The AER reminds licensees that the risk of grass and brush fires that start at flare stacks increases as we approach the drier seasons.
They recommend that operators follow a regular maintenance schedule for flare stacks and that flares be regularly examined for carbon or soot buildup around the flare tip.
Proactive fire-control measures should also be in place. These include acquiring and maintaining fire suppression equipment and communicating with local fire departments to coordinate response procedures should an emergency situation arise.
As the oil and gas industry in Alberta matures, oil and gas facilities and flare systems that were designed for larger gas throughputs are now handling lower, and in some cases significantly lower, gas throughputs than they were originally designed for. In some cases, this leads to carbon buildup on the flare tip that can break loose, fall to the ground, and cause fires.
Operators and licensees must adhere to AER Directive 060: Upstream Petroleum Industry Flaring, Incinerating and Venting and Alberta’s Forest and Prairie Protection Act.
For more information on this bulletin, contact the Customer Contact Centre by phone at 403-297-8311 (1-855-297-8311 toll free) or by email at Inquiries@aer.ca