Emergency Proceduresblowouts And Fires

In the case of an oil or gas well blowout, action should be designed to protect human life and control the disaster as rapidly as possible. Very often these catastrophic blowouts are accompanied by fire because ignition sources abound around a drilling floor. Secondary fire problems are caused by the use of ordinary combustibles on drilling rigs and/or platforms.

If a drilling rig is on location, all engines must be shut down and all feeder lines into the installation must be shut in. All electric power lines in the area should also be cut off. All personnel must be accounted for and evacuated to a safe distance (off of the rig or platform). In the event of an injury, medical and/or ambulance service must be called out. These services should be alerted in any event.

A small crew can then be used to clear the location of all equipment that can be safely moved. If liquid hydrocarbons or gas are in storage or in a gas plant on the rig or platform, these should be pumped or flowed from the affected installation when practical. The hydrocarbons should be removed from the installations as long as possible, with the fluid temperature being continually checked.

If liquid hydrocarbons are flowing or spilling in the offshore waters, the equipment and personnel necessary to contain and clean up these fluids should be activated. The appropriate fire fighting equipment available should immediately be used to fight the particular type* of fire, while service companies with fire fighting equipment are mobilized.

After initial procedures are implemented, appropriate company officials, governmental regulatory agencies, working interest owners, and contractor's management should be notified. All questions from the press or other parties concerning the situation should be routed through one man.

If the blowing well(s) does not bridge over, well control specialists should be mobilized. During the mobilization period necessary safety equipment (such as air tanks and masks in case of sour gas, brass tools, etc.), additional supplies of fire fighting chemicals, necessary mud materials, mixing and pumping equipment, and special well control tools should be ordered.

'Fires on rigs and platforms are classified into three categories:

Class A — fires involving ordinary combustibles, such as wood, paper materials;

Class B — fires involving inflammable liquids and/or gasses; Class C — electrical fires.

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