City Gas Distribution grows and will continue to grow by leaps and bounds in the next 5 years as we expand our share of Natural Gas in India’s energy basket from 6% to 15%. Natural gas is not only cheaper than petrol & diesel but also more environmentally friendly. 402 districts in India are poised to be connected to the CGD network soon.

Natural Gas Transmission as well as CGD activity owing to its extremely flammable nature has to be planned with safety-first mindset. OISD has rightly designed various standards and guidelines for this activity to ensure SOPs designed by every CGD/NG operator protect human life, environment, and valuable assets in that order. One such standard is the OISD-STD-226.

Maintenance of the assets in CGD/NG Pipeline require various hand tools such as spanners, hammers, excavation tools such as spades, shovels, crow bar, etc. These tools made of steel are ubiquitous but pose a major challenge when used for these activities. Steel tools produce frictional sparks. These stray sparks can be a source of ignition for Natural Gas.

Hence safe practice necessitates use of non-sparking tools for most of the activities in both CGD and NG P/L. The various types of tools whether it be spanners or excavation tools are available in non-sparking materials. Customized tools, if required, can also be designed and developed in non-sparking material for specific activities if standard tools are not available or effective.

As mentioned above the Operation & Maintenance section of OISD standard 226 clearly mentions the following about stray sparks:

8.3.b All naked flames, sources of ignitionand mobile phones shall not be allowed in the immediate work area.

Clearly, non-sparking tools should be procured during the commissioning stage of the pipeline or CGD to ensure that the correct set of tools are available during preventive maintenance as well as unplanned maintenance.

While the emergency section of this standard does not mention non-sparking tools, as per the recommendations of the MB Lal Committee every oil installation is required to have an emergency toolkit which also includes a non-sparking hazmat kit. The CGD/NG PL segment can learn from the recommendations of this committee and prepare a similar contingency tool trolley esp. designed for challenges faced with Natural Gas. A set of curated non-sparking tools should be maintained at all mother stations, compressor stations and pipeline terminals

We believe that the Indian Industry as a whole is moving ahead with safety at its core. And we hope to fill the knowledge gap that ultimately results in unsafe practices.