Problems Caused by Microbes and Treatment Strategies Health and Safety Issues from the Production of Hydrogen Sulphide

  • Nicole Williamson
Conference paper


Hydrogen sulphide (H2S) is a colourless, transparent gas that is heavier than air (SG = 1.18). It is extremely flammable and is explosive across a very wide range of concentrations 4.3–46% by volume in air (in comparison, methane is explosive at 5–15% volume in air). The boiling point of hydrogen sulphide is –60°C and so it exists as a gas at standard conditions; it burns with a blue flame to produce water and sulphur dioxide, which is also a very toxic gas. At low concentrations hydrogen sulphide has a very pungent smell, typically described as ‘rotten eggs’; at higher concentrations it can become sickly sweet. Hydrogen sulphide can be easily identified by its smell at very low concentrations, detectable down to 0.0047 ppm (HSE, 2009). However, smell alone cannot be relied upon to detect the continued presence of hydrogen sulphide. At high concentrations, or after sustained exposure to lower concentrations, hydrogen sulphide becomes undetectable by smell as it rapidly paralyses the olfactory nerve.


Hydrogen Sulphide Drill Stem Microbiologically Influence Corrosion Microbiologically Influence Corrosion Permissible Exposure Limit 
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Copyright information

© Springer Netherlands 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Oil Plus LtdBerkshireUK

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