Fire safety in the oil and gas sector is a critical issue that cannot be taken lightly
Isaac Hawari, business development leader-global products, Johnson Controls, has some insights on the best approaches in this regard:
What are the main fire hazards in the oil and gas industry?
The primary fire hazards in oil, gas and petrochemical facilities involve the production, storage and transportation of flammable liquids and pressurised gases. At-risk functional assets include refineries, fuel tank farms, loading areas, offshore platforms, jetties and shipping berth platforms. Major POG fires are typically fuel in-depth fires involving hydrocarbons and/or polar solvent products, with another primary hazard being pressurised gas leak fires. There is also the potential ancillary risk of explosions and dispersion of hazardous gases and substances. Facilities are at fire risk from lightning strikes, faulty equipment, electrical failures as well as human error.
Operational centres such as data communications, control rooms and ancillary buildings are also critical to the safe operation of a facility and should be effectively protected against fire risk to help assure safety, maximise uptime and secure vital assets.
Can you tell us about your solutions for the oil and gas industry?
Suppression of flammable liquid and pressurised gas fires require high-performing foam concentrates and dry chemicals. Johnson Controls extensive portfolio of non-fluorinated foam concentrates, AR-AFFFs, and dry chemicals – coupled with the reliable equipment to properly proportion and apply these suppression products – provides effective fire protection solutions for most hazards.
Fixed foam and dry chemical systems: Foam pump skids, bladder tanks, proportioners, foam chambers, bund pourers, loading bays sprinklers, all tested and listed as complete systems (foam concentrate plus hardware.)
Mobile foam systems: From 60 gpm foam carts to 8,000 gpm submersible pumps to 10,000 gpm foam monitor trailers, Johnson Controls mobile equipment offers a full range of emergency response capabilities for flammable liquid hazards in the industry.
Fixed and mobile dry chemical systems: From lightweight portable extinguisher to 500 lb. Gorilla Purple K dry chemical skids to 3,000 lb. ANSUL Large Dry Chemical fixed systems, Johnson Controls offers an array of dry chemical solutions for fast knockdown of flammable liquid and pressurised gas fires.
In addition, our Williams Fire and Hazard Control Services team brings decades of experience to assist in the development of site-specific fire protection solutions, including a comprehensive response plan that considers critical elements such as localised resources, asset logistics, incident management and personnel training.
In space-limited infrastructures such as unmanned control rooms and data centres, our Sapphire Plus gaseous suppression systems provide ideal fire protection for sensitive, high value equipment.
What new products have the company launched or are looking to launch? What different/exclusive features do they offer?
Johnson Controls continually invests in new product development. Recent product introductions include the Thunderstorm WNF33A 3% x 3% non-fluorinated foam concentrate, designed, tested and demonstrated to provide excellent control and suppression of large hydrocarbon tank fires. It is UL 162 listed AR-SFFF (alcohol-resistant synthetic fluorine free foam) concentrate for use on hydrocarbon and polar solvent fuel fires. Recommended minimum application rate of 0.16 gpm/ft2 (6.5 Lpm/m2) for fuel in-depth tank fires up to 150 ft (46 m) in diameter, allowing utilisation of existing infrastructure for most operations. Recommended minimum application rate for spill fire applications is 0.10 gpm/ft2 (4.1 Lpm/m2). It also has superior drain time compared to a high-quality AR-AFFF, with a longer lasting foam blanket for better burnback resistance and post-fire suppression. Another product is the ANSUL UL201 and T-STORM UL201 3% x 3% Non-Fluorinated Foam Concentrate.
Recent launches in lithium-Ion risk prevention address shortcomings in the market for lithium-Ion battery monitoring.
Additional non-fluorinated foam concentrates, enhanced foam application equipment, improved detection products, among others are upcoming.
How is the market demand for your products and solutions in the Middle East and Africa?
Several sectors of the energy market continue to drive strong demand for fire protection. Johnson Controls has served the Middle Eastern and African markets for decades and will continue to partner with the industry in this region to support our customers growth. Demand is forecasted to be strong over the next few years in this market geography due to sustained investment in the oil and gas industry.
How should hydrogen-driven industries equip themselves against probable fire hazards, given that it is a highly flammable alternative?
Given that hydrogen fires are not extinguished until the hydrogen supply is removed, these highly volatile fires with early colourless flames require an early-warning gas detection system. When hydrogen is detected, our Vesda Eco system can automatically activate a ventilation system to help prevent a buildup of explosive levels of hydrogen gas. If hydrogen levels continue to increase, an alarm can notify staff.