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Lease Worker Fundamentals to Hydrogen Sulfide Gases

Before the mid-1950’s, very little acknowledgement was given to the risks and dangers lease pumpers face while working with high levels of hydrogen sulfide gases (H2S). Although improvements to drilling rigs have allowed us to achieve depths of over 20,000 feet, experience has shown “the deeper the well, the higher the bottom hole pressure and more H2S gases the lease workers will experience”. In fact, some wells have H2S rates so high, they have to plug the entire well.

Lease Worker Fundamentals

While regulations have been written and enacted to protect lease workers from this growing danger, this is still a worldwide concern. Due to these revised laws, regulations, and large court awarded settlements to workers (or their families) when negligence can be shown; most companies typically utilize the best equipment, exposure considerations, literature, etc. they can afford. One of the most important aspects of this is education and training; to help understand more about hydrogen sulfide gas and the dangers associated with it, here are some of the most common questions lease workers have about hydrogen sulfide.


What Is Hydrogen Sulfide?

Hydrogen Sulfide (also referred to as H2S) is a naturally occurring gas produced along with natural gas and crude oil. Like many other gases, it can be fatal if breathed in. Therefore, it is vital for lease workers to have some form of breathing apparatus on hand; as well as understand the warning marks. Tanks containing deadly amounts of hydrogen sulfide are typically marked by a star or some other indicator showing the presence of H2S. When this warning is present, lease pumpers may be required to wear a breathing apparatus when testing or sampling the crude oil.


What Are the Important Properties of Hydrogen Sulfide?

In order to fully understand how hydrogen sulfide acts the way it does, you have to be aware of the physical properties of the gas; with H2S being a colorless gas consisting of two parts hydrogen and one part sulfur.  Other properties include:

  • Has an API gravity of 47.6
  • Has a blue flame when burned
  • Has a boiling point -75° F
  • Is explosive in the air
  • Is slightly heavier than air, thus will seek lower areas
  • It attacks a large amount of metals to form sulfides (usually insoluble precipitates)
  • It dissolves in water, forming a weak hydrosulfurous acid
  • It has a melting point of -119°
  • It is extremely poisonous
  • It is soluble in water
  • Liquid density of 0.790 @ 60°F
  • Typically gives off an odor of rotten eggs in small doses. However, higher concentrations can cause the olfactory nerve to be paralyzed within 60 seconds, making the odor undetectable.

What Are the Dangers of Breathing H2S?

The toxicity level of H2S is typically determined by the parts per million (or ppm) in the air. This means a 100 ppm concentration of hydrogen sulfide is equivalent to 100 liters of H2S in a million liters of air. How a specific concentration level will effect an individual is determined by a wide variety of factors including: age, air temperature, health, humidity, personal susceptibility, and more. The following values are general guidelines for lease pumpers to keep in mind.

1 ppm or 1/10,000 of 1 %Can be smelled (typically smelling of rotten eggs)
10 ppm or 1/1,000 of 1 %8-hour exposure permit.
100 ppm or 1/100 of 1%Will numbs your sense of smell within 3-15 minutes, and can also burn your eyes and throat.
200 ppm or 2/100 of 1 %Will quickly numb your sense of smell and burn your eyes and throat
500 ppm or 5/100 of 1 %Causes loss of logic, reasoning, and balance; and within 2-15 minutes will result in respiratory disturbances requiring prompt artificial resuscitation.
700 ppm or 7/100 of 1%Quickly causes unconsciousness, breathing stops, and death will result immediately if the individual is not saved promptly.
1,000 ppm or 1/10 of 1%Immediate unconsciousness occurs, and permanent brain damage can result if not freed quickly.

To ensure you use the proper tools, lease pumpers can also use exposure monitors to measure the contamination levels (see Figure 1).

Lease Worker Fundamentals

Figure 1. Exposure meters used for hydrogen sulfide. (courtesy Mine Safety Equipment Co.)

What Safe Working Procedures Should be Followed in Gaseous Areas?

Whenever a situation arises for lease pumpers to go into a gaseous area alone, there are certain precautions they should use; and since there is no backup, they should take even more measures to ensure their personal safety. For example, first and foremost, you should always check your equipment and make sure it is on (see Figure 2) and operating correctly before entering the contaminated region; and the lease pumper should continue wearing the breathing apparatus until they exit the area.

Lease Worker Fundamentals

Figure 2. Example of safety equipment – a warning gate indicating the existence H2S, and that a breathing apparatus is required to proceed.

There are also plenty of different hydrogen sulfide safety training courses available for lease workers, and everyone should take the time for these courses. This official training will help result in a better understanding of the material than if you had read the information in a pamphlet. Plus this will also give the lease pumper valuable experience and training with 30-minute backpacks, 5-minute emergency escape pack, exposure recorders, H2S detectors, monitors, safety equipment, a variety of situations you will rarely see working in the field, and valuable advice from those who have experienced different things.

Remember: when working in a group, only one person will be required to have this formal training. However, it is important for any lease worker who has the chance of working alone on the lease to complete these safety preparation courses.


Where Will A Lease Pumper Encounter Hydrogen Sulfide?

Lease workers can come into contact with H2S almost anywhere on the lease. This can include areas such as:

  • Acidizing Wells
  • Closed Tanks and/or Vessels
  • Contaminated Sulfur
  • Drilling Muds
  • Gauging Tanks
  • Injection of Sour Gas
  • Pits and/or Low Areas on Still Days (see Figure 3)
  • Tank Bottoms
  • Vapor Recovery Units
  • Water Injection

Lease Worker Fundamentals

Figure 3. Windsocks are often used on sites to show the wind direction and to determine whether it is likely for a H2S buildup.

What Type of Breathing Apparatus Should a Lease Worker Use?

When working in the field, there are times when it is essential to have some form of fresh air available. These fresh air systems used by lease workers can range from fairly simple devices to very elaborate ones. Although the most common system is a portable air pack; some companies or lease owners are known to use industrial size fresh air bottles strapped to a truck bed with a long hose on a reel or other measures. Whatever type you choose, in order for the device to continue to save lives, you always need to properly use and care for your safety gear.

  • 5-Minute Air Packs

One of the most widely used and recognized safety backup systems is the five-minute air pack (see Figure 4). This device can be used for an emergency escape; including areas where air packs may only be slightly needed. Any instance where the lease pumper is being continuously fed air through a hose; the worker should wear a five-minute air pack for emergencies. Workers should also carry backup systems whenever working in areas more than a few seconds away from safety.

Lease Worker Fundamentals

Figure 4. A service bench with 5-Minute Air Packs and 30-Minute Backpacks. (courtesy Marathon Safety Department, Iraan, Texas)

  • 30-Minute Backpacks

Another widely used option is the 30-minute fresh air unit (see Figure 4). This breathing apparatus is highly recommended because it can be quickly gauged and generally lasts a week or longer before needing refilled. The device comes in a form-fitting box, and it should be stored there whenever it is not in use. The worker should also:

  1. Carry a few essential replacement parts (such as the spider or head strap),
  2. Always keep the device (and the box) clean,
  3. And if the pack ever breaks a strap, always replace it before wearing it again.
  • Compressing Fresh Air (Models using Large Industrial Size Bottles)

These air bottles can typically be refilled at most town fire stations for a fee. Nevertheless, in areas where large amounts of fresh air are consumed, you will also find a variety of companies providing this refill service. In most cases, when a company consumes large quantities of fresh air, the owner(s) will install some form of their own refilling equipment (see Figure 5), such as a compressor. The compressor uses the surrounding air to refill the bottles by first compressing the air, then injecting the air into a series of industrial sized bottles. This acts as an oxygen volume tank to help reduce the time needed to refill the bottles later on.

Lease Worker Fundamentals

Figure 5. A compressor used to fill fresh air tanks. (courtesy Marathon Safety Department, Iraan, Texas)

When filling these bottles, it is common to generate heat. As a result, the bottles are often submerged in water while they are being refilled. 30-minute bottles are also branded with a date, and it is required for them to periodically be checked. In addition, these bottles are illegal to refill after a set amount of time has passed, and each bottle is to be replaced with one meeting the proper inspection tests.

When large amounts of air are required, industrial-sized bottles (see Figure 6) with an air line and face mask are often required. These can be rigged up in a variety of ways; from the tank battery to the bed of a pickup truck.

Lease Worker Fundamentals

Figure 6. Industrial-sized bottles waiting to be filled with fresh air. The water tank on the left is where the small air tanks are cooled during the refill process. (courtesy Marathon Safety Department, Iraan, Texas)

In most cases, an industrial-sized air tank is too large and heavy to tote around and carry. Typically an air hose is used to transfer air from the bottle to the user, with a fresh air mask being utilized by each person breathing the air (see Figure 7). Typically the tank is just on stand by; and if a warning alarm or horn goes off detecting gas, the masks will be used wigging up to kill the well again. Sometimes when pulling wells or when workers are cleaning tanks, all crew members will be breathing air through hoses and masks.

Lease Worker Fundamentals

Figure 7. A lease worker using an industrial-sized air tank with an air mask, and a 5-minute escape pack for emergencies. (courtesy Mine Safety Appliance Co.)

  • Trailer-Mounted Standby Units

Industrial-sized air tanks can be used in two different ways. It can be mounted to the bed of a pickup with a reel hose, or it can be installed on the ground at the end of a walkway. This type of air tank is often selected for cleaning tanks, new construction, well servicing, and other jobs onsite (see Figure 8).

Lease Worker Fundamentals

Figure 8. Trailer Mounted Fresh Air Devices (courtesy Marathon Safety Department, Iraan, Texas)

Whether you use a trailer mounted fresh air device or a 5-minute emergency air pack, you should always take care of your breathing apparatus. You can learn a lot about an employee based on how they use and take care of their equipment. For instance, visually inspecting the breathing apparatus and looking at the bottle’s refill schedule can indicate a great deal.

As soon as a lease pumper receives his breathing gear, they should first inspect it, put it on, adjust it to fit properly, open the valves, set the rate, and find out if the device works in a satisfactory manner. Generally the device will use quick connect fittings to buckle on, the settings will remain as is, until they are adjusted again. Therefore, when a supervisor checks the equipment and finds the apparatus still wrapped as it was when it was shipped, it is obvious the lease pumper has not been using it.

Remember: Breathing equipment may be expensive, but it provides an invaluable service when properly cared for and maintained; and after each use, the lease pumper should take a few moments to clean and properly store this life saving equipment.

Is your appetite for oil & gas operating knowledge insatiable like ours? 😀 If so, check out the related article, Oil and Gas Safety: Topics of Discussion for Oilfield Operators – it will surely pump you up!!!

How CAN we guarantee you a 6% lift in profit margin in 6 weeks*?


*PLEASE NOTE: 6% is the AVERAGE result of producers who implement the app into their operations..... which means a full HALF of our clients do better 🤑

Centralized Repository

Get full production history, well files, commentary and the like in the hands of the people who need it (when they need it) and enable everyone in the field or office to do their best work.

Reduced Overhead

The height of cultivation runs to simplicity. With Greasebook, streamline your operations, automate back-office tasks all while eliminating any excess operational drag ❌ ⚙️

Reduced Downtime through Alerts

Gain timely detection of equipment malfunctions or other operational issues and prevent costly breakdowns. With Greasebook, alert your in-house team to issues in the field wherever they're at.

Increased Production

Catch a hole in the tubing or an engine issue immediately when a well begins to slip (not several weeks later when your purchaser statements come in…) 💸 Greasebook is the next best thing to 'sitting shotgun' with each pumper on every route. And because you'll have complete visibility of your assets and your field crew, you'll not only avoid significant expenses associated with repairs and oversights but you'll also produce more oil because of it.

Timely Reports

Weekly, monthly, or missed reports simply don’t cut it. Why? Because longer reporting intervals increase the risk of inaccuracies and discrepancies in your production data, which not only erodes trust in the reported figures but also makes it challenging to analyze trends or forecast future production 📉 With Greasebook, eliminate any excuse NOT to have your production data.

Full Accountability

Gain full transparency of your folks in the field and eliminate boiler housed reports and ‘Kitchen Table Pumping’ for good 🍳


From one-off wells to lengthy routes, no matter what form your pumping takes, GreaseBook keeps your pumpers focused on moving those production updates from field to office.


Easily gather everything that matters. Track tank levels, capture notes, administer well tests, submit photos of scanned run tickets. All from the field. All on your mobile device. All over the cellular network.


Connect with the people who help you get it all done. Communicate, collaborate, and share in real-time with your guys and gals in the field without ever leaving the GreaseBook.


Access fast, accurate gauge sheets. No need to re-key production or manipulate Excel. Just one click and your production is organized into a beautiful screen-friendly layout.



Streamline your operations and discover why the industry’s most effective operators rely on Greasebook to do their best work.

Everything in one place

The central place for everyone’s work. All the relevant content from well history to run ticket images, easily accessed.

Get paid your due

Compare a month's worth of oil sales tickets vs purchaser statements vs payments received (and find those inconsistencies!) in just seconds.

Knowledge discovery

GreaseBook acts as your operations watchdog, surfacing any unexpected drops in production, unplanned downtime, or incompetence in the oilfield.

Share Responsibility

Production data syncs across all pumpers who share the responsibility of a particular lease. That means no more calling, no more meeting up to trade-off books, and no more miscommunication.

Mobile Sync

Automatic sync means your production status is available the minute your pumper returns to coverage.

Offline Access

Pumpers retain access to historical production by making their work available even when a connection isn’t.


If you don’t TRIPLE your money in the form of profits from downtime reduction, increased production, lower overhead, and/or reduced time and redundancies in the back office during your 60 day trial – we’ll DOUBLE the amount money you paid for the app.

Voted New Technology Development of the Year.

bbls pumped to date
MCF flowed to date

Simple 8-minute Ramp Up

Average time to learn? 8 minutes (and yes, this goes for those pumpers who are 75 years old still tending wells…)

Custom Reports

Select one of our premade reports or build your own.

Alarm Alerts

Whether it’s a full tank or well is offline, we’ll text or email anyone you want if there’s an issue.

Production Graphs

See the big picture with beautiful production displays which render perfectly on any device.

Field Data Collection

Enter run tickets, BS&W draws, water hauls, track dual product tanks, conduct well tests all via the Greasebook. Now, your real-time monitoring shows right alongside those manual pumper gauges.


Real-time production is worthless if you don’t have the contextual information to complement it. Tag or search pumper comments by lease, well, or injector/SWD – letting the whole team know precisely what’s going on in the field.

Well Testing and Allocation Engine

Robust well testing and allocation engines to satisfy even the most complex gathering system.

Downtime Tracker

Which wells are down? How long they been down for? Why are they down? Now, you’ll know at a moment’s glance.

State & Government Auto-Report Filer

Yes, you read that right. We’ll produce your State and Government production reports enabling your back office to catch their breath.

Scheduled Reports

Want a report with your coffee every morning at 5AM? Got a WI partner who won’t quit calling to ‘get the numbers’? Set’em up on an automated report and watch the daily minutiae disappear.

Well History Files

A single place for your downhole and surface equipment PDFs, Word Docs, and the like – accessible in both the field and office.

Pumper GPS Tracker

Wanna know how many times your pumper is showing up each month? When was the last time someone set foot on a particular lease? No more “he said, she said” – with GPS tracker, now you’ll know the full story.

Custom Variables

Track any variable at any lease no matter how obscure.

Custom Logic

Components of a production system don’t operate in a vacuum. We make complex math simple so you can focus on analysis NOT spreadsheet jockeying.

Partner/Investor Permissions

Maintain transparency by giving special partners and investors access to their production (and ONLY their production!)

Read-Only Permissions

Giving certain users the ability to ‘look but don’t touch’.

Privacy and security. Keep what’s private pri****.

Bring the most advanced security of any device to your operations. The GreaseBook comes with built-in protections against malware and viruses, and given our open API it gives you the freedom to choose what you share and how you share it. So no matter what you’re doing (or where you’re doing it), GreaseBook helps your private information stay that way.

(just a few of) the products we integrate with


“If you’re unsatisfied for any reason during your 6-week trial, we'll either work with you until it's right or refund 200% of what you paid for the app. How can we do this? We're just that good. But don't take it from me. Check out what our clients are saying below......"
Greg Archbald
Perpetual Student of the Oilfield
Founder of GreaseBook


Ask us anything


Not really. Simply share with us your Excel reports, paper gauge sheets, or the login to your existing legacy production software and we’ll take care of the rest.

Our petroleum engineers turn-key your entire setup, we’ll reach out once we’re done. Bada bing.

You’re right. And, because no one leaves their house without their phone (and because our app works offline), we eliminate any excuse for your pumpers NOT to send you their data. See, we told you this would be easy.

In addition to both Android and Apple smartphones, the Greasebook also works on any tablet, laptop, or desktop.

While Greasebook has been implemented in many of the country’s largest publicly traded production companies operating thousands of wells, Greasebook is focused on serving the small and mid-sized independent US-based oil & gas operators.

Anywhere, anytime, on any device (phone, tablet, desktop or laptop).

The beauty of the app is once your pumpers start submitting their production via the Greasebook – anyone on your team can access production reports, graphs and well files from any device at any time.

It’s sorta like a centralized place from which everyone on your team can work, without all the calls, text messages and emails that would go on otherwise.

Absolutely. As your pumpers continue to add tickets, comments, pressures, well tests and any other relevant information, your investors will have guest access to as much (or as little) information as you’d like.

Of course, they’ll only see production info for the wells in which they participate.

Oil & gas companies who run Legacy oil and gas software systems expose themselves to major risks (and minor annoyances…)

The complexity of traditional oil & gas production systems is twofold:

  1. Software Problem: Legacy software systems are expensive, outdated, clunky and have extremely complex interfaces. In fact, because of all the support and manual interventions required, continuing to use outdated software can often be more costly than simply upgrading.
  2. People Problem: Legacy software systems take an enormous amount of time to familiarize oneself with. And, anytime an employee quits, retires, or is let go the amount of training required for new employees can be significantly higher than for newer, more user-friendly software.


This is a lose/lose. What’s more, given all the set-up fees, training fees, support fees and the like the projected ‘savings’ never materialize and now your forced to contend with fluctuating hydrocarbon prices AND a bloated monthly OPEX.

Talk about getting stuck in the muck!

With Greasebook, office users are 99% proficient with the platform in about 20 minutes.

Within 2 seconds – FROM YOUR SMARTPHONE – you’ll have your answer to any question regarding production, allocations, performance, well history files, commentary, run ticket reconciliation, Custom Reports, State reports, and more – all sliced and diced and customized at the Company, Operator, Battery, Well, State, County, Section, Township, Range, Acquisition, or even Supervisor level…

We’ve been at this for awhile. Greasebook was established in 2012 and now supports more than 400+ oil and gas operators (small ma & pops and publicly traded companies alike) across 20 States and is the fastest growing production software in the patch.

The Greasebook corporate outpost is proudly located in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 🤠📍

The Greasebook helpdesk is staffed by Petroleum Engineers, Geologists, and Completions Experts Monday through Friday, 8AM to 5PM CST. 

We have a real-time chat through which most questions are answered in 2 minutes or less.

Naturally, some questions are more complex and you’ll want to speak to someone over the phone. In this case, we aim to complete all callbacks within two hours of scheduling.👌

Of course, your Dashboard and Reports are available to you 24/7.

We don’t blame them.

Pumpers have been burned by Legacy Production Systems in the past. 😵

However, given how much upside you stand to gain in the form of time savings and profit, DO NOT make the mistake of letting the tail wag the dog, folks!! 💸

Real talk: the average pumper takes about 8 minutes to learn Greasebook (and that goes for guys in their 80s still tending wells…)

Give us two days and we’ll make believers out of your entire pumping crew….

Still not convinced? Check out Greasebook’s “Pumper Wall of Love” by clicking here and let the pumpers tell you themselves 😘

Let us help you help yourself. Simply send us your existing production info, and we’ll assign a production engineer to turn-key your entire setup for you.

We’ll build your wells, your tank straps, your users and anything else you require.

Finally, once everything has been reviewed by your team, we’ll roll out your pumpers and either train them for you or with you while you focus on more important stuff.

That’s not a question, but actually no.

The average pumper demands anywhere from $125 to $400 per month.

And depending on what you require, Greasebook is priced anywhere from $5-15 well/mo.

So, given how much more you’ll get out of your pumpers, how much we’ll streamline your operations, and how quickly we’ll get this all done for you, we’re actually kind of a bargain.

Our guarantee is two-pronged…

First, run the app for full 6 weeks in your operations. If you’re not completely satisfied, let us know and we’ll DOUBLE your money back.

Second, if for any reason you’d like your money back in first 30 days after paying simply let us know and it’s yours. 🤝

However, if you’re anything like our other 400+ operators you’ll be wondering why you didn’t do this 6 months ago…

We’re ready when you are. Take the quiz and schedule a call here – depending how many operators we have in front of you, there’s a chance we can get you up and running by the end of next week.

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