The project 

The storage of combustible liquids, such as fuel, diesel, oil and gas, exposes such sites to random dangers such as electrical faults and lightning strikes – and, given their proximity to the general public, no safety shortcuts can be taken.

Recognising this threat, Puma Energy entrusted Delta Fire – on the back of its extensive fire-protection experience with petrochemical plants – to conduct a series of due diligence reports for its terminals in Queensland.

At the time, Puma was one of the country’s largest independent fuel retail chains and owned a network of about 360 sites around Australia, plus 222 shops and dozens of cafes and truck stops. The business was acquired by energy giant Chevron in 2019. 

The solution

The Puma project involved the inspection and testing of three key fuel terminals, as well as the company’s fire-fighting and foam fire-suppression capabilities.

The aim of the review was to avoid some of the following fire-related risks:

  • property damage – the need to carry out infrastructure repairs or replace high-cost equipment could threaten a business’s future.
  • business interruption – long periods of downtime can ruin revenue streams and lead to the loss of customers.
  • environmental harm – air pollution, water contamination and soil and forestation damage as a result of fires can cause reputational damage or result in Environmental Protection Authority investigations.
  • legal implications – major industrial fires can cause legal disputes involving liability claims or regulatory fines.

Delta Fire’s audit entailed testing the sites fire pumps verifying the foam systems requirements in accordance with the relevant standards and regulations, including AS1940,  storage and handling of flammable and combustible liquids NFPA 11, Standard for Low-, Medium-, and High-Expansion Foam and other Government regulations and policies.

Any foams used on petrochemical sites should pass performance and characteristic testing to ensure they are compatible with fixed and portable firefighting equipment system designs.

 The outcome

At the end of the review, Delta Fire provided a detailed report with the findings to Puma to adopt to ensure the ongoing fire safety of the company.

 The Puma project serves as a reminder to plant managers that hazardous sites require regular safety checks as part of an overarching risk-management strategy that protects properties, employees and the public.

The key with such audits is to engage an experienced fire-safety and fire-suppression team that has specific experience in the petrochemical space. While some consulting groups may conduct a general review, selecting a provider who can also do performance testing of fuel pumps and fire foams is advantageous.

Also read – Modern foams to the fore as petrochemical sites counter fire risks.



Could your business benefit from some expert fire protection advice?