Reducing Emissions at Oil and Gas Facilities with Infrared Imaging
The drive to reduce emissions in oil and gas operations and industrial facilities has led to the expanding use of infrared imaging to “see” gases such as methane that are invisible to the human eye. Though unseen, infrared radiation can be felt as heat. Objects and substances emit infrared radiation that can be detected by special sensors. Forward-Looking Infrared (FLIR) makes use of this principle to create an images. The potential applications for infrared imaging are many and varied. FLIR is being used to investigate natural phenomena of all kind, improve medical diagnostic tools, and reveal hidden behaviors of materials. FLIR cameras are being used in the field to detect hydrocarbon gas that could be leaking from piping or equipment.
HARC’s Environmentally Friendly Drilling Program is using FLIR technology to study emissions at oil and gas facilities. Optical Gas Imaging (OGI) using FLIR cameras can create infrared images of unseen hydrocarbon gases, including methane. EPA regulations recognize FLIR OGI as an effective means of leak detection. The use of OGI enables facility operators to find and repair leaks, reduce emissions, recover product, and enhance safety. FLIR video of gas plume movement reveals even small leaks.
Training is required in order to properly use FLIR technology and understand the images that are created. HARC Research Scientist Carolyn LaFleur has completed this training and is certified in the use of Optical Gas Imaging Thermography.