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Zone II

Oil rig and boat

Safety step change – well testing environment.

Post Macondo (Deepwater Horizon Disaster) duty holders and operating companies alike have modernised safety cases for their installations to ensure the highest safety standards are written into operating procedures. The distance between a 'Safe Area' and a Zone II classified area, in accordance with IP15, is 3 meters from any part of the surface process system. That recommendation is written for fixed production systems employing welded joints, not specifically for temporary well testing systems employing numerous mechanical connections.

During surface well testing, or whilst hydrocarbons are at the surface, steps should be taken to remove sources of ignition in the event of an undesirable gas or liquid release. The volume of gas in a working well test spread can be visualised as a 32ft sphere at atmospheric conditions. Propagation of a sizeable liquid or gas release in a 25mph wind could be 36 feet per second and in this time frame such an event would make it difficult to guard against, especially where engine or boiler intakes do not employ flame traps and/or isolating dampers. To those ends it is easy to understand why the eminent operating companies and certifying bodies are insisting on utilising Zone II compressors and Zone II steam generators during surface well testing.

Zone II equipment

Early in the New Year the first pair of  Zone II steam generators manufactured were deployed via airfreight to Tanzania. They joined existing 1600cfm  Zone II compressors and HeaterSentry® equipment hired by the current well test behemoth working for an eminent British company involved in gas exploration. Similar projects using Zone II air compressors & steam generators are now on-going in Trinidad, Angola and Brazil.

Many will agree the safest way to protect personnel and assets against undesirable gas or liquid release is to use Zone II equipment.

For reassurance, contact ScanTech Offshore and let us make the difference for your well test support.


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