What are gas outbursts?
Pockets of methane and other hazardous gases can be intersected during drilling activities. The presence of combustible gases can result in explosions and fires.
Personnel can be exposed to asphyxiant and toxic gases at the time of intersection, while the hole is venting, or from a hole in an area with previous intersections of gas.
Managing the risk
A risk management approach is required to identify stratigraphic sections that could contain pockets of hazardous gases so that appropriate control measures can be implemented.
Refer to Part 2 of the Mineral exploration drilling - code of practice for a discussion of gas outbursts.
Reporting a gas outburst
Gas outbursts are a notifiable incident under section 78(3e) of the Mines Safety and Inspection Act 1994.
Refer to s. 78(3e) of the Mines Safety and Inspection Act 1994.
The Queensland Department of Natural Resources and Mines has produced a Minerals exploration safety guidance note, which includes information on what to consider if natural gases are encountered during drilling.