In the Middle East, there is a gas field that is one of the most challenging gas extraction development projects in the world. The field has a hydrogen sulfide (H2S) concentration in excess of 20%. The field was discovered over 40 years ago, but due to the absence of appropriate technologies to safely extract the reservoirs, field development had been sidelined for several decades. With the advances in oilfield technologies and processes, the field operator commenced field development a few years back. The operator protects its facilities from H2S risk by a comprehensive air management process that uses leading industry gas monitoring and protection systems. During the project design phase, the emphasis focused on fixed facilities and protection at these facilities. However, the possibility of an unexpected gas release and exposure in areas away from the fixed facilities and while in transit within the field soon became apparent. The challenge was to provide for the safety of personnel from the time they entered the field to the time they exited it.
An oilfield services company identified the potential risk that possible H2S exposure represented to the safety of personnel while in transit through this field. To address the challenge, the company sought the help of an innovative safety solutions provider. After a series of discussions between the safety solutions provider and the oilfield services company, it became apparent that there was a need to develop a solution that would provide early-warning gas detection while on the move, ensure immediate availability of breathing air protection, and allow communication and documentation of hazards and air status within a crew transportation vehicle. The resulting solution was a vehicle gas protection system (VGPS) with an integrated gas detection system and a proprietary breathing air management system that enables users to transit safely through such terrain.