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Industry Updates Jet Perforating Gun Safety Standards

The International Makers of Explosives (IME), working in conjunction with federal regulatory bodies, released an update to its jet perforating gun (JPG) safety standards that will reduce costs and dramatically accelerate application processing times for the oilfield sector.

JPGs are shaped explosive-based propellants detonated in the ground with the goal of making perforating tunnels through casing and cement into the reservoir, and creating micro fissures that enhance oil and gas extraction.

The IME is an industry trade association formed to facilitate best practice recommendations for manufacturing, handling, using and transporting explosives in the oilfield sector. The organization collaborates with several regulatory bodies such as the Department of Transportation (DOT), the Occupational Safety and Health Association (OSHA), and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) to create safety regulations and standards related to the use of explosives in the production of oil and gas.

The IME drafted its original JPG standard in 2008 to create an efficient and economical mechanism to obtain permission to use JPG systems in compliance with the PHMSA Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR). Before work can begin, all operators must submit a “Classification of Explosives” (also known as EX-letter) application letter to PHMSA for JPG-use approval.

Applications for JPGs prepared and submitted using the IME standard, which is authorized in the PHMSA Hazardous Materials Regulations index, provides two key benefits:

  • Avoiding the expensive laboratory-based testing ($5,000 or more per JPG system) required by PHMSA
  • Reducing processing time at PHMSA from 90-120 days to 1-14 days

The update, known as Version 2, further streamlines the process of obtaining JPG approvals with an integrated online system. Version 2 requires industry actions that must be completed by November 26, 2021. For example, all JPG applications can now submit the EX-letter through a PHMSA online system and be approved by the Associate Administrator before work begins.

Required industry actions for JPG use are explained here.

Below is a brief table detailing the Version 2 changes to the existing standard:

For questions or additional information, contact Council Director, Environmental and Technical Phillip DeBauche.


Phillip DeBauche, Director, Environmental and Technical, writes about the Council’s environmental efforts. Click here to subscribe to the Council’s newsletter, which highlights industry practices, workforce development, Council activities and more.
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