Pump retrofit saves offshore operations from millions in losses

To ensure the profitability of offshore oil and gas extraction, operators require equipment to perform reliably throughout long periods between maintenance intervals. When an international oil company (IOC) was experiencing short mean time between failures (MTBF) for its liquified petroleum flare knockout vessel pumps on an offshore platform in Malaysia, the business approached Sulzer for a pump retrofit to safeguard uptime.

Pump Inspection
Customer International Oil & Gas company
Location Offshore Malaysia
Industry Offshore Oil & Gas
Key Services




32 m3/hr
at head of 164 meters


26 weeks


Substaintial losses were avoided through a robust component upgrade designed to handle harsh offshore operating conditions.

The Challenge

Flare knockout pump experiences reduced reliability

A change in the flare system process caused abrasive sand to be drawn into the pumps, resulting in excessive wear and a reduced mean time between failures (MTBF) of 12-18 months. The reduced pump performance was affecting platform operations and if a double pump failure occurred, the whole process would be shut down, costing the operator millions of dollars. The project needed to resolve a number of challenges:

  • Pump repairs needed to be completed quickly and effectively
  • A major pump retrofit needed to be delivered in 26 weeks
  • Turnkey project including performance testing, installation and commissioning
  • Wear and damage to sleeves, wear rings and bushings

The Solution

Turnkey retrofit solution in a tight deadline

Significant erosion to the impellers was resolved by the application of an extremely durable tungsten carbide coating, which was applied using a high velocity oxygen fuel (HVOF) thermal spray process. The worn bushings were upgraded from PEEK material to a ceramic design to increase durability. Each pump motor was also refurbished as part of the turnkey project. Sulzer delivered considerable technical expertise:

  • The retrofit solution matched the existing pump footprint.
  • The revised design extended the durability of the pump components.
  • Rapid engineering ensured project completion within 26 weeks.
  • Pump was tested locally in Singapore to confirm performance, including vibration.

Explore our solutions

  • Retrofit
    Retrofitting your critical assets with the latest technology will maximize performance, minimize costs, and improve reliability.

  • Pump services
    Reliable and efficient pump operation is critical for your business. Therefore you need a service partner that can respond fast and flexibly. Our pump services are second to none and provide solutions that help you to improve your processes and business performance.

  • Repair and overhaul services
    Repair services provide our customers with the assurance that when their piece of equipment is returned to operation they receive the maximum value from the repair process. No matter how complex the equipment, regardless of OEM, you can be confident your machine will perform as expected.

The Customer Benefit

Improved reliability and reduced costs

The customer was keen for an improved design to be delivered as quickly as possible and the retrofit solution was guaranteed for delivery in 26 weeks. As a result, platform operations could continue running.

All the modifications were completed within the footprint of the original pump, ensuring easy reinstallation and preserving the available space on the platform. The high-performance coatings greatly extended the MTBF for the pumps.

Sulzer’s expertise and facilities ensured the project was delivered in the shortest timeframe.

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