Proactive Leak Detection of Oil & Gas Assets Can Improve Worker Safety

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, there have only been 4 new refineries built in the last 20 years on US soil. Those 4 refineries have a combined capacity of <70,000 barrels-per-calendar-day (b/cd) while the 3 largest refineries in the USA produce more than 500,000 b/cd EACH. The oldest operable refineries were started before 1900 making them in excess of 115 years old. Although they have been updated with new processes to increase efficiency and output they are very much critical infrastructure that is susceptible to unscheduled shutdowns and emergencies that can threaten the environment and human lives.

These complex, engineering amusement parks must be properly maintained if they want to continue to not only be operable but also profitable. One aspect of proper maintenance and environmental stewardship is proactive leak detection. Most leak detection efforts in the industry are concerned with fugitive emissions but the most difficult leaks to find are the ones that are out of sight and out of mind until disaster strikes in the form of an explosion, collapsed road, or environmental catastrophe. One of the safest and cost effective ways of locating leaks in the Oil & Gas industry is through the means of remote sensing that is non-destructive. Specifically, non-destructive technology that can detect those leaks on underground pipelines, underground storage tanks, and above ground storage tanks before they reach that level of failure. Infrared – Energy Pattern Analysis (IR-EPA) is a proven technology that can detect differences in thermal capacity and conductance caused by leaks without disturbing any processes, trenching, or touching the asset. IR-EPA works on firewater, process sewer, storm sewer, cooling, steam, and process chemical lines. As the old adage goes, a stitch in time saves nine.