Well Test Area Fire Safety Procedures During Flowback Operations

(the below information serves as a common starting framework for an integrated fire safety plan as delivered by Burner Fire Control.  This framework may be supplemented or altered with additional services and equipment based on the project scope, facility, location, or information gathered from formal facilities and project surveys)

Basic Fire Protection

Fire protection encompasses all efforts directed at reduction or elimination of losses due to fires. This includes the protection of employees from fire-related injury.

Fire Safety Philosophy

All organizations should understand the importance of following proper procedures to prevent fires – good house-keeping, proper storage of flammables, and good maintenance and inspection programs help in prevention. Facility should be equipped with portable, semi-portable fire extinguishers and supporting systems that aid in overall hazard protection. The use of these devices will assist in quick extinguishments. The operating philosophy concerning fire prevention, fire protection, fire control and fire fighting includes properly inspected and maintained equipment on site, placement, and proper training on the most effective use of this equipment in emergency situations. The firefighting philosophy is fighting fires in the beginning stages. The best way to protect a facility from fire is to prevent the fire from occurring. If a hazard is present, then containment of this hazard becomes crucial. A good rule of thumb is “if you are not comfortable approaching the fire with the extinguisher available, then evaluate other options.” If the fire grows beyond beginning stages operators can be instructed to evacuate the platform.

Flowback and Common Areas of Concern

Well test areas during flowback commonly have multiple hazard areas of concern that should be addressed beyond the normal fire hazards of a drilling operation.  Some of which include hydrocarbons being flowed to the surface and the exposed flame on the flare boom.  Additional hazard areas may include the storage of methanol.

Existing Facility Fire Equipment

Existing offshore and marine facilities in operation should have standard safety equipment including fire, gas, smoke detection, and fire fighting systems.  Additionally, gas detection and alarm system in hazardous areas, fixed CO2 and foam systems, both portable hand held and hose stations throughout the rig or vessel.

Additional Fire Equipment

Additional fire equipment should be added to supplement existing systems and strategically placed in the Well Test and Storage Area as specific fire safety support equipment.  Well Test and Storage Area can be supplied with various quantities and placements of marine fire fighting equipments such as Purple-K Dry Chemical Fire Extinguishers / Skid Units and Foam delivery hardware (specifically AR-AFFF).

Pre Flow-back Fire Equipment Preparation

  • Inspect all Fire fighting equipment upon arrival to vessel
  • Deploy and inspect all strategic and deck system FFE for Well Test Area
  • Conduct Review of FFE Placement and Operation
  • Conduct Incipient Stage Fire Procedure Review for Crew Personnel
  • Conduct Pre-flowback Drills
  • Conduct Review of Hazards and Equipment, Q&A

Well Test Area

Training of vessel crews on additional fire equipment should be provided prior to the well flowback. Drills conducted in this area should be focused on specific scenarios that could occur and fire hazard mitigation strategies. Barriers can also be placed in the well test area to prevent the entry of non-essential personnel during flowback.

Flare Boom

Ignition source and radiant heat should be controlled with heat and vapor mitigation systems installed behind the burner head and integrated systems to protect the personnel, facility, and equipment. During flow-back, the vessel should provide a Fire Watch at the Flare Boom.

No Hot Work should be allowed during flowback

In the event of a fire in the Well Test Area during flow back operation, the facility’s firefighting plan should be followed, and all personnel should work with the on scene commander as directed.

For further information on these services, please send us a message via the contact page, or call us at (800) 864-4073