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Saving lives and LNG assets

LNG Industry,

Deborah Services’ fire protection manager Paul Taylor has urged for increased attention to be paid to fire safety at LNG plants. Mr Taylor, who has been involved in the design process as well as installing and maintaining passive fire systems for LNG assets for most of his career, said: “More can be done at LNG plants to protect lives – plant operatives, fire-fighters and civilians – the environment and to protect assets.

“Today’s firefighters, arriving at an LNG plant fire, need to rely on the vigilance of the local fire station having identified the facility on its special risk register. But results vary because each fire station has its own system when authorising fire hazards.”

Mr Taylor is calling for a universally-accepted, and therefore consistent, database to be created. This would detail:

  • The date of last the inspection and the reliability of the information being given.
  • The number of tanks and their capacity.
  • Which materials they contain.
  • Details as to whether they are flammable or explosive.
  • Fire rating. E.g. structural steels – how many hours the structural steel will bear what weight. How long into what temperature and type of fire (jet fire, pool fire or blast).

“This quick-to-access information would save precious time and help fire fighting crews make quicker and sounder judgements on their way to a fire. That information could also save lives and assets – buildings, structures and equipment – as they’d help crews decide how to mitigate the risks or let the fire burn out,” Mr Taylor explained.

“It’s also in an LNG plant owner’s interest to achieve high standards of fire protection to protect production revenues. Trade in LNG has increased one hundred fold from 3 billion m3 in 1970 to 331 billion m3 in 2011 and is set to double by 2020.

“As gas supplies increase, markets relentlessly globalise and integrate, prices may well fall, which will put protecting assets and finding efficiencies top of the agenda. So LNG’s safe handling is already rising up the agenda,” said Mr Taylor.

Mr Taylor advocated implementing a British special fire risk register, which could then be adopted by other countries. “High standards of fire protection are engrained in British culture because it takes discipline. For Deborah Services, safety is integrated into every relevant Deborah policy: health and safety, environment, quality and training. Safety isn’t just a priority, it’s a value. Priorities change, values don’t.”

Adapted from press release by Ted Monroe

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