A reliable and high performance novel method of Flame and Gas Optical Spectral Analysis (line of sight) was developed to meet the specific flame and gas detection needs of the petrochemical industry.

Petrochemical industries, especially the offshore and unmanned (unattended) areas in onshore refineries, pose a major safety hazard with respect to potential explosions and fire events. Unwanted fuel spills or fugitive flammable vapour clouds, migrating along congested pipe lines and hot production areas may cause upon ignition significant loss or damage. To help prevent events like the catastrophic fire that destroyed the offshore oil platform Piper Alpha in July 1988, a reliable and fast gas and flame detection system can be used to trigger effective risk management actions.

The present paper describes a patented method of Triple Optical Spectral Analysis employed for the detection of various gases in the air according to their unique "spectral finger print" absorption characteristics of radiation, as well as for analysis of emission and absorption radiation from combustion processes (hot CO2) for flame detection purpose.

The method has been applied in the development of unique gas and flame monitoring systems designed for "high risk - harsh/extreme weather conditions continuous operation" - These systems have been recently installed on several offshore platforms and oil rigs as well as on "Floating Production Storage and Offloading" - FPSO vessels.

The systems advantages and limitations as well as several installations and test data are presented. Various atmospheric conditions (direct and reflected sunlight, fog, rain, hail, snow) as well as false alarm stimulus (from radiation sources, flare stack, black body radiation, smoke, CO2 and atmospheric gases) are discussed.

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