API outlines fire risks to oil, gas drillers

New recommendations aimed at reducing risks of flash fire at drilling sites.
By Daniel J. Graeber   |   April 24, 2014 at 9:47 AM   |   Comments

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WASHINGTON, April 24 (UPI) -- The American Petroleum Institute announced it published new industry guidelines to help identify fire risks associated with oil and natural gas development.

API published recommended Practice 99, which identifies and highlights ways to reduce the risks associated with flash fires during the exploration and production phase of U.S. oil and natural gas development.

API Standards Director David Miller said the recommended practice will help companies and operators identify and reduce the risks of accidents before they happen.

"Industry standards developed by API help our industry achieve its daily commitment to operate safely and responsibly," he said in a statement Wednesday.

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration said the potential for flash fires increases when operators reach zones containing oil or natural gas. OSHA said if the pressure from underground isn't contained, there is a "high potential" for fires because of the presence of ignition sources in and around the drilling platform.

In a 2010 document, OSHA said while the oil and gas industry has taken steps to reduce flash fire incidents, their efforts have not eliminated the risk of flash fires completely.

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