ATEX standard passenger transit vehicle for oil and gas industry

Paul Boughton

The first protected passenger transit vehicle to meet the oil and gas industry’s ATEX Zone 2 standard for operation in hazardous and explosive environments has been produced by Supacat, the Devon, UK, based specialist vehicle and engineering company. 

The Protected Transit Vehicle (PTV) will be operated by Agip ENI for transporting work crews between facilities on the man-made offshore island, Complex D, which has been created in the Experimental Phase of the Kashagan oil field development in the North Caspian Sea.  

The PTV is based upon a 4x4 Mercedes Sprinter that has been adapted for safe use in exploration and extraction operations in the harsh environment and extreme weather conditions experienced in Kazakhstan. The PTV is fully ATEX Zone 2 compliant, thereby providing the user with the utmost confidence and the employer with the requisite regulatory compliance and on-site safety.

This week Supacat delivered the first PTV to the customer. In November 2009, Agip KCO awarded Supacat a £4.5 million contract for a fleet of seven PTVs.  The contract marks Supacat’s entry into the Oil and Gas sector where its experience in all-terrain military vehicles and hostile environment engineering are applicable to the sector’s specialist transportation requirements.  

Nick Ames, Managing Director of Supacat, commented:  “Supacat is geared to this type of bespoke, low rate production contract; but as a UK MoD prime contractor we have the engineering skills and management systems to  handle the complex compliance procedures also demanded by the Oil & Gas sector.”

The PTV occupants are protected from explosive hydrocarbons as well as toxic “sour gas” using an integrated Gas Detection System. Through constant hazardous gas monitoring, filtration and an over-pressured interior, the PTV creates a safe working environment. The PTV’s non-incendiary protection includes a water-cooled exhaust and turbo system and full electrostatic protection against sparks.

When the PTV detects a hazardous gas it initiates an evacuation sequence that disables the engine, ventilation system and all non-ATEX rated equipment. Simultaneously, visual and audible alarms inform both the occupants and surrounding personnel of the threat. The residual over-pressure and sealed interior provide protection from toxic gas ingress to allow the crew time to don evacuation breathing apparatus.

Designed for use in challenging environments, the fully insulated PTV is capable of operating in extreme temperatures whilst maintaining a habitable environment for the occupants.

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