Frequently Asked Questions
The FireFly system is designed to have no power at the unit or in the cable until the main power switch has been turned ON and the Key has been activated. If the FireFly system was hit by site traffic or if the cable was damaged or even torn apart, the FireFly system cannot accidentally fire because there is no power to active solenoids controlling pilot fuel or automatic discharge valve.
When the FireFly system is turned on, the strove light and siren will be activated. The siren will sound a final evacuation for three (3) minutes and then shut off (to conserve battery power). The strobe light will continue to blink until the Key switch or Main Power Switch has been turned off.
The purpose of the strobe light is to be a reminder that the FireFly ignition system is active. Even if the well is on fire and you are re-entering the location to do an evaluation, you must be aware that the system could fire again at any time. The strobe will act as a reminder to shut the ignition system off.
The two main reasons for this are:
One is that we want to ensure that the burning gel stream is introduced directly into the plume, and;
The second reason is that after ignition occurs, the heat produced by the resulting flame is pushing air away from the burning plume. Fresh air to support combustion is rushing in from below and as a result, this will be one of the coolest areas. It will allow the FireFly system to remain functional for as long as possible.
The burning gel is released at 300 psi and forms a stable stream that is directed into the plume area. If high winds are present the gel stream will be deflected, however, the gas plume will also move in the same direction. For this reason, high winds will have little effect on our ability to ignite.
The FireFly system discharge of burning gel fires approximately 90 feet (27 meters) vertically and 180 feet (60 meters) horizontally.
The main advantage of this system is that you can not only ignite an uncontrolled flow, but maintain ignition of the that flow. After initial ignition has occurred, it is possible for water vapour, CO2 or simply a disruption of the flow to extinguish the flame.
The FireFly system is designed to discharge its burning gel stream every two (2) minutes. This give us the ability to relight automatically if the plume is extinguished. Approximate number of discharges is twelve to eighteen (12-18) depending on vessel size and average ambient temperature.
The other main advantage is, that by utilizing this system you can have an orderly evacuation of the location. The system can be activated and the safe egress of all on- site personnel can occur. Due to the time delay, all personnel are cleared from the location well before ignition occurs. And as previously mentioned, no personnel will have to return to the site to initiate re-ignition. This will occur automatically.
The solution for ignition criteria
The FireFly Ignition System was designed and created to fill the gap in ignition criteria for oil companies. Over time, legislation was introduced which required a remote ignition system — the "FireFly", would constitute the primary means of ignition on critical wells. A flare gun would be considered secondary ignition only.
Non-Critical Sour Well Safety Issues
A flare pistol is an accepted method of ignition on non-critical sour wells. However, it is a minimum standard and can present some real safety issues:
- Issue #1: Flare guns require personnel to remain on-site, in close proximity to the gas plume during the ignition process.
- Issue #2: CO2 and water vapour in the plume can make it very difficult to ignite. This can further increase the time personnel must remain on-site.
- Issue #3: SUSTAINED ignition is NOT addressed by flare guns. If the well extinguishes itself, personnel may have to enter the location repeatedly to re-ignite.
- Issue #4: If the lease is surrounded by dense forest, steep banks, or other limiting factors such as deep snow or muskeg, the ignition team may be unable to establish an upwind position.
- Issue #5: Individuals have the right to refuse unsafe work. This could delay, or otherwise compromise the ignition plan