Pressure and pipe principles

We have identified 15 areas for improvement in our early lifecycle well management. Each area was examined in detail to determine the most appropriate administrative control to develop in order to improve safety performance. This page contains the new Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), divisional safety practices, policy improvements and training and awareness programs designed to address the priority areas identified.

Pressure and pipe principles

Pressure and pipe principles factsheet


Based on past incidents and risks identified, we have identified 15 areas for improvement in our early lifecycle well management.

  1. Flowback and sand management
  2. Pipe restraints
  3. No go zones
  4. Pipe installation
  5. Equipment design, construction and modification
  6. Service provider equipment specifications and quality management programs
  7. Pressure hazard awareness
  8. Line of fire
  9. Worker competency when working with/around pressure
  10. Well shut-in
  11. Conformance with procedures
  12. Stop-work policy
  13. Surface equipment pressure testing
  14. Recognizing the implications of Encana's play change
  15. Non-essential personnel
  • SOPs, Practices and Policies

    These nine administrative controls apply to all of our operations in both Canada and the United States. Below is a link to the control implemented as well as a brief summary of what is included.

    Issue Summary of the control

    Flowback & sand management

    • Establishes minimum operational requirements for flowback and sand management procedures.
    • All piping and equipment must meet industry design standards.
    • Adequate staffing for all flowback operations.
    • Mandates a Flowback Pre-start Safety Review be performed.
    • Location shall be continuously monitored during flowback operations.

    Pressure Testing

    • Applies to pressure-testing of all temporary and permanent piping/ equipment utilized in the early life cycle of wells (completion to commissioning).
    • Water is recommended testing medium.
    • Outlines detailed pressure testing procedures.

    Pipe restraints

    • Establishes minimum requirements for restraints of pressurized piping and hoses.
    • Cdn Div: Recommend safety restraint systems used on temporary joint pipe, hammer unions, hoses, etc. Options include wire rope safety lines or engineered slings.
    • USA Div: Risk assessment approach to determine appropriate types of pipe and hose restraints on pressurized iron. Options include slings, cable and shackle (wire and clamp), whipsocks, whipchecks and anchors.

    Pipe installation

    • Establishes minimum operational requirements for temporary pipe installation procedures and management practices.
    • Cdn Div: All sections of temporary piping shall be installed so as not to impinge on fittings and valves. When making up Hammer Unions and flanges, non-sparking tools should be utilized.
    • USA Div: Temporary Pipe Installation Checklist, summarizes steps in the design and installation of temporary piping installation. Based on site specific conditions, SBU may elect to develop more comprehensive operational procedures.

    Service provider equipment specifications & quality management programs

    • Reduce risks associated with piping/pumping equipment failures.
    • Prescribes minimum service provider equipment specifications, quality management programs and continuous improvement requirements.

    No-go zones/restricted access

    • Worksites must designate "no go zones" to manage pressure and other sources of hazardous energy.
    • RED ZONE – high hazard area, no access without supervisor approval
    • YELLOW ZONE – moderate hazard area, access limited to essential personnel
    • WHITE ZONE – limited hazards, no restrictions

    Well shut-in

    • Applies to any activity on or downstream of the wellhead that impacts the integrity of piping or associated facilities.
    • Work can only be carried out once all harmful energy sources are identified and appropriate controls implemented.
    • A Hazard Assessment and/or Work Permit must be completed.

    Non-essential/Managing Personnel

    • Applies to all workers and locations during early lifecycle well projects.
    • Requires development of a process to identify and classify on-site personnel (and visitors) as either essential or non-essential.
    • Aims to keep worker exposure to hazardous energy at a minimum.

    Stop work

    Once approved by Encana’s Board of Directors, the following expectation will be added to Encana's Health & Safety Policy:

    "all personnel working on an Encana location will have the authority and responsibility to Stop Work without repercussion when an unsafe situation is recognized or suspected"

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