Content of PetroWiki is intended for personal use only and to supplement, not replace, engineering judgment. SPE disclaims any and all liability for your use of such content. An uncontrolled and unintentional flow of fluids from one formation to another, generally when one or more well barriers have been breached.
A flare or vent disposal system collects and discharges gas from atmospheric or pressurized process components to the atmosphere to safe locations for final release during normal operations and abnormal conditions (emergency relief). In vent systems, the gas exiting the system is dispersed in the atmosphere. Gas-disposal systems for tanks operating near atmospheric pressure are often called atmospheric vents or flares, and gas-disposal systems for pressure vessels are called pressure vents or flares. A flare or vent system from a pressurized source may include a control valve, collection piping, flashback protection, and a gas outlet. A scrubbing vessel should be provided to remove liquid hydrocarbons. The actual configuration of the flare or vent system depends on the hazards assessment for the specific installation. RP 520, Part 1, Sec. 8, and RP 521, Secs. 4 and 5, cover disposal and depressuring system design.
Content of PetroWiki is intended for personal use only and to supplement, not replace, engineering judgment. SPE disclaims any and all liability for your use of such content. An elastomer bag or donut type seal, pushed into contact with the pipe or tools in the blow out preventer (BOP). It is designed to seal around pipe or any other irregular surface tool (packers, guns, pumps, etc.) that may be in the BOP, including itself if the wellbore is empty. May also be called a Hydril preventer.
Most threats to safety from production involve the release of hydrocarbons; therefore, the analysis and design of a production-facility safety system should focus on preventing such releases, stopping the flow of hydrocarbons to a leak if it occurs, and minimizing the effects of hydrocarbons should they be released. Ideally, hydrocarbon releases should never occur. Every process component is protected with two levels of protection: primary and secondary. The reason for two levels of protection is that if the first level fails to function properly, a secondary level of protection is available. If hydrocarbon releases occur (and, in spite of our best efforts, they sometimes do), inflow to the release site must be shut off as soon as possible. The problem should not be exacerbated with the continued release of additional hydrocarbons. Protective shut-in action is achieved by both the surface safety system (SSS) and the emergency support system (ESS). Shut-in systems are discussed in more detail in Sec. When hydrocarbons are released, their effects should be minimized as much as possible. This can be accomplished through the use of ignition-prevention measures and ESSs (i.e., the liquid-containment system). If oil spills from a process component, a release of hydrocarbons has occurred. A spill is never good, but component skids and deck drains (if offshore) minimize the effect of a bad situation when the spill would otherwise go into a freshwater stream or offshore waters. A hazard tree identifies potential hazards, determines the conditions necessary for a hazard to exist, determines sources that could create this condition, and breaks the chain leading to the hazard by eliminating the conditions and sources. Because complete elimination is normally not possible, the goal is to reduce the likelihood of occurrence.
Production logging tools can provide important information for assessing a gas blowout after abandonment. A well was drilled through two gas zones on the way to test a deeper oil zone. The well was abandoned and the wellhead cut at the seafloor. Six months after abandonment, there was a gas blowout to the surface, causing the sea to churn. A relief well was drilled in order to flood the blowing zone.
Well planning is perhaps the most demanding aspect of drilling engineering. It requires the integration of engineering principles, corporate or personal philosophies, and experience factors. Although well planning methods and practices may vary within the drilling industry, the end result should be a safely drilled, minimum-cost hole that satisfies the reservoir engineer's requirements for oil/gas production. Safety should be the highest priority in well planning. In some cases, the plan must be altered during the course of drilling the well when unforeseen drilling problems endanger the crew.
The American Petroleum Institute (API) has developed RP 14C, a safety-analysis approach based on a number of traditional hazards-analysis techniques such as failure-mode-effects analysis (FMEA) and hazard-and-operability studies (HAZOPS). The purpose of a safety analysis is to identify undesirable events that might pose a threat to safety and define reliable protection measures that will prevent such events or minimize their effects should they occur. Potential threats to safety are identified through proven hazards-analysis techniques that have been adapted to hydrocarbon-production processes. Recommended protective measures are common industry practices proved through many years of operating experience. A variable fluctuates between a lower and an upper extreme value. Process variables allow movement of the fluids through the process components while simultaneously achieving the degree of separation required for sales or water disposal. A process component is any piece of equipment that handles hydrocarbons.
In July 2012, SPE held a two-day summit on human factors to create a common understanding of the strategic challenges for the oil and gas E&P industry, to identify what is known and unknown in the field, and to explore possible actions to accomplish the needed change indicated by the U.S. National Commission on the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling report. Attendees created a technical report based on the discussions and conclusions at the summit as a guideline on the human factors risks in E&P operations and what can be done to reduce those risks and increase safety. Members of the summit decided that the industry must move to an organizational culture in which process safety is as well managed as personal safety. Leadership is critical to a process safety culture. The decisions, actions, and statements made by leaders, the reward and incentive structures that leaders implement, the way leaders behave and interact with people throughout the organization, and the decisions and actions they take to balance safety against commercial imperatives, directly determine the attitude to safety within an organization.
With operations often classified as high risk from a financial and physical standpoint, and costs often in excess of a quarter of a million dollars per day, capable personnel and a defined management structure are essential. Running a drilling operation in the oil and gas business requires unique knowledge, and the ability to adjust to new problems and challenges every day. It is definitely not like manufacturing widgets day in and day out. Personal safety and health has increasingly become more of a factor and focus in offshore operations over the years. Whereas the LTI rate (incidents per 200,000 hours) was commonly more than 10, it is now common to be less than 1 and often less than 0.5.