GASIN, in the course a desk research has identified some international standards being applied in the exploration, processing and distribution of natural gas. Some of the standards are among the basic requirements for the establishment of natural gas processing facilities while others are codes of practice that are applicable to the oil and gas industry. The Nigerian government, through the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) in 1991, has consulted a number of international standards, stepped them down and drafted general guidelines regarding environment safety in the course of oil and gas exploration. This national standard is called “Environmental Guidelines and Standards for Petroleum Industry in Nigeria (EGASPIN).” Thus, in addition to the international standards, the EGASPIN is a rich document that covers various environmental safety recommendations for the operating protocols in the petroleum industry in general. Unfortunately, it does not say much about gas, as such. These international standards include:
I. ASME B31.8 for Gas Transmission and Distribution Systems (ASME means American Society of Mechanical Engineers)
This code or standard was developed under procedures accredited as meeting the criteria for American National Standards and consists of many individually published sections, each an American National Standard.
The Code sets forth engineering requirements deemed necessary for the safe design and construction of pressure piping. To the greatest possible extent, the code requirements for design are stated in terms of basic design principles and formulas. These are supplemented as necessary with specific requirements to ensure uniform application of principles and to guide selection and application of piping elements. The code prohibits designs and practices known to be unsafe and contains warnings where caution, but not prohibition, is warranted.Although safety is the basic consideration, this factor alone will not necessarily govern the final specifications of any piping system.
It is this standard that states that when corrosive gas is transported, provisions shall be taken to protect the piping system from detrimental corrosion and that gas containing free water under the conditions at which it will be transported shall be assumed to be corrosive, unless proven to be noncorrosive by recognized tests or experience (ASME B31.8, Section 863.1).
“No pipeline, regardless of wall thickness, is impervious to failure; attempts to characterize thick-walled pipes as somehow invincible or better than thin-walled pipes appear to be incomplete efforts to deceive an uninformed government, public, or management team” (Accufacts Inc., 2005). A number of design issues can lead to pipeline ruptures just as in the case of San Bruno rupture which was caused by a poor longitudinal seam weld on a short pup that could not withstand ductile tear (high pressure) and pressure fluctuations (pressure cycling) (Accufacts Inc., 2012) .
ii. ISO 1400: Environmental Quality Management (ISO means International Standardization for Organizations)
ISO 14001 is the internationally recognized standard for the environmental management of businesses. It prescribes controls for those activities that have an effect on the environment. These include the use of natural resources, handling and treatment of waste, and energy consumption. Implementing an Environmental Management System is a systematic way to discover and control the effects a company has on the environment. Cost savings can be made through improved efficiency and productivity. These are achieved by detecting ways to minimize waste and dispose of it more effectively and by learning how to use energy more efficiently. It verifies compliance with current legislation and makes insurance cover more accessible.
iii. API Standard 2510 Design and Construction of LP Gas Installation at Marine and Pipeline Terminals, Natural Gas Processing Plants, Refineries, Petrochemical Plants and Tank Farms. (API means American Petroleum Institute)
This standard provides minimum requirements for the design and construction of installations for the storage and handling of lique?ed petroleum gas (LPG) at marine and pipeline terminals, natural gas processing plants, re?neries, petrochemical plants, and tank farms. The standard takes into consideration the specialized training and experience of operating personnel in the type of installation discussed. In certain instances, exception to standard practices are noted and alternative methods are described.
The Nigerian Gas Master Plan shows that natural gas will be transported both in gaseous phase and liquid phase as Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) (NNPC, 2007) . Thus, the handling of these products at production sources in Niger Delta is a critical issue.
iv. API Recommended Practices 520 and 521 for pressure-relieving and depressurizing systems.
This recommended practice applies to the sizing and selection of pressure relief devices used in refineries and related industries for equipment that has a maximum allowable working pressure of 15 psig (103 kPag) [psig: pound force per square inch gauge; kPag: kiloPascal gauge] or greater. The pressure relief devices covered in this recommended practice are intended to protect unfired pressure vessels and related equipment against overpressure from operating and fire contingencies.
Generally, natural gas pipelines have maximum allowable pressure and pressure-relieving systems are installed to absorb and reduce excess pressure. In our target communities, where pipelines run very close to homes, it is necessary that we understand the provisions of this standard in order to be able to assess and advocate for the necessary installations that will arrest pressure-related incongruities in natural gas processing and transmission. It is known that explosions that occur in a high-pressure pipeline are devastating. This is the case of the explosion that occurred in Carlsbad in 2000, where a high-pressure gas pipeline ruptured, exploded and led to the death of twelve (12) civilians (National Transportation Safety Board, 2002) . According to Accufacts Inc. (2005) , when reviewing any pipeline system, it is important to evaluate the downstream and upstream facilities to assess their potential to place the interconnecting pipeline system under high pressures that can result in high stress levels and cause anomalies in the pipe to fail. Any downstream facility design that can close or block in the pipeline, or that overemphasizes reliance on electronic safeties to prevent overpressure events, needs to be carefully scrutinized as the potential for such electronics to fail, when most needed, can be very high and the consequences severe.
v. National Fire Protection Association Standards No. 59A
This standard applies to the: facilities that liquefy natural gas; facilities that store, vaporize, transfer, and handle liquefied natural gas (LNG); the training of all personnel involved with LNG; the design, location, construction, maintenance, and operation of all LNG facilities.
From the blueprint of Nigeria gas master plan, there will be three (3) gas processing facilities to be located in the Niger Delta. GASIN, if properly trained, will exploit the knowledge of this standard, to advocate for installations that are in accordance with the NFPA standard during the implementation of the gas master plan, because, the best safety strategy is applied at the design and installation stage.
vi. Liquefied Petroleum Gas Safety Code of Safety Practice.
The industry benchmark for safe LP-Gas storage, handling, transportation, and use. This code applies to the storage, handling, transportation, and use of LP-Gas. Liquefied petroleum gases (LP-Gases), as defined in this code, are gases at normal room temperature and atmospheric pressure. They liquefy under moderate pressure and readily vaporize upon release of the pressure. It is this property that permits the transportation and storage of LP-Gases in concentrated liquid form, although they normally are used in vapor form.
The Nigerian GMP highlights domestic utilization of gas as one of the key ways to utilize the nation's gas resources. Also, the use of gas as a domestic fuel is one of the objectives of the national energy policy. Hence, a strong adherence to the Liquefied Petroleum Gas Safety Code of Safety Practice will reduce the risk associated with the domestic utilization of gas.
vii. Electrical Safety Code: Part 1 of the Institute of Petroleum (now Energy Institute) Model Code of Safe Practice
This Code is aimed at providing an overview of the particular issues related to the safe use of electrical equipment in the petroleum industry, specifically in areas where there is a possibility of occurrence of a flammable atmosphere. Guidance is given on the selection of equipment together with installation, inspection and maintenance practices. This Code is applicable to both onshore and offshore areas. It specifically excludes mines, areas where explosives are manufactured, stored or handled and areas subject to dusts.
Because natural gas is highly flammable, care should be taken, according to this standard in the use of electrical equipment to avoid ignition and explosion. In an area where a gas processing plant is situated near population as in Ebocha, following the dictates of this standard is critical for the gas companies.
viii. American National Standard Institute (ANSI) B31-3-Pressure Piping of Chemical Plant and Petroleum Refining Piping.
The ASME B31.1 / B31.3 Power and Process Piping Package prescribes the requirements for components, design, fabrication, assembly, erection, examination, inspection and testing of process and power piping. It includes ANSI/ASME B31.1-2012 and ASME B31.3-2010. The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) established the B31 Pressure Piping Code Committees to promote safety in pressure piping design and construction through published engineering criteria. Numerous sections of the B31 Codes provide the necessary guidelines to analyze new or nontraditional products so that sound engineering judgments can be made regarding Code conformance.
ix. American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) – Boiler Pressure Vessel Code (Section 1)
The ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code (BPVC) is an American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) standard that provides rules for the design, fabrication, and inspection of boilers and pressure vessels. A pressure component designed and fabricated in accordance with this standard will have a long, useful service life, and one that ensures the protection of human life and property. Volunteers, who are nominated to its committees based on their technical expertise and on their ability to contribute to the writing, revising, interpreting, and administering of the document, write the BPVC.
x. API 550 Manuals of Refinery Instruments and Control Systems
This section discusses recommended practices for the installation of central hydraulic pressure systems that power hydraulic cylinders (actuators) to move valves, dampers, and similar types of equipment.
Successful instrumentation depends upon a workable arrangement which incorporates the simplest systems and devices that will satisfy specified requirements. Sufficient schedules, drawings, sketches, and other data should be provided to enable the constructor install the equipment in the desired manner. The various industry codes and standards, and laws and rulings of regulating bodies should be followed where applicable. For maximum plant personnel safety, it is recommended that transmission systems be employed to eliminate the piping of hydrocarbons, acids, and other hazardous or noxious materials to instruments in control rooms.