer.

The specification of the safety interlock system comprises two trapped-key locking devices. A single key, two-position switch lock unit is fitted to the panel in the control station. A small valve lock is fitted to the hydraulic supply line on the LNG supply valve.

With the interlock key in place in the control station switch panel lock, the loading arm can be maneuvered into place. Once the arm is connected to the ship, the key is released from the switch lock and used to unlock and open the Ball valve in the supply valve actuator. The supply valve can now be opened in the usual way.

While the transfer takes place, the key remains trapped in the valve lock, preventing operation of the loading arm. Once transfer in complete, the supply valve is closed enabling release of the key, which is then returned to the control station, reinstating controls of the loading arm and allowing it to be retracted.

This simple, low-cost system eliminates the risk of human error or negligence in the tanker loading procedure which could lead to a vessel leaving the transfer area still connected to the on-shore facilities via a loading arm. Only one key is ‘free’ at any time which makes the system simple and operator friendly; the essence of a well designed key interlock system.

Smith Flow Control, Tel: +44 (0) 1376 517901


About SFC

Smith Flow Control (SFC) was established in 1985 to provide engineered safety systems for hazardous valve operations. Through innovation of the specific coded-card key interlocks, SFC has helped shape safety guidelines for valve operation in the Oil & Gas and chemical processing industry. Most offshore installations in the North Sea have been equipped with SFC systems as well as the majority of related onshore processing facilities throughout Europe. By 1990 SFC became the generic term for key interlock safety systems in the international Oil & Gas industry and its client base now includes most of the major operating companies across all five continents. For over 20 years, Smith Flow control has never failed to provide a viable technical solution to a client’s safety operating problem.

Valve Safety

Founder and Vice-Chairman of Smith
Flow Control Mike Smith discusses
valve safety and the principles of
Mechanical Key Interlocking


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