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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Posts
    1,308
    BAAA- BOOOOOOOM!

    Went to an oil field gas plant that uses their own natural gas. Recent laws dictate that they add Mercaptan odorant to their process gas they use for heating the furnaces, and Domestic Water heaters. Three weeks ago, they installed the Mercaptan delivery system. And during this shut down, they had a "kick". A kick is where crude oil and distillates 'break' the gas seal and fill nat. gas piping with this contaminates.

    Conciquently, I was called to determine, why this furnace wouldn't light. No one was in the office when I got there, but I knew were to go to find the furnace. Closed the Gas Cock valve, spun off the gas union, and found black inky ****e dripping from it. took off the drip leg to empty it. A slight hissing was happening in the small utility room. As I investigated the 'hissing sound' as there was a boiler, and H.W.T. in the room.

    The lights go out. The Gas Cock that I shut off, didn't fully close internally due to debris in the stainless ball within from the "kick". And was leaking by NON odour Nat. Gas... as the crew that put in the Mercaptan system, didn't purge to odour.

    I recovered from the blinding blast, only to find a six foot blow torch happening from the open union, and drip leg - likely cross-lit from the boiler pilot. I often carry an extinguisher with during plant ops. And first tried three or four times to get the gas cock to shut down. I got the flames to lessen, and then opened all doors nearby for ventilation... hit all ignition sources such as H.W.T. pilot, Boiler Pilot and both drip leg and union rocket flames at once. Then as fast as a raped ape, got the union on and drip leg on.... before I was sent into oblivion.

    Matter of seconds. But was difficult to determine the best route to take.

    I thought about running and letting the six billion dollar gas plant to burn it'self down... but would have wished I'd have croaked in the first blast.

    I'm here to tell the tale. And am writting a full report within our HVAC industry, and Gas plant forums here. To determine how this kind of thing could be prevented in the future.

    Blast you ideas at me.... I'm fire proof.
    Teach the apprentices right... and learn from their questions and ideas.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    New Hampshire
    Posts
    2,666
    Sounds too dangerous and too much liability. Does your insurance rep know about this account? If they are going to do this they should have their in house people do the service or set up some propane tanks and convert over the appliances. I'd rather work with propane than this shiat.
    At least you know what to expect.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    SC
    Posts
    20,677
    IThe little time I worked in the oil field, I learned that all gas/oil field work is inherently extremely dangerous. You are obviously aware of your good fortune. You certainly could easily have been "Film at eleven". But the Authorities have decided to leave you here to tell your tale and possibly save many, many lives.

    Blessings to you, ricm. You have a mission!
    No reserve. No retreat. No regrets.

    For those who have fought for it, freedom has a sweetness the protected will never know.

    http://www.airwarvietnam.com/16thSOSGunners2.jpg

    Proud member of KA Club

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Posts
    3,157
    Ill bet your wife wasnt ready for that when she said "Hi honey how was your day today"


    Fire is bad enough, but fire at a oil feild gas plant. Damn
    you get the lucky dog award this week

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Hell Hole Swamp
    Posts
    4,180
    Cant imagine being in that situation, sounds like we almost heard about you on the news, good save, glad your still here with us, be careful out there

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Posts
    1,308
    No wife or partner to collect on the life insurance. Yes, I'm usually the one they send because of the care I take... This one came 'round and bit me on the ass.

    I've set up a safety class on dealing with situations like this, and will hit up the 26 employees with this one.

    I bought a lotto ticket after that... maybe the luck will continue.
    Teach the apprentices right... and learn from their questions and ideas.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2001
    Location
    Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Canada Occupation:Interprovincial Plumber, Commercial Gasfitter Interests:
    Posts
    2,413
    ricm, couldn't have been that bad, didn't make the news.

    Who was it for? I have to go to TCPL in a few weeks, sub for Ledcor. Takes longer to do the safety paperwork than it does to check the boilers.

    Glad to hear you're ok. Stay safe.
    I love my job, but paydays Thursday

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Posts
    1,308
    Company is NEXEN - out of Lloydminster, Alberta.
    Teach the apprentices right... and learn from their questions and ideas.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Midwest
    Posts
    9,932
    The smell of mercaptan is nothing compared to what my drawers would've smelled like!!!!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Posts
    1,308
    Funny you should mention that.... the Plant operator showed up as I was using my shop-vac to clean up the dry-chemical from the extinguisher...

    Him: "What's that smell?"
    Me: "Oh, that's dry chemical from my fire extinguisher."
    Him: "They fill them with ****?"
    Me: "uuhhh.... nevermind."



    Teach the apprentices right... and learn from their questions and ideas.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Location
    Pacific Coast of Canada
    Posts
    4,008
    You are one lucky-assed Canuck.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Victoria,Tx
    Posts
    6,680
    I worked in a refinery back in the 70's. We were starting up reformer unit during the middle of the night. I was starting to light burners on this big furnace with a 3'lance. The furnace was the size of a large two or three story house. The gas for the furnace came from a fuel gas mix tank that recieved off gasses from other units. One of the other units in the plant had a major upset and filled the fuel gas mix tank up full of gasoline. No high level alarm on the tank. The next thing, gasoline, on fire, is coming out of my lance and the burners that were all ready lit. It wasn't long before every furnace and boiler in the plant were on fire. We shut the whole complex down. The fire was out at 7am. Used every fire extinguisher in the plant. Luckly no one hurt and minimal damage. What a night. ricm, that mercaptan is some nasty smelling stuff, isn't it?

    [Edited by oroy54 on 08-25-2005 at 08:22 AM]

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Posts
    1,308
    Yeah Roy... THAT IT DOES! Six months ago, I was replacing a gas regulator on the office trailer of another gas plant that supplied it's own nat. gas. Had the blue mercaptan bottle upstream. I had to take the bottle off, to get the regulator off. It was winter, about - 38 or so... frozen fingers lost grip on the mercaptan cylinder. Splashed on pants and bran new boots.

    I live in an appartment where there is no nat gas anywhere near the upper floors. The fire Dept. showed up at my place on the third floor thinking there was a 'gas leak' in my apt.

    Company bought me new boots the next day.

    I'd rather eat the transmission out of a skunk, before I had to live with that mercaptan smell every day.

    Teach the apprentices right... and learn from their questions and ideas.

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