This paper describes the set-up of reservoir fluid study teaching laboratories, and the way safety and other HSE issues have been managed to maximise student learning and adoption of safe practices. It is extremely relevant to the education of engineering students in reservoir fluid property measurement skills and in the awareness of HSE issues.
Significant issues are covered relating to the design of the laboratories, including the choice of mercury-free equipment, decision to use combustible and poisonous gases rather than synthetic materials, selection of experiments that could be performed within the time constraints of laboratory sessions, which hazards could be safely managed during experiments, what personal protective equipment (PPE) should be required as standard dress code in the laboratories, and how waste could be minimised, reused, or disposed of.
Identification of experimental hazards and selection and justification of PPE choice has been made part of the experimental procedure. Students have ‘bought-in’ to the need for PPE, despite the inconvenience. Laboratory classes have been held involving numerous students over six years with only one very minor injury reported. The classes significantly increase student awareness and contribute to their preparation for work in the petroleum industry.
Work in the reservoir fluid property laboratory makes a significant contribution to both laboratory and professional conduct components of the petroleum engineering program that are required by accreditation organisations. Sponsors have expressed support for the decision to use real reservoir fluid samples in typical industry conditions, and international visitors have recognised the laboratory as being a world class educational facility.