The news of an explosion at a gas treatment plant on the west coast of Venezuela was not widely reported in English but nevertheless demonstrates the need for the highest levels of safety in the oil and gas industry.
The explosion took place in late August at a processing plant in the Cardon IV Block of the Perla gas field, around 50km offshore, north West of the Gulf of Venezuela. The Perla gas field is one of the biggest offshore gas fields in Latin America. The field was discovered in 1976 and exploration activities were carried out in 2009. In total the field is expected to contain more than 16 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.
Fortunately the explosion, which is currently being investigated by the Venezuelan state agency, did not cause any injuries or fatalities yet these kind of incidents are all too common and often lead to the loss of life. Consider, for example the four Mexican oil rig workers that were killed in April at a production platform in the Gulf of Mexico.
Hydrocarbon Releases (HCRs) are, in simple terms, oil and gas leaks. Whilst it is inevitable that this will happen, significant efforts have been made to reduce these globally, no more so than in the UK’s offshore industry. A recent campaign called Step Change in Safety which was supported by all of the stakeholders in the UK offshore industry, neatly demonstrates what can be achieved. In 2010 the total number of HCRs was 187. The Step Change in Safety campaign aimed to reduce this by 50% over a three year period. Whilst the campaign came up short – it only reduced the number by 49% – it demonstrates what is possible when all parties focus more closely on safety issues.
For Fluenta, the issue of safety is paramount. Our Flare Gas Measurement products are subject to a myriad of regulations across the world – ranging from country-specific rules to international compliance requirements. We comply with all of the relevant regulation and will always offer to comply with any further rules that customers require. The nature of our products – which have no moving parts and are intrinsically safe – does not take away from the gravity with which we take safety issues. The oil and gas industry – like any other – will always be subject to accidents, but understanding this should not reduce the determination to do everything possible to minimise the number of accidents that do take place.