API issues updated refinery fire prevention recommended practice

The American Petroleum Institute published an updated standard aimed at preventing fires and improving safety at US refineries. RP 2001, Fire Protection in Refineries, includes important revisions on hazard analysis, new ways to improve the design of refineries to help prevent fires, and new information on managing the potential environmental impact of firefighting foams and marine firefighting.

An API official said it convened experts across the oil and gas industry and collaborated with important stakeholders, including the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), US Environmental Protection Agency, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and the US Coast Guard on important updates made to this safety standard.

“Implementation of RP 2001 will advance the safety of downstream facilities’ operations, and safeguard the environment and surrounding communities,” said Debra Phillips, Vice President of API’s Global Industry Services.

“RP 2001, Fire Protection in Refineries, is consistent with Chevron’s approach, which gives considerable attention to fire prevention practices and is not just about fire extinguishment,” noted Tim Blackford, Team Lead for Process Safety Engineering at Chevron Energy Technology Co.

“Implementation of the concepts within this document by corporate and field personnel will make their facilities safer for their workforce and neighbors as well as help protect their assets,” he maintained.

Highlights of the revision for RP 2001’s 10th edition included:

• The use of hazard analysis throughout all states of designing, upgrading, or expanding a refinery to help prevent hazards.

• Improvements to a refinery’s layout to prevent incidents related to drainage process, site exits for egress, layout and spacing of process units, and the location of off-site facilities.

• Consultation of fire protection experts prior to the use and/or disposal of firefighting foam, remediation of contaminated sites, and the conversion from existing synthetic firefighting foam concentrate to alternative chemistries in consideration of EPA’s perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) stewardship program.

• An informative Annex D on marine firefighting, which provides background information and references to documents developed by NFPA and the International Fire Service Training Association (IFSTA) to help protect land-based firefighters who could be called to fight a fire on a marine vessel.

API said it will host a training webinar at 11 a.m. EDT on Aug. 6 on the 10th edition of RP 2001’s 10th edition. It will be hosted by Blackford and by Clark Shepard, a process safety expert from ExxonMobil, who will discuss the details and rationale associated with the updates. More information is available at www.apilearning.org.

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