On-Line Oil Leak Detection

on-line oil leak detection is a tool that is seeing increasing use in the oil and gas industry. Hydrocarbon leaks can result not just in environmental contamination but also, when their concentration is sufficiently high, in life threatening fires and explosions. Such outcomes cause severe harm to personnel, businesses and the environment. These high hydrocarbon concentrations occur not infrequently in the oil and gas industry, which is one reason why an increasingly strict regulatory framework governs the sector. In order to comply with the requirements of this regulatory environment, on-line leak alerts are increasingly employed to provide early warning to the operators of extraction, processing and storage facilities.

on-line oil leak alert

One typical application of on-line oil leak detection systems is in bunded storage areas. Bunding is a method of storage in which a retaining wall is constructed around an area where potentially polluting substances are being handled, processed or stored, in order to contain any unintentional spillage of the polluting substance, constraining it within the bunded area, until remedial measures can be taken.
 
Inevitably, water collects within the bund, particularly in non-arid areas. Indeed, the quantity of water in the bund is generally much higher than any spillage of oil. Such water must be pumped and emptied periodically, but in the absence of an oil sheen alert, and if oil spillage is not detected by an on-line oil spill alert, the emptying of the bund tanks will periodically result in environmental pollution.

on-line oil spill alert

However, the application of automatic on-line oil spill alert systems can be much broader than a single site. Recently, the EU launched the "'Automatic oil-spill recognition and repositioning integrated in a marine monitoring network" (ARGOMARINE) project. This project is intended to develop a network of on-line oil leak detection platforms which would monitor major shipping lanes, and to develop a data management system for public use.