More pipeline construction permits have been filed in Texas as firms look to harness the state's potential for hydrogen sulfide. An 11-mile gas pipeline was approved by the Texas Railroad Commission in May, 2014, adding to the 42 other permits approved over the last five years.
"The one thing that's really changing in Texas is, a lot of the oil is being moved by truck and rail. Now you have introduced a release point of the hydrogen sulfide. So it's just kind of how the boom has happened," Sheldon McKee, director of business development at AMGAS, told StateImpact Texas. AMGAS is a Canadian firm that develops equipment to improve gas pipeline safety.
However, as these new projects are approved, companies need to ensure they continue to meet or exceed state safety and OSHA requirements. StateImpact Texas, an NPR project, noted that emissions regulations have been tightening over the last few years, and air monitoring at both oil and gas sites has to be increased to meet minimum standards. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality reported that there are only 13 sites state-wide that monitor air quality, few of which are near the new sites where drilling and production of oil and gas has increased in the last five years. Furthermore, there have been 22 reports of air quality standard violations just this year.
Increasing drilling and pipeline construction site safety is a critical part of workplace safety in the oil and gas industry. In order to improve production and maintain high health and safety for workers, firms have to ensure they are investing in high-quality pipeline safety training to meet minimum requirements. This is particularly important with the rise of hydrogen sulfide, which has caused the deaths of 10 oilfield workers in Texas over the last decade.