It’s that time of year again. Time for those unexpected severe drops in temperature. These sudden and sometimes extended weather conditions strain your site and your pumpers. It seems these days that no matter where you live, you can plan on several days of freezing temperatures during the winter. Frozen pipes, control valves, or other equipment pose real obstacles to your production objectives.
The Arctic cold front that passed through southeast Texas brought unexpected low temperatures and included snow and sleet. This caught oilfield owners off guard since they had never had to weatherize their sites before. Even when owners complete the required maintenance, sometimes shutting down the equipment is the only viable option left. However, sending your valuable resources out to the site during these terrible conditions can put them in harm’s way.
What can happen during intense ice and snow events?
- For Gas sites, the lowering ambient temperatures cause many conditions such as valves can freeze causing pressure drops in the gas passing through them. One of the most common reasons for valve freeze is when the pressure drops in the gas flow without maintaining pressure the valves can become frozen.
- The breather plug can be frozen when wind and or rain enters the plug and freezes.
- Frozen piping is one the of primary hazards associated with cold weather. Water and other materials will expand if they freeze in pipes. In some cases, water mixed with other substances can block piping. Frozen pipes may leak or crack.
- Your pumper can get in an accident when trying to reach the site in icy road conditions.
- Your support staff could be injured when not wearing the proper PPE for the weather or slip on ice while checking equipment in freezing temperatures.
What can you do to be prepared?
- Where possible, wrap the vulnerable equipment early in the season.
- Make sure that back pressure regulators (and other production equipment with breather plugs) are turned away from the north wind. This can be done by turning them down toward the ground. Doing so helps to keep rain or other elements from accumulating in the plug and freezing.
- Ensure your pneumatic tools have been winterized by applying cold-weather tool oil to the equipment.
- Add a moisture shield to your compressor so it can keep running smoothly.
- Make sure the workers know the need for extra caution by walking slowly to avoid slipping on ice.
- Verify that your workers wear the proper PPE during the cold months, like wearing gloves that protect the bones in their hands. New PPE can provide the protection needed and still allow total control to support the equipment.
In the case of extreme storms approaching, keeping the site operational may not be an option. Sometimes, you may need to temporarily shut down in preparation for the storm. In these instances, you need a system that can provide you with critical information such as current pressures, temperatures, and the status of your equipment. Features can be added to monitoring equipment to give you even more knowledge about the status of your equipment. You can add the ability to control the equipment and shut it down from a remote location. This huge advantage can save you downtime on your site, decrease equipment failures, and can even save lives.
If you would like to learn more about how a system like this is not only possible, but also affordable, contact us for a demonstration.