Gazprom Neft Completes Drafting of Safety Regulations for Oil, Petrochemical and Gas Processing Facilities

Gazprom Neft has finalized the draft of new technical regulations of the Customs Union titled “On the Safety of Oil, Petrochemical and Gas Processing Facilities”. The text of the draft has been submitted to the Ministry of Energy of the Russian Federation. The next stage in adopting the document will be its review by the meeting of the Coordination Council of the Customs Union Commission.

The order to prepare proposals aimed at improving of the legal framework governing industrial safety at the refining facilities of the Fuel and Energy Complex was given by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev following the results of the March 2010 meeting of the Committee on the Modernization and Technological Development of Economy of Russia. In October, Gazprom Neft sent to the Ministry of Energy the concept of a new safety system, which draws upon the best international practices and latest developments in science and technology. In January 2011, the Ministry of Energy made the decision to appoint Gazprom Neft as the developer of these new technical regulations.

Russia’s current regulations, which govern construction of refineries, date back to the first half of last century and, since the mid 1960's, have remained practically unchanged. Despite the fact that these regulations have been strictly enforced in the construction process, Russia’s oil industry safety record as regards accidents, injuries, etc. does not match that of the best foreign companies. The overhaul proposed in the new technical regulations system will help improve the industry’s safety and reduce construction costs. In addition, the introduction of these new technical regulations will stimulate the development and manufacture of industrial products and electronics by creating a steady demand for innovative products.

Reference
Currently, the laws governing the design, construction and operation of petrochemical installations with respect to health and safety are prescriptive in nature. A petrochemical installation is deemed sufficiently safe if it complies with the established rules as regards, for example, the positioning of the installation’s units in relation to each other, etc. In contrast, best international practices for health and safety in the petrochemical industry show that changing over to a performance-based system allows achieving the greatest degree of efficiency. In this case, health and safety guidelines are determined by numerical indicators, i.e. the number of accidents, work-related injuries, etc. A company may propose any engineering solution on the condition that it can prove that such solution will ensure the required level of safety by offering a package of measures to prevent accidents and reduce their impact.