Industry Targets Improved Offshore Leak Detection

Posted by Michelle Howard
Tuesday, March 18, 2014
Christian Markussen

Leak detection is a considerable challenge facing the industry, and DNV GL has therefore taken the lead in establishing a new Joint Industry Project (JIP). Twenty key industry players are partnering to develop a best practice for designing and implementing offshore leak detection systems.

Over the last few years, following several oil releases, there has been an increasing focus by both operators and authorities on the environmental impact related to offshore oil and gas activities. This is especially an issue that needs to be addressed now since society’s tolerance for leaks is dropping and we are moving into the Arctic and other environmentally sensitive areas. Hydrocarbon leak detection systems are a requirement on the Norwegian Continental Shelf but authorities around the world are also increasingly demanding such systems for new field developments.

There are various leak detection sensors available but they all have limited coverage and application areas. Some sensors will only detect gas, some cover a small area with high sensitivity while others cover a large area with low sensitivity. The challenge is to integrate these into a complete system that provides the required coverage and sensitivity while at the same time avoiding frequent false alarms.

In addition, leak detection methods and techniques have been available in the market for several years, but there are still gaps to be closed concerning the design, engineering, commissioning and operation of these systems to ensure their proper performance.

The industry is coming together to find the right solutions

Twenty companies and regulators are participating in DNV GL’s Joint Industry Project (JIP) on Offshore Leak Detection.

According to one of the partners, Lundin Norway, there is a great need to further develop these systems. “Today, it’s difficult to get a good system with a demonstrated track record that covers an entire field, both subsea and on the surface. There’s a strong need for a common approach so that the operators and suppliers can jointly improve these systems. We also need to define reasonable specifications and requirements. It’s equally important to consider how different technologies can be integrated into a system that is practical for the end user,” says Arnljot Skogvang Company Rep at Lundin.

DNV GL’s Business Development Manager for Subsea, Christian Markussen, said, “I’m really glad to see the great participation from key industry players, but the JIP would benefit from having even more operators, integrators and subsea suppliers.”

The Joint Industry Project is aiming high

Markussen explains that the overall aim is to ensure safe and environmentally sound operations by limiting hydrocarbon spills through detecting acute discharges, with a high level of certainty, at the earliest possible stage. A planned outcome will be a DNV GL Recommended Practice that addresses the leak detection system through all the lifecycle phases of offshore development projects. The project will define relevant functional requirements and general specifications for a leak detection system as well as developing a methodology for designing an integrated system, including surface and subsea technologies.

DNV GL is facilitating this JIP, combining industry experience with the competencies and expertise of the Subsea Technology and Environmental Risk Assessment & Technology sections at the DNV GL Oil & Gas office at Høvik, Norway.

Operators: Lundin, BP, ENI, Petrobras and GDF Suez
Integrators:  FMC Technologies
Suppliers: NAXYS, Biota Guard, SonarDyne, VisSim, Stinger, Phase, Kongsberg, Norbit, Contros, Metas and KSAT
Observers: Norwegian Oil & Gas, Norwegian Ministry of Climate and Environment and the Petroleum Safety Authority Norway


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