20 May 2016

High-tech camera used in methane detection programme

Starting from an already very high level, DEA Deutsche Erdoel AG is working on operational improvements at its sites in Lower Saxony to constantly optimize working and safety conditions.

Recently a new highly sophisticated camera system was imported from the U.S. which allows detecting methane leaks of microscopic scale. The special camera system can visualise methane leaks as streaks on a monitor. The operation is similar to a thermal imaging camera and detects infrared radiation in the VOC - wavelength range (3.2 to 3.4 microns). Before starting a methane leak detection campaign, the camera system must be cooled down to minus 200 degrees. In systematic detection process takes some time in order to analyse the proper function of valves, seals, and pipeline welding seams. The methane detection programme is accompanied by corresponding research activities. So far, the number of microscopic leaks has come down to nil. This trend is in accordance with operational expectations: the longer the camera is in use, the fewer micro-leaks are detected. All sites are surveyed twice a year according to newly introduced procedures and documentation requirements in order to reduce any emissions to an absolute minimum.