A vehicle equipped with the Air Qruise™ systemA vehicle equipped with the Air Qruise™ system.
In 2003, sour gas forced the evacuation of 64,000 residents and killed 243 people in Gaoqiao, Chonqing, China, during a massive leak that covered an area of 25 km2. In January 2013, a sour gas leak near Grand Prairie, Alberta, Canada, forced police to close a 100 km stretch of a major highway.

The industry has been reminded time and again of the importance of continuously monitoring gas in and around work sites. At concentrations ranging from 250 to 1,000 ppm, hydrogen sulfide is deadly and can kill in seconds. In the event of an uncontrolled release of hydrogen sulphide, every second counts.

“Today, in both industrial and upstream facilities, there are a range of solutions available to ensure the safety of personnel in the event of a toxic gas release. There is a gap, however, in ensuring that personnel stay safe while in transit,” said Elie Daher, executive vice president and chief marketing officer for United Safety.

To close the gap, he proposes that the industry needs a means of transport equipped with state-of-the-art gas-detection electronics, a compact air supply system, and rapid-deployment breathing masks to provide an immediate transport out of a toxic release site.

He calls this new technology the Air Qruise™. The Air Qruise™ was launched by Al Hosn Gas Chief Executive Officer Saif Ahmed Al Ghafli on 10 November 2013 at the Abu Dhabi International Petroleum Exhibition and Conference.

The technical configurations of the Air Qruise™—including the air supply module, air-monitoring systems, automatic alarm systems, and intelligent screen interface that provides instant reporting of vital information—are customizable to suit any form of transport from a bike to a bus for mass evacuation.

“Operating in high sour wells comes with the risk of hydrogen sulphide gas release. It is important to have customized safety solutions in place before it’s too late,” Daher said.

The objective of the Air Qruise™ is to support an emergency response plan that is quick, effective, and appropriate in order to protect the public, the company, and personnel from fatalities or irreversible health effects, he said.

*This article was originally published in the safety editorial column of HSE Now, a new online magazine developed by the distinguished Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) catering to Oil and Gas professionals interested in HSE matters. This is an edited version of the article. Click here to read the original article.