Focus on gas leaks

July 28, 2006, 09:00 CEST

With the help of infrared cameras and advanced electronics, the gas processing plant at Kårstø will uncover leaks. This means improved safety and reduced emissions.

Infrared cameras uncover potential leaks at the Kårstø gas processing plant. (Photomontage: GasOptics)

The plant at Kårstø north of Stavanger has purchased a full-scale gas visualisation system (GVS) from the Swedish company GasOptics. The system will be delivered in March 2007.

The technology makes it possible both to see and quantify invisible gas leaks and is supplementary to the other gas detection systems at Kårstø.

GVS consists of several camera lenses that are connected to a data processing unit where images and information can be displayed on-screen and analysed. In the long term the system will be connected to the fire and gas warning systems at the plant.

“The GVS camera detects the release of gas containing methane and has a lower detection scale than conventional gas detectors on the market,” says Ragnhild Hagland, manager for health, safety and the environment (HSE) at the Kårstø plant. “The cameras will also cover a bigger geographical area.”

The cameras tell the operators where the leak is coming from so they don’t have to search for it. If the cameras locate a leak, they trigger video recording as well as the gas alarm. The size of the leak and its location is shown in a normal picture on a computer monitor where the operator can choose to see still images or video.

“Proving the presence of the gas cloud and its scale at an early stage allows for increased safety in an emergency response situation where we need to send in trained personnel to reduce the scale of the damage,” says Ms Hagland.

Statoil’s wholly-owned subsidiary Statoil Innovation has the share majority in GasOptics.