Twelve Steps To Engineering Safe Oil and Gas Facilities
- Dennis Denney (JPT Senior Technology Editor)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- December 2011
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 67 - 69
- 2011. Society of Petroleum Engineers
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- 46 since 2007
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This article, written by Senior Technology Editor Dennis Denney, contains highlights of paper SPE 141974, "Twelve Steps To Engineering Safe Oil and Gas Facilities," by J.E. Johnstone, SPE, and J.V. Curfew, SPE, Contek Solutions, prepared for the 2011 SPE Americas E&P Health, Safety, Security, and Environmental Conference, Houston, 21-23 March 2011. The paper has not been peer reviewed.
The safety of an onshore facility is a function of how safely the facility was designed. People are injured, and sometimes killed, when explosions, fires, and toxic-gas releases occur at oil- and gas-producing facilities that were designed without including measures that could have prevented such incidents. The safety of people and equipment must be considered and included along every step in the engineering and design of oil and gas facilities.
Many wellsites, tank batteries, and production facilities are at risk because of design or installation errors. These errors may have occurred when the facility was built or because the facility had been enlarged or upgraded through the years. Lack of proper engineering design can lead to equipment failure, lost production, human injury, or harm to the environment. Design and equipment selection will affect the safety and health of perhaps generations of workers who will be working on and near the equipment.
When designing a facility for a discovery, companies may choose to make sure that all facilities are designed and operated in accordance with standards and good engineering practices and with regulatory requirements. The other choice is to make decisions that inevitably lead to equipment failure, personnel injuries, and environmental damage.
The full-length paper details 12 key areas for facility designers and engineers to include when designing facilities for safe operation. The following is a short summary of these areas that should enable designing and building safe facilities that reduce the risk of major incidents. See the full-length paper for citing of applicable recommended practices, codes, and standards.
Design-Standards Policy. Each producing company, no matter how small, must implement a policy regarding the use of industry design standards that can be articulated to the production and operations groups regarding how surface facilities should be built. Setting a design policy to use industry standards will reduce the risk of injury to personnel or the occurrence of an environmental event at the facility. Most industry standards and regulations were developed in response to safety-related events and continually evolve to incorporate lessons learned from other safety-related events. Building a facility to industry standards provides the user with industry-accepted safety criteria.
|File Size||2 MB||Number of Pages||3|