Enhanced Oil Recovery projects are strategic investment initiatives planned when oil prices are high enough to support economic profitability. The Upper Morne L'Enfer (UMLE) pilot thermal project, within the Forest Reserve oilfield in Trinidad, is the current thermal EOR activity. Within the last ten years, health, safety and environment laws and regulations have evolved and are now more stringently applied and practiced. The Forest Reserve field houses many sensitive forested environments. The surface operations include clearing and construction of a site for fluid storage, testing and the generator.
During the project-planning phase, an Environmental Impact Statement (EIA) and a Hazard Operability (HAZOP) Study were conducted to acquire Environmental Management Authority and Ministry of Energy and Energy Industry approvals and address potential safety and environmental risks associated with the project. Baseline data was extracted from an Environmental Impact Assessment that was recently conducted for drilling sixty wells in the same area.
Integrating the environmental baseline into the HAZOP study served to identify and rank both potential environmental and safety hazards, which in turn permitted Petrotrin to prioritize risk mitigation strategies. All parties involved in the risk assessments agreed that the team approach used in the HAZOP study permitted a more efficient and effective forum to identify and mitigate both safety and environmental risks as compared to combining results from individual assessments.
This paper describes how the project's potential safety and environmental risks were assessed and mitigated. The success in minimizing the risk associated with these hazards serves to demonstrate that oil and gas operations can coexist with sensitive environments.