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TITLE 16ECONOMIC REGULATION
PART 1RAILROAD COMMISSION OF TEXAS
CHAPTER 3OIL AND GAS DIVISION
RULE §3.36Oil, Gas, or Geothermal Resource Operation in Hydrogen Sulfide Areas

(a) Applicability. Each operator who conducts operations as described in paragraph (1) of this subsection shall be subject to this section and shall provide safeguards to protect the general public from the harmful effects of hydrogen sulfide. This section applies to both intentional and accidental releases of hydrogen sulfide.

  (1) Operations including drilling, working over, producing, injecting, gathering, processing, transporting, and storage of hydrocarbon fluids that are part of, or directly related to, field production, transportation, and handling of hydrocarbon fluids that contain gas in the system which has hydrogen sulfide as a constituent of the gas, to the extent as specified in subsection (c) of this section, general provisions.

  (2) This section shall not apply to:

    (A) operations involving processing oil, gas, or hydrocarbon fluids which are either an industrial modification or products from industrial modification, such as refining, petrochemical plants, or chemical plants;

    (B) operations involving gathering, storing, and transporting stabilized liquid hydrocarbons;

    (C) operations where the concentration of hydrogen sulfide in the system is less than 100 ppm.

(b) Definitions.

  (1) Industrial modification--This term is used to identify those operations related to refining, petrochemical plants, and chemical plants. The term does not include field processing such as that performed by gasoline plants and their associated gathering systems.

  (2) Stabilized liquid hydrocarbon--The product of a production operation in which the entrained gaseous hydrocarbons have been removed to the degree that said liquid may be stored at atmospheric conditions.

  (3) Radius of exposure--That radius constructed with the point of escape as its starting point and its length calculated as provided for in subsection (c)(2) of this section.

  (4) Area of exposure--The area within a circle constructed with the point of escape as its center and the radius of exposure as its radius.

  (5) Public area--A dwelling, place of business, church, school, hospital, school bus stop, government building, a public road, all or any portion of a park, city, town, village, or other similar area that can expect to be populated.

  (6) Public road--Any federal, state, county, or municipal street or road owned or maintained for public access or use.

  (7) Sulfide stress cracking--The cracking phenomenon which is the result of corrosive action of hydrogen sulfide on susceptible metals under stress.

  (8) Facility modification--Any change in the operation such as an increase in throughput, in excess of the designed capacity, or any change that would increase the radius of exposure.

  (9) Public infringement--This shall mean that a public area and/or a public road, or both, has been established within an area of exposure to the degree that such infringement would change the applicable provisions of this rule to those operations responsible for creating the area of exposure.

  (10) Potentially hazardous volume of hydrogen sulfide--A volume of hydrogen sulfide gas of such concentration that:

    (A) the 100 ppm radius of exposure is in excess of 50 feet and includes any part of a "public area" except a public road; or

    (B) the 500 ppm radius of exposure is greater than 50 feet and includes any part of a public road; or

    (C) the 100 ppm radius of exposure is greater than 3,000 feet.

  (11) Contingency plan--A written document that shall provide an organized plan of action for alerting and protecting the public within an area of exposure prior to an intentional release, or following the accidental release of a potentially hazardous volume of hydrogen sulfide.

  (12) Reaction-type contingency plan--A preplanned, written procedure for alerting and protecting the public, within an area of exposure, where it is impossible or impractical to brief in advance all of the public that might possibly be within the area of exposure at the moment of an accidental release of a potentially hazardous volume of hydrogen sulfide.

  (13) Definition of referenced organizations and publications.

    (A) ANSI--American National Standard Institute, 1430 Broadway, New York, New York 10018, Table I, Standard 253.1-1967.

    (B) API--American Petroleum Institute, 300 Corrigan Tower Building, Dallas, Texas 75201, Publication API RP-49, Publication API RP-14E, Sections 1.7(c), 2.1(c) 4.7.

    (C) ASTM--American Society for Testing and Materials, 1916 Race Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19103, Standard D-2385-66.

    (D) GPA--Gas Processors Association, 1812 First Place, Tulsa, Oklahoma 74120, Plant Operation Test Manual C-1, GPA Publication 2265-68.

    (E) NACE--National Association of Corrosion Engineers, P.O. Box 1499, Houston, Texas 77001, Standard MR-01-75.

    (F) DOT--Department of Transportation, Office of Pipeline Safety, 400 Seventh Street, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20590, Title 49, Code of Federal Regulations, Parts 192 and 195.

    (G) OSHA--Occupational Safety and Health Administration, United States Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue, NW, Washington D.C. 20270, Title 29, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 1910.145(c)(4)(i).

    (H) RRC--Railroad Commission of Texas, Gas Utilities Division, P.O. Drawer 12967, Capitol Station, Austin, Texas 78711, Gas Utilities Dockets 446 and 183.

(c) General provisions.

  (1) Each operator shall determine the hydrogen sulfide concentration in the gaseous mixture in the operation or system.

    (A) Tests shall be made in accordance with standards as set by ASTM Standard D-2385-66, or GPA Plant Operation Test Manual C-1, GPA Publication 2265-68, or other methods approved by the commission.

    (B) Test of vapor accumulation in storage tanks may be made with industry accepted colormetric tubes.

  (2) For all operations subject to this section, the radius of exposure shall be determined, except in the cases of storage tanks, by the following Pasquill-Gifford equations, or by other methods that have been approved by the commission.

    (A) For determining the location of the 100 ppm radius of exposure: x = [(1.589) (mole fraction H2 S)(Q)] to the power of (.6258).

    (B) For determining the location of the 500 ppm radius of exposure: x = [(0.4546) (mole fraction H2 S)(Q)] to the power of (.6258). Where x = radius of exposure in feet; Q = maximum volume determined to be available for escape in cubic feet per day; H 2 S = mole fraction of hydrogen sulfide in the gaseous mixture available for escape.

  (3) The volume used as the escape rate in determining the radius of exposure shall be that specified in subparagraph (A) - (E) of this paragraph, as applicable.

    (A) The maximum daily volume rate of gas containing hydrogen sulfide handled by that system element for which the radius of exposure is calculated.

    (B) For existing gas wells, the current adjusted open-flow rate, or the operator's estimate of the well's capacity to flow against zero back-pressure at the wellhead shall be used.

    (C) For new wells drilled in developed areas, the escape rate shall be determined by using the current adjusted open-flow rate of offset wells, or the field average current adjusted open-flow rate, whichever is larger.

    (D) The escape rate used in determining the radius of exposure shall be corrected to standard conditions of 14.65 pounds per square inch (psia) and 60 degrees Fahrenheit.

    (E) For intentional releases from pipelines and pressurized vessels, the operator's estimate of the volume and release rate based on the gas contained in the system elements to be de-pressured.

  (4) For the drilling of a well in an area where insufficient data exists to calculate a radius of exposure, but where hydrogen sulfide may be expected, then a 100 ppm radius of exposure equal to 3,000 feet shall be assumed. A lesser-assumed radius may be considered upon written request setting out the justification for same.

  (5) Storage tank provision: storage tanks which are utilized as a part of a production operation, and which are operated at or near atmospheric pressure, and where the vapor accumulation has a hydrogen sulfide concentration in excess of 500 ppm, shall be subject to the following.

    (A) No determination of a radius of exposure shall be made for storage tanks as herein described.

    (B) A warning sign shall be posted on or within 50 feet of the facility to alert the general public of the potential danger.

    (C) Fencing as a security measure is required when storage tanks are located inside the limits of a townsite or city, or where conditions cause the storage tanks to be exposed to the public.

    (D) The warning and marker provision, paragraph (6)(A)(i), (ii), and (iv) of this subsection.

    (E) The certificate of compliance provision, subsection (d)(1) of this section.

  (6) All operators whose operations are subject to this section, and where the 100 ppm radius of exposure is in excess of 50 feet, shall be subject to the following.

    (A) Warning and marker provision.

      (i) For above-ground and fixed surface facilities, the operator shall post, where permitted by law, clearly visible warning signs on access roads or public streets, or roads which provide direct access to facilities located within the area of exposure.

      (ii) In populated areas such as cases of townsites and cities where the use of signs is not considered to be acceptable, then an alternative warning plan may be approved upon written request to the commission.

      (iii) For buried lines subject to this section, the operator shall comply with the following.

        (I) A marker sign shall be installed at public road crossings.

        (II) Marker signs shall be installed along the line, when it is located within a public area or along a public road, at intervals frequent enough in the judgment of the operator so as to provide warning to avoid the accidental rupturing of line by excavation.

        (III) The marker sign shall contain sufficient information to establish the ownership and existence of the line and shall indicate by the use of the words "Poison Gas" that a potential danger exists. Markers installed in compliance with the regulations of the federal Department of Transportation shall satisfy the requirements of this provision. Marker signs installed prior to the effective date of this section shall be acceptable provided they indicate the existence of a potential hazard.

      (iv) In satisfying the sign requirement of clause (i) of this subparagraph, the following will be acceptable.

        (I) Sign of sufficient size to be readable at a reasonable distance from the facility.

        (II) New signs constructed to satisfy this section shall use the language of "Caution" and "Poison Gas" with a black and yellow color contrast. Colors shall satisfy Table I of American National Standard Institute Standard 253.1-1967. Signs installed to satisfy this section are to be compatible with the regulations of the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

        (III) Existing signs installed prior to the effective date of this section will be acceptable if they indicate the existence of a potential hazard.

    (B) Security provision.

      (i) Unattended fixed surface facilities shall be protected from public access when located within 1/4 mile of a dwelling, place of business, hospital, school, church, government building, school bus stop, public park, town, city, village, or similarly populated area. This protection shall be provided by fencing and locking, or removal of pressure gauges and plugging of valve opening, or other similar means. For the purpose of this provision, surface pipeline shall not be considered as a fixed surface facility.

      (ii) For well sites, fencing as a security measure is required when a well is located inside the limits of a townsite or city, or where conditions cause the well to be exposed to the public.

      (iii) The fencing provision will be considered satisfied where the fencing structure is a deterrent to public access.

    (C) Materials and equipment provision.

      (i) For new construction or modification of facilities (including materials and equipment to be used in drilling and workover operations) completed or contemplated subsequent to the effective date of this section, the metal components shall be those metals which have been selected and manufactured so as to be resistant to hydrogen sulfide stress cracking under the operating conditions for which their use is intended, provided that they satisfy the requirements described in the latest editions of NACE Standard MR-01-75 and API RP-14E, sections 1.7(c), 2.1(c), 4.7. The handling and installation of materials and equipment used in hydrogen sulfide service are to be performed in such a manner so as not to induce susceptibility to sulfide stress cracking. Other materials which are nonsusceptible to sulfide stress cracking, such as fiberglass and plastics, may be used in hydrogen sulfide service provided such materials have been manufactured and inspected in a manner which will satisfy the latest published, applicable industry standard, specifications, or recommended practices.

Cont'd...

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