Abstract

""A challenge only becomes an obstacle when you bow to it — Ray A. Davis". The development of heavy oil resources at North Kuwait Fields is an important strategic project for Kuwait Oil Company (KOC). With the target of reaching 4 million barrels per day (MBPD) production capacity by the year 2020, KOC is expected to produce 900,000 BPD of heavy oil by the year 2020. However, while cruising towards this ambitious target, KOC is also facing some unique HSE challenges - risk of exposure to high concentration of Hydrogen Sulphide (H2S) especially in the Heavy Oil Fields. The objective of this paper is to present KOC's strategies in the management of H2S in heavy oil drilling and processing activities.

Various controls including access control, mandatory H2S Awareness and Escape training courses for personnel, provision of fixed and portable H2S detectors, facility alarms, emergency planning, PPEs including respiratory protective equipment, work permits etc. are strictly implemented across the Facilities. All personnel working in heavy oil Facilities are trained for emergency to ensure that they react to protect themselves (and others) in the event of an H2S release incident.

This paper introduces some practical strategies adopted in KOC to handle H2S hazards, which have contributed in effective management of the associated risks in "sour gas handling in heavy oil drilling and process plants". It is expected that this paper will initiate further consideration and new measures/ways to enhance H2S risk management and thereby significantly reduce the occurrence of losses to personnel, environment, asset and reputation. From our experience, we feel that the effectiveness of the overall H2S risk management can be ensured by establishing a structured system consisting of proper identification of the hazards, assessment of risk, identification of control measures to contain the risks at ALARP level and dissemination of information amongst the workforce.

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