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 facility equipment often experiences, flanges are subject to a variety of defects, such as corrosion, scratching, gouging, pitting, or denting. These defects can lead to flange leaks 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, leak detection “pigs” with a measuring microphone and recording electronics are now often deployed. These pigs flow through the pipeline together with the product in order to detect any noise from an escaping medium. Not only is this procedure costly, but in the context of leakage detection only represents a momentary recording.
Therefore, the following paper describes a technology-based procedure of a real-time and low-cost hydrocarbon leak detection for critical flanges. This smart leak detection consists of an innovative hydrocarbon detection sensor that is placed within the flange gap and a device that connects to the sensor. The device then uploads the measured signals to a user application. In case of a leakage, the user will be warned through a notification message. This allows cost-effective, real-time monitoring for critical flanges in the early stage to prevent leakages before a medium can escape into the environment.