Thursday, April 24, 2014
Matt Calhoun, Air Consulting
With the purchase of its new optical gas imaging (OGI) camera, Olsson Associates is now able to better assist those in the oil and gas industry in complying with new Colorado Air Quality Control Commission (AQCC) regulations for hydrocarbon emissions.
With more than 50,000 oil and gas wells in the Colorado area, oil and gas clients can greatly benefit from the use of an OGI camera. It's an efficient way to identify and repair emission leaks, as it can detect the leaks more quickly and can provide video documentation for operators to use when making repairs.
In February, the AQCC adopted stricter air pollution regulations for the oil and gas industry. Colorado became the first state to directly regulate all hydrocarbon emissions, including methane, from oil and gas production facilities and compressor stations. One of the new regulatory provisions establishes requirements for storage tank emission management plans, as well as for leak detection and repair (LDAR) programs for oil and gas facilities upstream of natural gas processing plants, which includes compressor stations and well production facilities.
OGI technology can also confirm that leaks have been repaired. While Method 21 devices, such as a “sniffer” or other devices, can be used for inspections, an OGI camera has several benefits. During an inspection, a facility may have hundreds or even thousands of components that need to be examined for leaks. Method 21 devices must be physically placed near each of these components to accurately detect leaks.
By contrast, an OGI camera uses a special filter to detect energy with a wavelength between three and four micrometers. This wavelength includes a range of hydrocarbon gases that absorb energy. An OGI camera detects leaks in any area viewed by the camera, eliminating the need to be physically next to the component. This allows for simultaneous monitoring of multiple components, and, therefore, inspections are easier for difficult-to-monitor components. As a result, time spent inspecting a facility and identifying leaks is greatly reduced compared to other monitoring devices.
In addition, the OGI camera functions like a traditional video camera. Other detection devices can only utilize tags and descriptions to repair leaks, but OGI cameras record the images necessary to easily return onsite to identify and repair hydrocarbon leaks. The OGI camera is also currently the easiest and most efficient way to implement LDAR and Storage Tank Emission Management (STEM) plans.
Olsson’s purchase of the OGI camera is part of its expanded staffing and technical capabilities to further the oil and gas industry’s compliance. Olsson has experienced staff members who have been trained and certified to use the FLIR GF320/300 OGI camera.
Call the Air Consulting team at 303.237.2072 for questions about using OGI technology to achieve and maintain regulatory compliance, as well as to prevent product loss through leakage.