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Flame Heights and Heat Release Rates of 1991 Kuwait Oil Field Fires (NIST SP 995)



D. D. Evans, Daniel M. Madrzykowski, G A. Haynes


A series of measurements were made in the Al Mawqa/Al Ahmadi oil field region of Kuwait to explore the feasibility of assessing the heat release rate of individual well fires through flame height and thermal radiation measurements. The heat release rate (in kW) of crude oil well fires was correlated with the flame height (zeta,in meters) using rate of heat release = (zeta/0.21)5/2. The 12 Kuwait oil field fires measured ranged in calculated heat release rate from 90 MW to 2 GW which correspond to flow rates of 0.003 m3/s (1500 bbls/day) to 0.059 m3/s (30000 bbls/day). Based on these twelve burning well measurements, the estimated total flow from the 651 damaged wells, both burning and leaking in March 1991, was 14 m3/s (7,400,000 bbls/day) which is only 20 percent greater than published National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) estimates based on information from the Kuwait Oil Company.
Special Publication (NIST SP) - 995
Report Number


fire research, fire safety, fire science, oil well fires, flame height, heat release rate, blowout fires, crude oil, flame radiation, jet flames


Evans, D. , Madrzykowski, D. and Haynes, G. (2003), Flame Heights and Heat Release Rates of 1991 Kuwait Oil Field Fires (NIST SP 995), Special Publication (NIST SP), National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD, [online], (Accessed May 21, 2024)


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Created February 28, 2003, Updated October 12, 2021