API releases document improving onshore drilling and production safety

The American Petroleum Institute (API) 02/15/2022

WASHINGTON — The American Petroleum Institute (API) has released a major first-edition document focused on improving the safety of onshore drilling and production operations. API Bulletin 16H, Automated safety instrumented systems for actuation of land-based blowout preventersis the first upstream document that provides information on existing and emerging technologies to bring a well to a safe state in the event of the failure of other operational barriers.

“Our mission is to drive continuous industry improvements while keeping up with emerging technologies,” said Anchal Liddar, senior vice president of Global Industry Services. “This inaugural edition of the API Bulletin on Shore-based Automated Safety Instrumented Systems demonstrates our commitment to advancing technologies that contribute to safety and sustainability.”

The bulletin provides recommendations for equipment, interfaces and management of automated safety systems and alarms for blowout preventers. In a terrestrial environment, an automated safety instrumented system is designed to bring the well to a safe state in the event that site personnel do not recognize or are unable to respond to a serious well control incident. Safety instrumented systems have been used in process facilities – refining, chemical and nuclear – as an integral part of a critical process system and this bulletin extends that use to upstream natural gas and petroleum.

The document states that original equipment manufacturers should consider existing and emerging technologies to perform risk assessments, evaluate equipment compatibility and perform functional tests to develop a safety instrumented system for placing a well in a safe condition. Additionally, the bulletin provides an overview of components for future research in the development of automated well control actuation systems.

The development and full implementation of automated safety instrumented systems has the potential to transform and enhance natural gas and oil exploration and production. These technologies can help automate and expand the means to mitigate unexpected well control events, driving safety and operational improvements for the industry and reducing the risk of fugitive emissions resulting from these events.

To learn more about API Bulletin 16H and other efforts to advance security and sustainability, visit API.org.

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