Ensuring the safe operation of flanges is critical to the integrity of piping systems in the oil and gas industry. Given the intense conditions that process equipment often experiences, flanges are subject to a variety of defect mechanisms, such as corrosion, scratching, gouging, pitting, or denting. These defects can lead to flange leakages that pose a hazard for both machinery and for facility personnel, waste costly resources or lead to an unplanned shutdown in the case of severe leaks.
In order to detect leaks as early as possible, various leak detection systems including both hardware and software-based methods or biological based detection methods are being utilized by operators of the oil and gas industry. Most of the methods don’t fulfil all criteria such as cost efficiency, sensitivity, continuous and ease of use and operation at the same time.
Therefore, the following paper describes a technology-based procedure of a real-time hydrocarbon leak detection for critical flanges. This smart leak detection system consists of an innovative hydrocarbon detection sensor placed non-intrusively within the flange gap, a secondary containment and a device that connects to the sensor. The device uploads the measured signals to a cloud-based platform. In case of a leakage, the user will be informed through a notification message in a user application. This allows real-time monitoring of critical flanges to create an additional level of safety by contributing to the detection of leakages before the medium can escape into the environment and cause major damage.