Week 93 | July 31, 2014
Over the past few years various members of Lightning Eliminators have attended many of the Oil and Gas and Tank Storage Conferences around the world. They are almost always astonished when speaking with executives and management of some of the world’s largest producers that they have no idea if or how their company’s facilities are protected from a lightning strike. Nor do they realize that lightning is getting more dangerous every year. In addition, several possess the attitude “we will address it if and when we get hit.” believing that because they had not yet been hit that there was no need to invest in a lightning protection system or to even consider the options. Others professed that they use lightning rods at facilities such as refineries, tank farms and tank batteries. “WHAT?”
You have heard me say the following statements time and again over the past 90 or so blogs. “Lightning does not discriminate!” or “It only takes one strike!” and “Lightning is increasing.” In addition, “It’s not only about protecting against a direct strike!” That said, why would you want to collect a strike into a combustible and/or sensitive environment and why would you wait until your facility has gotten struck to act?
In addition, direct strike aside, what about your sensitive electronics and operations equipment? The secondary effects, such as, meantime-between-failure are equally as destructive. Last but certainly not least, your employees? Do you really want to do nothing and/or collect a strike? One lightning strike can cost tens of millions of dollars and for fraction of the cost companies can be diverting a direct strike from an area they need protected, as well as, implementing integrated grounding and surge solutions that protect against damaging electronics and equipment, subsequently protecting the lives of employees and the bottom line.
The Houston Chronicle’s Fuel Fix covered the same topic in an article by Jeannie Kever, “Some companies don’t wait for lightning to strike” . The phenomenon of “it won’t happen to me/us!”, with something such as a lightning strike boggles the mind. A strike can cost a company millions of dollars and perhaps loss of life, as well as regulatory fines and liability; in some cases business closure –“And you want to wait until you get struck?”
Another finding is that folks are unaware of the increase in lightning events, frequency and strength. There are more storms folks, so the odds just went up quite a bit. Also, areas that have not experienced severe lightning events in the past are starting to. This is evident internationally, such as the United Kingdom, as well as domestically, like in California where one person was just killed and 13 others injured in Venice Beach. Recently I was speaking to an associate who exclaimed, “We never get lightning in San Diego. In 20 years I can’t remember hearing thunder or seeing lightning.” The next day, San Diego was impacted by the same storm that plagued Venice beach.
In response to realizing that there was a lack of lightning and lightning protection education, Lightning Eliminators started the Lightning Protection Summits, which are held each year in states that have amassed a large amount of oil and gas exploration, petroleum and chemical manufacturing companies. This year we will be holding our 3rd Lightning Protection Summit in Tulsa Oklahoma on Oct 2 at the Mayo Hotel.
The Lightning Protection summit is designed to discuss lightning as a weather even. In addition to spotlight the dangers of direct strikes and the secondary effects associated with them. It covers the different solutions available for facilities and what work s best in different environments and in the industries that handle combustible and volatile liquids. We have expanded the program to include upstream operations for oil and gas considering the advent of non-metallic and lined tanks as well as tank battery solutions.
If you are a manager, coordinator, director, supervisor, superintendent, or engineer and even if you are an Executive at petroleum and/or chemical production company, the Lightning Protection Summit is a one stop event to learn what you need to know. Created as an interactive forum which not only talks about lightning and lightning protection, it allows the audience to ask questions and get the answers integral to protection of their facilities…learn more.
If you have any lightning stories you would like to share with us, positive or negative and/or if you have any questions or need additional information please feel free to contact me at LightningDiva@lecglobal.com
Be careful out there! Visit www.lightningprotection.com for all your lightning protection needs. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn for more information and updates as well as some great photos. Thank you for visiting!