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Protecting lives and LNG assets

Hydrocarbon Engineering,


Paul Taylor, fire protection manager, Deborah Services has been involved in the design and process as well as installing and maintaining passive fire systems for LNG assets for most of his career and has said, ‘more can be done at LNG plants to protect lives, plant operatives, fire fighters and civilians, the environment and to protect assets. Today’s fire fighters, arriving at an LNG plant fire, need to rely on the vigilance of the local fire station having identified the facility on its special risk register. But results vary because each fire station has its own system when authorising fire hazards.’

What next?

Taylor has called for a universally accepted and consistent database to be created which will detail:

  • Date of last inspection, how reliable is the information we’re being given?
  • How many tanks of what capacity?
  • Which materials do they contain?
  • Are they flammable or explosive?
  • Fire rating e.g. of structural steel. For example, how many hours the structural steel will bear what weight, how long into what temperature and type of fire?

Taylor explained, ‘this quick to access information would save precious time and help fire fighting crews make quicker and sounder judgements on their way to a fire. That information could also save lives and assets, buildings, structures, and equipment, as they’d help crews decide how to mitigate the risks or let the fire burn out.

‘It’s also in an LNG plant owner’s interest to achieve high standards of fire protection to protect production revenues. Trade in LNG has increased 100 fold from 3 billion m3 in 1970 to 331 billion m3 in 2011 and is set to double by 2020 (The Economist).

‘As gas supplies increase, markets relentlessly globalise and integrate, prices may well fall which will put protecting assets and finding efficiencies top of the agenda so LNG’s safe handling is already rising up the agenda.’

Taylor concluded, ‘let’s get our own house in order first. We should start with a British special fire risk register which may then be adopted in other countries. High standards of fire protection are engrained in British culture because it takes discipline. For Deborah Services, safety is integrated into every relevant Deborah policy: health and safety, environment, quality and training. Safety isn’t just a priority, it’s a value. Priorities change, values don’t.’


Adapted for web by Claira Lloyd

Read the article online at: https://www.hydrocarbonengineering.com/gas-processing/02072014/lng_person_and_asset_safety/


 

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