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Detecting gas in Zone 1 & Zone 2 hazardous areas

Author : Thorne & Derrick

14 August 2020

T&D, the specialist distributor of Gas Detection, Detectors & Monitoring Equipment for use in hazardous area industries, provides the following overview of Crowcon Gas Detectors suitable for the oil and gas industry.

We begin by generally reviewing the 3 stages of the oil and gas process and focusing on the specific gas risks.

4 types of Crowcon gas detectors often deployed in Zone 1 and Zone 2 hazardous areas (ATEX) forming their hazardous area gas detector range for the detection and monitoring of flammable or toxic gases are highlighted for each of the 3 sectors.

Upstream industry – discovers and produces crude oil and natural gas and is commonly referred to as the exploration and production (E&P) sector.

Midstream industry – processes, stores, markets and transports commodities such as crude oil, natural gas, natural gas liquids (NGLs, ethane, propane and butane) and sulphur. The midstream oil and gas sector provides the vital link between often remote petroleum producing areas and the population centres where most consumers are situated. Transmission pipeline companies are a key part of the midstream petroleum industry.

Downstream industry – oil refineries, petrochemical plants, petroleum products distributors, retail outlets and natural gas distribution companies. The downstream oil and gas industry connects consumers providing thousands of products such as gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, heating oil, asphalt, lubricants, synthetic rubber, plastics, fertilizers, antifreeze, pesticides, pharmaceuticals, natural gas and propane.

Hazardous area gas detectors

1. Gas detection for upstream oil & gas

The upstream sector includes exploration and drilling for potential oil and gas fields, followed by the recovery and production of crude oil and natural gas if it is viable. Gas hazards in the upstream sector are compounded by the very harshest of environments providing challenges for the reliable detection of harmful gases.

Enhanced oil recovery (EOR) technologies and unconventional methods are allowing access to new geographic areas, as well as improving the level of recoverable resources within known reservoirs.

Fixed and portable gas detectors are required to protect plant and personnel from the risks of flammable gas releases (commonly methane gas detection) as well as high levels of hydrogen sulphide particularly from sour wells. Oxygen depletion, sulphur dioxide and volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) are also among the most common gas risks.

2. Gas detection for midstream oil & gas

The main components of the midstream process are transportation and storage. Raw products are held in storage areas until ready for the next process or to be transported to a refinery.

Maintaining the integrity of storage and transportation vessels as well as protecting personnel during cleaning, purging and filling activities are a constant challenge within the midstream sector.

Fixed monitoring of flammable gases situated close to pressure relief devices, filling and emptying areas deliver early warning of localised leaks. Multigas portable monitors maintain personal safety especially during confined space work as well as supporting hot work permit area testing.

Infrared technology supports purging with the ability to operate in inert atmospheres, and delivers reliable detection in areas where pellistor type detectors would fail due to poisoning or volume level exposure.

Portable laser methane detection allows leak location at distance for hard to reach areas, reducing the need for personnel to enter potentially dangerous environments or situations while performing routine or investigative leak monitoring.

3. Gas detection for downstream oil & gas

The downstream sector refers to the refining and processing of raw natural gas and crude oil, and subsequently distribution and sale of the products derived from this. Such products can include jet fuel, diesel fuel, asphalt and petroleum coke.

The desire to reduce energy consumption, increasing operational efficiency, has driven device manufacturers to innovate both detection principals and the way in which power is used. Gas detectors employ state-of-the-art technologies to deliver industry leading power consumption per device.

The volume of personnel on plant and high number of toxic and flammable gases used and manufactured increase the potential hazards. Some risks can be mitigated by ensuring rugged and reliable portable gas detectors and monitors are used, that are well suited to individual on-site requirements. Fleet management tools such as bump test stations deliver exceptional reporting to track site compliance and calibration status.

The ongoing demand to reduce facility down-time whilst ensuring safety, especially during shutdown and turnaround operations, ensures that gas detection manufacturers must deliver solutions offering ease of use, simple training, reduced maintenance times with local service and support.

Flame, heat, gas detectors & detection systems

Hazardous area industries including offshore oil/gas platforms and FPSOs, onshore oil refineries, processing plants, pipelines, storage farms and LPG/LNG plants all utilise or produce a wide range of hazardous flammable liquids and gases that can be detected using correctly specified flame and gas detectors.

Detecting toxic and flammable gases requires the detectors to be classified and certified according to the specific IECEx or ATEX standard – we distribute flame and fire detectors manufactured by Spectrex to operate in the harshest environmental conditions including self-contained stand-alone devices designed for direct connection to control and alarm systems or automatic fire extinguishing systems.

Our range of Hazardous Area Fire & Gas Detection System products also includes Explosion Proof Warning Systems & Hazardous Area Lighting – comprehensive range of intrinsically safe, flameproof and explosion proof alarm sounders, sirens, bells and horns, loudspeakers and beacons.

For more information, visit: https://www.heatingandprocess.com/gas-detection-zone1-zone2-hazardous-area/


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