Presentation on theme: "Sonat Exploration Company Vessel Failure"— Presentation transcript:
1 Sonat Exploration Company Vessel Failure Timothy FehlJeremy PearsonJacob Vogt
2 Basic Overview March 4, 1998, near Pitkin, Louisiana Separation vessel failure, resultant fire4 workers killed, substantial damage to facility
3 The CompanySonat Exploration Company, a division of Sonat, Inc., exploration and energy productionOil and natural gas wells, site performed separation and storagePersonnel on-site included Sonat employees as well as outside contract operators
4 The ProcessFluid from nearby wells was directed to a separation system.Facility was set-up to process fluid from two wells, Temple 22-1 and Temple 24-1.The Test Train processed fluid from Temple 22-1, 270 ft away.The Bulk Train was to process fluid from Temple 24-1, 10 miles away
5 The ProcessEach train had three separators to maximize recovery of natural gas.The first two separators separated three components (gas/oil/brine)Third separator separated two components (gas/oil)
6 The ProcessBrine from first separator dumped in a well, natural gas was sent to pipeline, remaining gas/oil/brine sent to second separatorBrine from second separator sent to tanks for disposal, natural gas sent to compressor, remaining gas/oil sent to third separatorNatural gas from third separator sent to different compressor and crude oil sent to storage tanks
7 The ProcessThe first separator had a maximum allowable working pressure of 1440 psig. Normally operated at ~900 psig.The second separator had a MAWP of 500 psig, normally operating at ~225 psigThe third separator had a MAWP of only 0 psig and was designed to operate at atmospheric conditions. No pressure relief valve.
9 Timeline 5:10pm – Valve 22 opened Construction supervise at valve 23 5:35pm – Increased well flow rate6:00pm – Pressure extremely high6:10pm – Final oxygen readingLeft to check valve 300 ft. awayReady for start-up
10 Timeline Continued 6:10pm – Workers near header 5:40pm – More workers group up6:13pm – 4 operators move closerEmployee checks tanksContract operator stays at header6:15pm – Catastrophic FailureGas from Rupture ignitesAdditional fires
15 Root CausesManagement didn’t use a formal engineering design review process or require an effective hazard analysis in designing and building the facility.Sonat engineering specifications didn’t ensure that equipment that could possibly be exposed to high pressure was protected by relief devicesManagement didn’t provide standard operating procedures to employees.
18 Lessons LearnedInstitute a formal engineering design review process and include analysis of process hazardsImplement a system to ensure all equipment that could possibly be over-pressurized be fit with some sort of relief systemDevelop written operating procedures for production
19 SUMMARY Overview Oil/Gas Separation Process Line that exploded was being started for the first time (purging)The IncidentOver-pressurization of third separation vesselResulting in 4 deaths and $200,000 in damagesCauses and Lessons LearnedFormal engineering review process/Analysis of process hazardsPressure relief systemsWritten operating procedures
20 ReferencesAcuSafe.com, CSB Releases Report at Sonat Exploration Company’s (now El Paso Production Company) Near Pitkin, LA, <http://www.acusafe.com/Newsletter/Stories/1000News-CSBPitkin.htm>, February 2012.William Bridges, Selection of Hazard Evaluation Techniques,Process Improvement Institute, USA, 2004.Janet Etchells and Jill Wilday, Workbook for chemical reactor relief system sizing, Crown, 1998.Bryn Harman, Oil And Gas Industry Primer, investopedia.com, May 21, <http://www.investopedia.com/articles/07/oil_gas.asp#axzz1nyavYiAt>, February, 2012.Gerald V. Poje, Isadore Rosenthal, and Andrea Kidd Taylor, Investigation Report Catastrophic Vessel Overpressurization (4 Deaths).U.S. Chemical Safety Board. Presentation of Findings. <http://www.csb.gov/assets/document/9_15_00- Slide-Presentation-on-Sonat-Investigation-Findings.pdf>