Accident: Sonat Exploration Co. Catastrophic Vessel Overpressurization
Location: Location: Pitkin, LA
Accident Occured On: 03/04/1998 | Final Report Released On: 09/21/2000
Accident Type: Oil and Refining - Fire and Explosion
Investigation Status: The final report on this investigation was approved on September 21, 2000.
At approximately 6:15 p.m. on March 4, 1998, a catastrophic vessel failure and fire occurred near Pitkin, Louisiana, at the Temple 22-1 Common Point Separation Facility owned by Sonat Exploration Co. Four workers who were near the vessel were killed, and the facility sustained significant damage. The vessel lacked a pressure relief system and ruptured due to overpressurization during start-up, releasing flammable material which ignited.
Develop and issue recommended practice guidelines governing the safe start-up and operation of oil and gas production facilities. Ensure that the guidelines address, at a minimum, the following: project design review processes, including hazard analyses; written operating procedures; employee and contractor training; and pressure-relief requirements for all equipment exposed to pressure hazards.
Communicate the findings of this report to your membership.
Institute a formal engineering design review process for all oil and gas production facilities,following good engineering practices and including analyses of process hazards.
Implement a program to ensure that all oil and gas production equipment that is potentially subject to overpressurization is equipped with adequate pressure-relief systems, and audit compliance with the program.
Develop written operating procedures for oil and gas production facilities and implement programs to ensure that all workers, including contract employees, are trained in the use of the procedures. Ensure the procedures address, at a minimum, purging and start-up operations and provide information on process-related hazards.