To enable accurate assessments to be made of the environmental impact of exploration and production operations, it is necessary to be able to accurately monitor the emission of various contaminants from operational installations. Monitoring of atmospheric emissions has proved difficult with conventional technology. A new measurement system is described which makes use of an array of open-path infra-red absorption sensors to measure the distribution of hydrocarbons in the atmosphere on and around an installation. The system has been developed from earlier work on flammable gas detection, but much higher sensitivities are achieved by using a novel signal-processing scheme. The measurement system is described and results of trials at an operational installation are presented.

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