HARP: Ensuring Safety with Ingenuity


While wading the waters of bankruptcy, Chesapeake Energy recently experienced positive news as Mid-Continent team members have crafted a tool that protects against flammable and toxic fumes associated with well site production tanks.

Kingfish office pumper, Mark Harrison, recently accepted the assignment of inspecting area asset tank batteries. Responding to the potential hazards, HARP was birthed and stands for Hazardous Atmosphere Reduction Plug.

What is HARP

“It is made up of a little bit of this and a little bit of that, using spare parts that were just laying around the shop,” said Harrison. “I am surprised there wasn’t something like it on the market already.”

Composed of several components, HARP includes a thick and circular rubber section that measures nine inches in diameter. It is fastened to a bracket made of metal and screws onto a bolt. On the opposite end of the bolt, a metal shovel hand is attached by a weld. This allows HARP to be pushed or pulled out of an open hatch.

Further improvements

Eliminating the need for respiratory protection, the Harrison team welded horizontal hangers to the handle. It allowed for the standard tank opening, as well as thief hatches, to be sealed off. This technique allows for applicable work to be completed without exposure to any vapors. Additionally, methane emission ignition from an unexpected spark can also be prevented.

“Chesapeake has long prided itself in getting its employees back to their homes safely, and what they did perfectly illustrates the company’s culture of innovation and building for the future,” said Cole Carpenter, Chesapeake’s Mid-Continent Division’s Operations Manager. “They encountered a problem, owned it, and found a solution that not only helped make what they were doing every day safer but ultimately will impact the industry around the globe.”

World Oil Competition

According to the Oklahoman, more than 270 contestants submitted ideas, and Chesapeake and HARP competed for bragging rights. There were 84 finalists chosen from 18 different categories. Winners displayed valuable industry improvements and developments.

Harrison stated that the team ran the gauntlet through several versions of their technology before finalizing their submission.

“We went through a few trial and errors, and we found one that worked. We had no idea where this was going. We just solved a problem and went forward, and here we are,” said Harrison. “Environmentally, it is better, and it is safer, too. A win-win across the board.”

Competition officials revealed that several industry icons sponsored the competition and included Schlumberger, SI Group, Aramco, Baker Hughes, Halliburton, Clariant, Siemens Energy, Emerson and QRI. As a result, competitive wins carry weight, and Chesapeake finished with the top award in the World Oil’s Health, Safety, Environment/Sustainable Development Onshore category.

Nick Vaccaro is a freelance writer and photographer. Besides providing technical writing services, he is an HSE consultant in the oil and gas industry with eight years of experience. He also contributes to Louisiana Sportsman Magazine and follows and photographs American Kennel Club field and herding trials. Nick has a BA in Photojournalism from Loyola University and resides in the New Orleans area. 210-240-7188 [email protected]