Non-invasive inspection of oil and gas separators

02 March 2020

An optical gas imager from FLIR Systems is said to be safely and efficiently enabling oil and gas producers to undertake routine, non-invasive inspections in their oil and gas separators.

Separators are pressure vessels designed to separate a well stream into gaseous and liquid components. During this process, sand can build up in the heating element, causing damage to the separator. If this build-up is not noticed and promptly removed, it can result in the emission of flammable gases, costly repairs or catastrophic failure. Traditionally, oil and gas separators have been inspected by hand or cleaned out on a routine basis without evaluation.  While this process provides basic maintenance, it does not provide the early detection required to identify mechanical or safety issues. 

A variety of devices can be used to inspect oil and gas separators to verify tank pressures and liquid levels however, use of thermal imagers are one of the safest and most efficient solutions. The FLIR GFx320 optical gas imager can be used to visualise natural gas leaks and sand levels as the camera shows changes in temperature from sand versus oil, gas, and water. 

The GFx320 is certified for use in Class 1: Division 2 or Zone 2 locations, allowing the user to get close to the unit for a thorough, but non-invasive inspection.

The use of the GFx320 for routine inspection of oil and gas separators is allowing tank pressures and liquid levels to be verified. In addition, it can also detect leaks from the separator, resolve anomalies to restore compliance, avoid adverse environmental impact, and prevent safety risks to equipment or personnel.

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