Leak Detection Playbook

The North American oil and gas industry has seen tremendous growth as a result of horizontal drilling and facing shale plays as a result Operators require a Leak Detection (LDAR ) playbook.  The production of oil & gas production has required the construction of significant infrastructure of wells, pipelines, tanks and compressors. This infrastructure has been designed and built not to leak, but unfortunately it still can leak oil and volatile organic compounds (VOC), natural gas liquids (NGLs) and hazardous air pollutants (HAP). 

The oil & gas industry has made a commitment to reducing its environmental footprint by implementing comprehensive Leak Detection and Repair (LDAR) programs and technology.  There has been a proliferation of new technologies to provide leak detection and measurement in recent years IoT, AI, satellites, drones, airplanes, cameras and ground sensors all have pros and cons regarding scalability, cost-effectiveness, and accuracy. Only an integrated leak detection system can meet the requirements of current & future environmental demands .  The following document explores an industry playbook on a successful Leak Detection and Repair (LDAR) program.   

North American Oil & Gas Industry Growth

The continued demand for oil & natural gas will require more pipelines to get the products to market resulting in the requirement for oil & gas operators advanced leak detection. The global population is expected to grow an additional 1.3 billion; from 7.7 billion in 2019 to over 9 billion in 2040 this will continue to fuel the consumption of oil & natural gas.  The world currently consumes about 100 million barrels of oil a day. In 2019, global demand for natural gas increased by 1.5% compared to 2018, that is a 57.9 Bcm addition, up to 3 986 Bcm.

More petroleum and natural gas was produced in the United States than in any other country during 2020 (a trend that began in 2014), despite year-on-year declines from the record-high production in 2019. U.S. petroleum and natural gas output in 2020 totaled 66.9 quadrillion British thermal units (quads), which was more than both Russia’s 45.5 quads and Saudi Arabia’s 26.5 quads of petroleum and natural gas production. 

North America’s oil production renaissance is the industry’s ability to tap into the vast shale resources, areas where oil and gas saturate tight rock formations. Companies did this by combining two legacy technologies: horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing (fracking). This multistage process includes drilling a well a mile or more vertically before turning and drilling another mile or two horizontally, then pumping water and sand at high pressures to fracture the shale formation, unleashing the trapped oil and gas. These techniques have been the key to America’s energy revival.

Oil & Gas Infrastructure 

In order to get the oil and gas production to market it requires a massive infrastructure of oil & gas wells, pipelines, tanks and gas plants/compressor stations.  The following section outlines some of the operations of that the oil & gas industry are responsible for ensuring leak detection and repair.

Oil & Gas Wells 

An oil well is a boring in the Earth that is designed to bring petroleum oil hydrocarbons to the surface. Usually some natural gas is released as associated petroleum gas along with the oil. A well that is designed to produce only gas may be termed a gas well. Wells are created by drilling down into an oil or gas reserve that is then mounted with an extraction device such as a pumpjack which allows extraction from the reserve.

There are more than 900,000 active oil and gas wells in the United States, and more than 130,000 have been drilled since 2010, according to Drillinginfo, a company that provides data and analysis to the drilling industry.  

Oil & Gas Pipeline Transportation

The safest and most efficient way to transport oil and natural gas across our nation is through a system of underground pipelines. Unseen and often overlooked, pipelines are an integral part of our country’s energy infrastructure. 

Today there are some 1.2 million miles of transport pipelines around the world, with some well over 1,000 miles in length. The total length of these pipelines lined up end to end would encircle the earth 50 times over.  There are more than 2.2 million miles of oil and natural gas pipelines in the United States.

In a 2013 report prepared for Senator Edward J. Markey, an estimated 69 billion cubic feet of natural gas were lost annually from an aging pipeline network, at a cost of over $20 billion.

Oil & Gas Tanks

There are about 500,000 crude oil storage tanks in the United States. These tanks are used to hold oil for brief periods of time in order to stabilize flow between production wells and pipeline or trucking transportation sites.  The EPA estimates that about 12,000 new storage tanks are installed every year. 

During storage, light hydrocarbons dissolved in the crude oil or condensate—including methane and other volatile organic compounds (VOC), natural gas liquids (NGLs), hazardous air pollutants (HAP), and some inert gases—vaporize or “flash out” and collect in the space between the liquid and the fixed roof of the tank. 

Gas Plants & Compressor Stations 

Compressor stations are an integral part of the natural gas pipeline network that moves natural gas from individual producing well sites to end users. As natural gas moves through a pipeline, distance, friction, and elevation differences slow the movement of the gas, and reduce pressure. Compressor stations are placed strategically within the gathering and transportation pipeline network to help maintain the pressure and flow of gas to market.  US has approximately 1,700 midstream natural gas pipeline compressor stations with a total of 5,000-7,000 compressors.  

Pioneer Resources Permian Basin LDAR Equipment Study

In the aerial surveys performed in the Permian Basin, 5,361 pieces of equipment were identified on 1450 facilities over 250 square miles using Gas Mapping LiDAR™ (GML) remote sensor technology. Out of these 5000+ pieces of observed equipment, 6.0% were identified as emitters on the first pass.

  • Tanks resulted in the most significant volume (40%) of methane emissions released 
  • Compressors were responsible for 19% of total detectable emissions, and more than 25% of the compressors in the survey area showed detectable methane emissions.
  • Flares contributed 12% of emissions, and approximately 13% of the flares identified had detectable methane emissions.
  • Buried pipe and unknown or unclassified assets, also represented a considerable source of detected methane emissions (around 12%)
  • Wellheads, on the other hand, were found to be a minor source of overall detected emissions, contributing only 2% of all detected emissions.

Texas Oil Gas Facility List Download

Leak Detection Programs (LDAR)

Leak detection and repair or LDAR is a program that provides a systematic approach for identifying and repairing fugitive emission leaks at oil and gas locations, refineries and chemical facilities.

Leak detection systems policies, processes are engineering systems used to detect leak of materials from components such as connectors, pressure relief valves, controllers and tank thief hatches and pipelines in order to alert the operator to leak incidents.  EPA has determined that leaking equipment, such as valves, pumps, pipelines and connectors, are the largest source of emissions of oil, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and volatile hazardous air pollutants (VHAPs). The Agency has estimated that approximately 70,367 tons per year of VOCs and 9,357 tons per year of HAPs have been emitted from equipment leaks. 

Leak detection is an essential component of a company’s Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) program.  A company will often set-up an Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Steering Committee to set the directives for an LDAR program. Different technologies are available to detect the leaks depending on the nature of the fluid and equipment. These range from basic material balance techniques to much more complicated systems. 

LDAR programs are a framework to drive continuous improvement, ensure regulatory compliance and reduce operational risk. Business units must meet the minimum standards for LDAR performance set within company policies.

The basic goals of LDAR systems are cost savings, worker and community safety, and environmental protection. The implementation of leak detection and repair systems has enabled petroleum refineries to reduce their emissions and has helped chemical facilities reduce VOC emissions. According to the estimates provided by the Environmental Protection Agency, a leak detection and repair system saves USD 730,000 per year. Thus, the need to reduce harmful gas leaks has increased the demand for leak detection and repair in recent days.

Siemens Data Driven Leak Detection White Paper

Examples of Operators Leak detection (LDAR) program

Operators of oil & gas pipelines and facilities have formal leak detection and repair procedures.  The following are examples of LDAR programs by major oil & gas Operators that include pipelines, facilities and wells. The Operators programs include oil leaks & Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and volatile hazardous air pollutants (VHAPs).

EOG Resources, Inc.

EOG engages in the exploration, development, production and marketing of crude oil and natural gas. It operates through the United States, Trinidad, and Other International segments. The company was founded in 1985 and is headquartered in Houston, TX.

EOG continued to build upon the success of our voluntary, company-wide leak detection and repair program by conducting LDAR inspections across the company, which consisted of OGI inspections and/or AVO inspections. While certain EOG production locations are subject to LDAR programs mandated by state and/or federal regulations, our voluntary program goes further and provides operational procedures for detecting and repairing emissions leaks at facilities not covered by state or federal requirements. Additionally, EOG utilizes our own information technology system applications to capture LDAR data electronically, including a mobile application to capture data directly from our field locations. 

These applications improve the accuracy of our data, identify trends, eliminate paper processes and allow timely repairs throughout our LDAR program. EOG’s program consists of: 

  • Monitoring components – We monitor emissions from components such as pipelines connectors, pressure relief valves, controllers and tank thief hatches 
  • Monitoring-frequency guidelines – These guidelines take into account activity levels at our facilities and other factors that may affect emissions 
  • Identification and repair of leaks – We have protocols for the identification and timely repair of detected leaks and the re-inspection of repaired components at specified time periods 
  • OGI technology – A substantial part of the monitoring under our LDAR program is conducted through the use of infrared cameras and other thermal imaging technology 
  • AVO inspections – We also utilize audio, visual and olfactory inspections to identify and manage emissions as part of field and facility visits 
  • Documentation, review and retention – Our LDAR program includes requirements with respect to record maintenance and retention.

Pioneer Natural Resources Company

Pioneer is an American energy company engaged in hydrocarbon exploration in the Cline Shale, which is part of the Spraberry Trend of the Permian Basin, where the company is the largest acreage holder. The company is organized in Delaware and headquartered in Irving, Texas.

Pioneer leak detection program employs a team of thermographers who use OGI cameras to conduct surveys at our facilities, such as well sites, tank batteries, compressor stations, pipelines and midstream locations. In 2019, we performed more than 10,500 surveys using OGI, AVO and aerial technologies at Pioneer wellheads, tank batteries, compressor stations and pipelines. 

Pioneer voluntary LDAR program utilizes advanced approaches to monitoring methane emissions. While our voluntary LDAR program targets methane detection, it also allows us to minimize emissions of other components of natural gas such as VOCs, H2S and oil. The program evaluates novel technologies to mitigate emissions in our operations. These technologies supplement the current LDAR program by detecting methane leaks and allowing our thermographers and maintenance employees to efficiently locate and mitigate the emissions.

Our leak detection and repair (LDAR) program, including our use of full-field aerial detection surveys, exceeds state and federal regulatory requirements. We continue to partner with regulatory agencies, academia and non-governmental organizations to develop technologies and operational best practices to limit emissions of all types. 

XTO Energy

XTO knows the X’s and O’s of a successful oil and gas strategy. The oil and gas exploration and production company buys and develops mostly long-lived producing properties to produce oil and gas (including extracting natural gas and from US shale and other tight formations); it also develops unproved reserves. The company’s assets are mainly in Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, and the Rockies; it also has assets in Appalachia. A subsidiary of Exxon Mobil since 2010, XTO Energy owns interests in about 40,000 producing oil and natural gas wells across the US. 

XTO leak detection program ensure our pipelines are well-maintained and operated safely, we developed a comprehensive Integrity Management Program that helps us manage our facilities and pipelines safely, reliably and with environmental care.  Our pipelines are regularly tested and maintained using cleaning devices, diagnostic tools and cathodic protection to detect corrosion.

We regularly patrol our pipeline routes on the ground and in the air and closely monitor our operations.  Sophisticated computers, alarms and other technologies are used to control and monitor pipeline systems and are designed to immediately implement protective measures should a leak be detected.

In addition to our prevention efforts, we maintain a strong capability to respond if an incident involving one of our pipelines occurs.  We encourage and appreciate public participation in preventing pipeline accidents through early recognition and reporting of pipeline leaks.

ConocoPhillips

Conoco is a multinational corporation engaged in hydrocarbon exploration. It is based in the Energy Corridor district of Houston, Texas. The company has operations in 17 countries and has production in the United States, Norway, Canada, Australia, Timor-Leste, Indonesia, Malaysia, Libya, China, and Qatar.

In 2020, Conoco leak detection program conducted approximately 7,600 surveys across our assets to detect leaks and quickly repair them. While this is a regulatory requirement in many areas, over 40% of the surveys were done voluntarily. These surveys continue to provide a better understanding of where leaks occur and how we can minimize fugitive emissions.

We comply with federal, state and local regulation of methane detection processes. At many of our locations, especially high rate producing wells and stand-alone compressor stations, we also have a periodic voluntary fugitive monitoring program using optical gas imaging cameras (OGI) to enhance our LDAR. OGI cameras create real-time images of gases or liquids leaking from pipes, vessels, tanks and other types of process equipment. 

OGI surveys are completed at new or modified well sites, and subsequent monitoring surveys are conducted at least annually. We fix leaks as soon as feasible, with many leaks repaired either the same day or within a few days of being detected. We implement engineered solutions and/or operational changes if we identify developing trends of systemic hardware problems. We are also piloting other technologies that potentially provide continuous monitoring capability of facilities.

Devon Energy

Devon operations in the Delaware Basin of southeast New Mexico and west Texas provide both oil and natural gas production from its core acreage position consisting of approximately 400,000 net acres across multiple formations. Horizontal drilling with extended-reach laterals and multi-zone developments are being used to unlock the vast resource that still remains in this historic oil and natural gas field.

To ensure Devon leak detection program compliance with all applicable federal and state laws and regulations, we invest in the latest equipment and deploy well-trained employees and contractors to carry out our emissions-reduction programs. Devon’s environmental work includes an air quality protocol that clearly defines responsibilities and requirements for communications, compliance, recordkeeping and training.

Because programs and metrics are so important to our overall performance, Devon’s Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Steering Committee monitors our performance in the context of an evolving regulatory, legal and stakeholder landscape. The steering committee advises our senior leaders on issues for consideration in enterprise risk management, stakeholder engagement and regulatory and legal compliance.

Another highly engaged group, our cross-functional EHS Council, sets Devon’s emissions reduction strategy and works closely with the ESG Steering Committee and senior leaders to ensure we implement the strategy effectively.

As part of our continuous improvement culture, Devon manages our emissions performance through a variety of mitigation strategies. We’ve steadily expanded our leak detection and repair (LDAR) program, transitioned to air-driven pneumatic controllers and reduced flaring in our highest-activity basin. We’ve also increasingly incorporated engines powered by alternative fuels into our drilling program. Devon is conducting ongoing evaluations into emissions detection and quantification technologies, and we collaborate with industry, environmental nonprofits and agency partners on emissions-reduction strategies. 

Using infrared cameras to detect leaks and confirm the effectiveness of repairs is one of our primary emissions-mitigation tactics. We’ve invested more than $1 million in optical gas imaging (OGI) cameras used to perform frequent equipment inspections to detect leaks across our operating areas. The priority is on facilities with the highest production volumes. By methodically identifying and fixing leaks, we’ve largely resolved our highest-risk issues and reduced our methane emissions over time. Devon has steadily and voluntarily expanded our LDAR program, in part by including valves, pumps and other equipment in our camera surveys. We’ll continue to survey additional facilities that don’t currently have a federal or state regulatory requirement. 

Environmental operators in each Devon business unit focus primarily on conducting infrared camera surveys at our sites and then making sure repairs are successful. LDAR data has allowed us to progressively refine our proactive maintenance programs by identifying the equipment most likely to develop leaks. This has led us to install thief hatches that have a lower leak rate and focus on specific equipment failures and settings. It also enabled us to improve flare maintenance and verify performance of vapor-recovery units. These practices led to improved LDAR outcomes in 2019, including a 40% year-over-year increase in the number of inspections performed throughout our operations. We continue to learn from LDAR data and incorporate best practices in facility design, equipment improvements and preventive maintenance to further reduce emissions from our facilities. For example, we conduct engineering and pre-startup reviews of facilities and take other steps to ensure closed-vent systems and control devices are designed and installed properly.

Siemens Data Driven Leak Detection White Paper

Leak Detection and Repair Program Example

Regulated Item

Component and
Equipment Leaks

Description

Unintentional emissions, or leaks, of gas can occur from
equipment and processes across oil and gas infrastructure.
Typical equipment components where fugitive emissions
can occur are valves, screwed connections, flanges, openended lines and pump seals.

Regulatory Practice / Control

Establish a “leak detection and repair” (LDAR)
program
• Leaks detected should be repaired when possible,
or entered into a system for correction as soon as
practicable (e.g., within 30 days)
• LDAR coverage should be repeated periodically (e.g.,
at least once per year)
• A regulating authority should also consider whether
to:
• Provide exemptions for low producing or
“marginal” wells (e.g., less than 15 BOE per day)
• Develop a specific listing of equipment and
components to be covered

Wellhead Activities (regulatory purpose: minimize flowback venting)

Regulated Item

Completions
of Hydraulically
Fractured Wells

Description

Hydraulic fracturing involves pumping water and proppants (normally sand) into a shale formation in order to
“crack” the rock and release the oil or gas, with the proppants holding open the cracks. After this occurs, the well
is “completed” by allowing the water and excess proppant
to flow back out of the well to clear out the wellbore
for production. During this period, the flowback can be
mixed with natural gas that can vent to the atmosphere if
not controlled.

Regulatory Practice / Control

New hydraulically fractured wells should follow
reduced emissions completion (REC) procedures
• REC separators should be used so the gas can be
routed for separate collection and into sales lines or
other production uses, once conditions allow
• Collected gas can be combusted if other uses are
infeasible, or for safety reasons

Manual Liquids
Unloadings

In gas wells, small amounts of liquids present in the
formation will flow out of the wellbore along with the
gas. Over time, as pressure rates decline, these liquids
will accumulate in the wellbore and eventually impede
the flow of gas out of the well to the sales line. Various
techniques to remove or “unload” the liquids exist. Manual
liquid unloadings involve shutting off the sales line and
diverting the gas to a less pressurized environment, which
allows the formation pressure to carry the liquids out of
the well along with the gas. This practice generally results
in some direct venting of methane into the atmosphere.

Manual liquid unloadings from wells should be monitored by personnel who remain within near proximity
during the process to minimize venting as much as
possible

Operational Equipment Controls (regulatory purpose: minimize excessive venting)

Regulated Item

Regulatory Practice / Control

Description

Pneumatic controllers are valves that are used throughout
industry operations to control pressure, fluid levels,
temperature, flow rate and other processes automatically.
Natural gas powered pneumatic controllers directly
release or “bleed” gas (methane) as part of their intended
functioning. There are generally three types of venting
pneumatic controllers:
• Continuous “high” bleed, that vent constantly;
• Continuous “low” bleed, that vent constantly at a
lower rate; and
• Intermittent vent, that release gas only when
actuating to perform its process control (the timing
of which can vary from hours to months)
No bleed and air-driven controllers also exist, but are not
viable in many applications.
Pneumatic devices can also leak methane due to
equipment malfunction.

Regulatory Practice / Control

Eliminate the use of continuous high bleed
pneumatic (HBP) control devices (except where
process or safety conditions require)
• Replace HBPs on existing facilities
• A regulating authority should consider an
appropriate phase out period given its operational
context (e.g., within 3 years)
• Do not use HBPs on new facilities
• Use no or low bleed devices where technically
feasible
• Use mechanical or electric control where possible
when electricity is available
• Conduct periodic pneumatic controller maintenance
(physical checks), for example when conducing
LDAR program

Pneumatic pumps

Pumps are used to inject chemicals into wells and pipelines to maintain effective operations. Natural gas
driven pumps are used when no electricity is available.

Direct vented gas to vapor recovery unit (VRU) systems with the gas directed to productive usage
onsite (e.g. sales), or to combustion if feasible
• Install electric pumps (including solar electric)

Compressors –
centrifugal

Oil and gas operations rely on pressure in piping to move
the resource through systems. Compressors are used to
create and maintain that pressure.
Centrifugal compressors can have “wet” or oil-based
seals that can result in emissions when the oil sealant
becomes gasified and the gas must be purged to maintain
effectiveness.

When degasifying the seal oil, route the gas to a VRU or to a control device
• Replace wet seals with dry seals where feasible

Compressors –
reciprocating

Reciprocating compressors have piston rods and casings
that emit some gas during normal operation, and can
degrade over time.

Replace piston rod packing components on a regular
basis (e.g., every three years or 26,000 hours of operation, whichever comes first)

Storage Vessels
(Permanent
Stationary Tanks)

Storage vessels are used in many aspects of operations,
for example in storing oil, condensate, or produced
water. These vessels, or tanks, can be isolated or grouped
together in a “tank battery” depending on the operational
context and need for storage of the various products.
Vapor gas from the stored material can be emitted
through the tank pressure relief equipment.

Route gas to a capture system (e.g. a vapor recovery unit or VRU) for beneficial use to achieve at least a
95% reduction in methane emissions, or
• Route gas to a flare or control device to achieve at least a 95% reduction in methane emissions.
• A regulating authority should evaluate the use of VRU technology where gas availability is in sufficient
quantities (and meets sales quality) to sustain VRU operations. VRU evaluations must also assess
process safety constraints as well as available area or region gas takeaway capacity.

Transmission
Pipeline Blowdowns
between
Compressor Stations

Blowdown means the release of gas from a pipeline or section of pipeline that causes a reduction in system
pressure or a complete depressurization. Typically
required to clear and depressurize piping for maintenance
activities.

Route gas to a compressor or capture system for
beneficial use, or
• Route gas to a flare, or
• Route gas to a low-pressure system by taking advantage of existing piping connections between
high- and low-pressure systems, temporarily resetting or bypassing pressure regulators to reduce
system pressure prior to maintenance, or installing
temporary connections between high and lowpressure systems, or
• Utilize hot tapping, a procedure that makes a new pipeline connection while the pipeline remains in service, flowing natural gas under pressure, to avoid
the need to blow down gas.

Incomplete
combustion
(including associated
gas flaring)

Methane emissions can result from the incomplete combustion of natural gas, for example from gas engines or associated gas flaring, with the uncombusted natural
gas being emitted in the exhaust stream.

Optimize engine/turbine combustion efficiency
• Improve combustion efficiency of flares (e.g., change flare tips, install flare ignition systems); consider means to Increase gas utilization versus combustion

Record Keeping and Reporting

Regulated Item

LDAR Program

Record Keeping and Reporting

Document and annually report results of inspections
• Dates of inspections and operations covered
• Number of leaks identified, by component
• Dates of repairs made

Completions
Flowback

Report to agency the anticipated dates of upcoming completions, within two days of each process, to allow opportunity for direct inspection
• Document and report annually the locations, dates, times of completions, and the durations of any venting that occurred during flowback

Manual Liquid
Unloadings

Document and report annually dates, times, durations and estimated volumes of any venting that occurred

Pneumatic
controllers

Document and annually report the type and bleed rates of pneumatic controllers the company has in operation
• Number of high bleed pneumatics and dates they are replaced
• Documentation that the devices are performing properly (not venting when idle)
• Monitor, document and annually report on pneumatic controllers as part of LDAR program

Pneumatic pumps

Monitor, document and annually report on pumps, VRUs and combustion devices as part of LDAR program

Compressors –
centrifuga

Monitor, document and annually report on compressors, wet seals, VRUs and combustion devices as part of LDAR program

Compressors –
reciprocating

Monitor, document and annually report on compressors, seals, rod packing, VRUs and combustion devices as part of LDAR program
• Document and annually report on piston rod packing component replacement according to regulatory schedule (e.g.,
every three years or 26,000 hours of operation)

Storage Vessels
(Tanks)

 Document installation and proper operation of gas capture systems as regulatory required (e.g. a VRU or combustion device) for storage vessels, for beneficial use to achieve at least a 95% reduction in methane emissions, or
• Monitor, document and annually report on storage vessels as part of LDAR program

Transmission
Pipeline Blowdowns
between
Compressor Stations

Document and report annually on the number of blowdown events, as well as the estimated volume of gas emitted from such events

Total Methane
Emissions

Each operator should report annually the total methane emissions from its operated assets

Leak Detection (LDAR) Market 

Leak detection and repair or LDAR is a program that provides a systematic approach for identifying and repairing fugitive emission leaks at oil and gas locations, refineries and chemical facilities.

The global leak detection and repair market size was valued at USD 18.36 billion in 2020 and is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.6% from 2021 to 2028. The promising growth prospects of the market can be attributed to the evolving government regulations on the implementation of leak detection systems among various end-users. 

There has been a proliferation of new technologies to provide leak detection and measurement in recent years. Only an integrated system can overcome the shortcomings of the available technologies. The following section provides an overview of leak detection solutions and a sample of some of the solution vendors in each of the markets.  

AI & IoT Continuous Leak Detection

The leak detection technology landscape is rapidly evolving, with low technology cost becoming a key focus. Currently available methods to detect methane leaks, such as infrared scanners, are cost-prohibitive at scale creating a market for alternative solutions for continuous detection.  

Artificial intelligence, IoT and cloud-based technology revolution is changing the future of leak detection. The benefit of continuous detection is Immediate actions can be taken to repair the leak. The IoT-based approach has broad applicability and is suitable for use with any asset type, including new installations and existing assets.

Siemens Energy Spontaneous Leak Detection Service Powered by ProFlex is a subscription service provided by Siemens Energy for detection of spontaneous leaks in pipelines, gathering systems and offshore risers. The service is based on Siemens Energy IoT architecture and leverages advanced data processing algorithms from our partner ProFlex to identify and localize small leaks within real-time.  With Spontaneous Leak Detection, operators can now detect small leaks within seconds and take corrective actions quicker to minimize product loss and environmental impacts.

Kayrros is the leading advanced data analytics company to help companies, investors and regulators make better decisions in the global energy transition. Kayrros delivers deep insight by integrating satellite and other data across energy, environment, natural resource and industrial markets worldwide.

OptaSense pipeline leak detection system uses multimode leak detector to identify the physical characteristics of a leak, such as changes in temperature, pressure, ground strain and acoustics, in real time.

Handheld Optical Gas Imaging (OGI)  

Optical gas imaging (OGI) is a commonly utilized leak detection method in the upstream and midstream sectors of the U.S. natural gas industry.  Optical gas imaging cameras are a safe gas leak detection method, enabling your personnel to work at a safe distance and avoid safety hazards.

FLIR optical gas imaging (OGI) cameras can help you detect methane, sulfur hexafluoride, and hundreds of other industrial gases quickly, accurately, and safely – without shutting down systems. With FLIR OGI cameras, you can scan broad sections of equipment rapidly and survey areas that are hard to reach with traditional contact measurement tools. OGI cameras can also detect leaks from a safe distance, displaying these invisible gases as clouds of smoke.

Opgal has established itself as a leading player thermal imaging solutions Optical Gas Imaging (OGI) is an innovative thermal imaging technology that utilizes high sensitivity infrared cameras for detecting minute fugitive emissions of industrial gases. Gas leak detection cameras enable the quick and safe detection and visualization of fugitive emissions leaks; thus, you can see and repair leaks quickly, prevent significant damage, and avoid revenue loss while complying with regulatory compliance.

The Sniffers OGI or Optical Gas Imaging is a screening technique using a very sensitive camera able to visualize gas emissions from a leaking source in an installation. This technique allows a quick scan of a large area or a scan of hard-to-reach sources such as non-accessibles, detecting the most important leaking components.

Aerial monitoring

Drones are the latest technology being piloted in the arsenal of leak detection and repair (LDAR) tools, providing real-time identification of leaks and accurate quantification of leaks and process equipment emissions. Drone-based methane monitoring programs have the potential to help our entire industry reduce emissions by providing a better understanding of where leaks occur and at what magnitude. This technology advancement quantifies emissions and allows us to benchmark sites and establish a baseline for reduction efforts.

DJI’s innovative products safely and responsibly, our wholly owned subsidiary Shenzhen Dajiang Baiwang Technology Co., Ltd. is a high-tech manufacturing facility specializing in unmanned aerial vehicles.  Identify leakages quickly and accurately using drones equipped with specialized sensors, keeping personnel safe and enabling timely decision making.

Viper Drones is an innovative Drone Inspection service provider, partnering with market leaders DJI, Elistair, FLIR, My Drone Services and utilizing our own proprietary Viper View technology to deliver world-class solutions and systems.  Viper Drones provides commercial UAV systems featuring high-performance FLIR thermal and optical gas imaging (OGI) cameras. Get aerial inspection in dangerous or hard-to-access areas. Thermal imaging cameras can visualize and pinpoint gas leaks without the need to shut down the operation.

ULC Robotics provides drone-based methane and gas leak detection services that reliably detect, locate and quantify methane leaks. From gas producing wells and gathering lines to transmission and distribution pipelines, we provide actionable data that deliver safety, efficiency and cost benefits to your pipeline leak detection drone programs.  Methane leaks in the natural gas industry present serious risks to communities and the environments surrounding them, and waste valuable natural resources. Our team of pilots work collaboratively with upstream, midstream and downstream gas companies to make gas leak detection safer and more efficient while reducing costs.

Airplanes with mounted sensors fly over facilities to detect leaks based on the relative amount of methane and wind direction and speed. If leaks are suspected, operations personnel take over to verify and fix the leak. The sensors can detect smaller leaks, but their effectiveness can be diminished in areas where other facilities are in close proximity, like the Permian Basin.

Satellite-based detection technology is another large-scale leak detection option, and its effectiveness has improved rapidly. We are currently testing the technology at a range of assets where it works well at detecting larger leaks such as unlit flares, but also has limitations in areas where facilities are in close proximity. Recently launched satellites are showing promise in providing better imaging, detecting smaller leaks, and providing more frequent monitoring of specific facilities.

Audio, Visual and Olfactory (AVO) Program

Audio, Visual, Olfactory inspections are completed by listening, looking and smelling for any leaks on a location.  Audio, Visual and Olfactory (AVO) Program requires each storage vessel, centrifugal compressor and reciprocating compressor affected facilities are required to be inspected and records to be maintained once every calendar month for defects that could result in air emissions. These defects included: visible cracks, holes or gaps in piping/cover or between the cover and the separator wall, loose connections, liquid leaks or broken or missing caps broken, cracked or otherwise damaged seals or gaskets on closure devices, as well as broken or missing hatches, access covers or other closure devices.

Environmental Science and Engineering Partners (ESE) is an environmental consulting firm focused on responsibly moving business forward through environmental problem solving. ESE is headquartered in Houston, Texas with offices in Dallas-Fort Worth, Austin and San Antonio. ESE developed an inspection and monitoring checklist specific to the company’s production and maintenance operations, as well as environmental/regulatory needs.

Gas Ops Leak Detectives, is a Colorado-based, family owned and operated company that specializes in leak detection and repair (LDAR) for regulation compliance and 3rd party LDAR inspections. G.O.L.D. LLC ® uses infrared cameras specially designed for the Petrochemical and Gas & Oil market requirements for gas detection. Each technician has been trained and are ITC Certified Optical Gas Imaging Specialists.

SCS Engineers Leak Detection and Repair (LDAR) program help our clients to detect and locate leaks in chemical, oil, and natural gas facilities before they become problematic, costly, and potential health hazards. SCS has teamed with LDAR tools to provide preeminent equipment that works across multiple data management platforms.

Conclusion 

North America has seen a huge increase in oil & gas production as a result of horizontal drilling and fracking in shale plays.  This has resulted in the construction of oil & gas wells, pipelines, tanks and compressors to process the production of the oil & gas.  Operators are setting up Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Steering Committees to set the directives for an LDAR program. The leak detection and repair programs are designed to reduce the risk of oil spills and volatile organic compounds (VOC), natural gas liquids (NGLs) and hazardous air pollutants (HAP). 

This has created a global leak detection and repair market valued at USD 18.36 billion in 2020 and is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.6% from 2021 to 2028.  In order to deploy an effective LDAR program companies must take and integrated approach of technologies and process to address the complex environmental concerns. 

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