American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical, and Petroleum Engineers, Inc.


Because of the harmful effects of hydrogen sulfide, drilling and producing operations involving sour gas and crude are subject to special regulations. These vary from state to state. Environmental regulations which control sulfur recovery plant operations are especially severe. plant operations are especially severe. Regulations applicable to the states bordering the Gulf of Mexico and to the Gulf are discussed. Technical, professional and management people involved in such operations must be familiar with the hazards and with the regulations.


The dangers of hydrogen sulfide to humans, the environment, and to equipment have long been recognized. It is toxic, flammable, explosive and corrosive. Studies by the Bureau of Mines and the Texas Medical Association of the hazards of sour gas date back into the 1920's. In the earlier days of sour gas and oil operations, operators depended upon selfregulation. Gradually, health and Industry associations provided guidance which made for safer operations. More recently, many regulations have been adopted by various governmental agencies to require all stages of sour operations to conform to safety and environmental standards.

This presentation is not intended to be a complete and finer reference on all of the applicable regulations, since the regulations are too lengthy, complex and changing; rather, it is intended to give an overall view of this aspect of regulation, and to permit a quick review of the regulations in permit a quick review of the regulations in effect in different areas. Regulations in the states bordering the Gulf of Mexico and the Gulf will be discussed.


The concentration of hydrogen sulfide which constitutes a harmful quantity depends upon the subject being considered, whether humans, the environment or equipment, and upon the body or agency setting the standard.

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