TOTAL, ONERA - The French Aerospace Lab - and ADCIS companies are undertaking a multiyear R&D collaborative project to develop remote sensing technologies and methodologies for gas leak detection, visualization and quantification. The history of gas leak incidents in the Oil and Gas Industry has shown the need for efficient and accurate tools for quantifying the gas leak rate and the extent of the hazardous areas to manage efficiently an emergency situation. Besides, detection and measurement of gaseous hydrocarbon emissions in industrial facilities is a must for obvious environmental reasons. The current generation of infrared imagers detects the presence of gas in the atmosphere but needs improvement for accurate estimation of the size of the gas leak.

In this context, a test campaign held on September 2015 in TOTAL’s Lacq Pilot platform in France was organised to determine if infrared multispectral or hyperspectral imaging could provide reliable and quantitative data in the event of a release in the range of 1g/s to 50g/s of methane.

Several gas spectral imaging systems were installed to observe a methane emission point:

  1. hyperspectral cameras in Long-Wavelength InfraRed (LWIR) (7.7-12µm);

  2. multispectral cameras in Medium-Wavelength InfraRed (MWIR) (1.5-5.5µm; 3.2-3.4µm and 3-5µm);

  3. multispectral cameras in LWIR (8-9.6µm);

  4. one Spectro-Radiometer system in MWIR/LWIR (3µm-14µm).

The performance of infrared imagers in different wavelengths has been compared for methane emissions. A set of algorithms and software has been developed and successfully tested to measure, compute and visualize in real time a methane plume from the infrared imagers, and with reasonable accuracy for the methane emissions of 1 and 10g/s. For the 50g/s flowrate, quantifications have been under-estimated with this methodology. Further works should allow improving the accuracy of these quantification methodologies. The gas imagers enable to visualize and quantify in real time and in 3D a methane plume.

This technology could be applied in different ranges of gas leak flowrates (small leaks in environmental monitoring, medium size leaks in safety monitoring, and major leaks in crisis management). The objective over time is to qualify a system that would economically complement the plant gas detection system and bring valuable information should a gas leak incident happen.

You can access this article if you purchase or spend a download.