December 12, 2022
Offshore operations

SRS, a US Ecology company, is renowned for its expertise in responding to highly hazardous and volatile events across the globe. Our professionally trained and certified crews are on standby 24/7 to manage large-scale emergencies involving all classes of hazardous materials and dangerous goods.

One of our longstanding customers, an exploration and production (E&P) company with several offshore assets in the Gulf of Mexico had a need for technical assistance with several severely corroded nitrogen cylinders.

For the last five years, the cylinders were stored in a “wet room” on an offshore production platform located off the coast of New Orleans, Louisiana. While in storage, one of the cylinders ruptured and released its contents into the room. The sudden rupture of the cylinder knocked an additional 10 cylinders over and scattered them throughout the room.

Initially, two of our Senior Project Managers with extensive experience in handling potentially compromised high-pressure cylinders looked at photos of the scene and spoke with customer’s platform management, safety and corporate risk management teams to determine a course of action.

cylinders on ground

Based on photographic documentation from the platform’s internal investigation, the ruptured cylinder appeared to receive critical shell damage from an unknown source. Three SRS professionals flew to the offshore platform to perform a detailed assessment of each cylinder, degas the cylinders, remove the valves and package all cylinders that were deemed inoperable in overpack vessels to safely ship them back to shore. 

Once on board, the crew was taken to the “wet room” to view the cylinders and formulate a response plan for the cylinder operation. A safe work permit was prepared, and the SRS team was able to begin the cylinder assessment. Our crew performed the following tasks on each cylinder:

  • Visual assessment for signs of corrosion, scores, and gouges
  • Ultrasound shell thickness testing
  • Internal pressure determination.


After completing all tests, the cylinders were carefully removed from the room and secured to a cylinder rack in an open place on the platform deck. As a next step, we established an exclusion zone around the room and each cylinder was safely vented to the atmosphere.

Following the removal and degassing of the nitrogen cylinders, a sweep of the “wet room” was performed to identify additional hazards.

nitrogen cylinders

Tucked away in a water-filled I-beam channel were three severely corroded carbon dioxide fire extinguisher cartridges. The SRS team performed a detailed assessment of the cartridges and found that one of the cartridges had functioned as designed and was confirmed empty. The remaining two cartridges were assumed to be full. A plan was quickly developed and approved by platform management and the safety department. . The remaining two cartridges were assumed to be full and were taken to a safe welding room for venting. We established an exclusion zone around the welding room and executed the operational plan.

Our team, wearing breathing apparatus, placed one cartridge at a time in a drill press and remotely drilled through the cartridge's rupture disc releasing the carbon dioxide in a matter of seconds. Once the cartridges were empty, they drilled the side walls, rendering them scrap metal.

The customer was pleased with the swift response, professionalism and knowledge of our team to manage this response in a safe and compliant manner.

In a crisis, our customers agree, SRS is their first call. Our professional crews are on standby and ready to deploy the right resources to manage your response and recovery needs. We offer turnkey solutions and the convenience and reduced risk of working with a single source partner. Contact Us to learn more about our SRS services or call us 24/7/365 at (800) 899-4672 to speak with one of our knowledgeable representatives.