DNV GL helps industry get ahead in offshore leak detection

Major oil spills can destroy lives, damage the environment and reduce public tolerance of hydrocarbon leaks even further.

The difference between a major environmental incident and a less damaging oil spill can rest on how quickly a hydrocarbon leak is detected.  DNV GL has now launched the first globally applicable guidance for leak detection systems for offshore fields.

The challenge for oil and gas operators is to have a leak detection system that is reliable and capable of detecting leaks within an acceptable level of certainty and which meets regulatory requirements. Hydrocarbon leak detection systems are required on both the Norwegian and UK Continental Shelves, and authorities around the world are increasingly demanding systems be installed for new field developments.

The Recommended Practice (DNVGL-RP-F302) is based on the findings of a DNV GL led joint industry project (JIP) completed in 2015 with 19 companies, including Eni, Lundin, Petrobras and FMC technologies, and industry regulators as observers. It covers all the lifecycle phases of a field development for successful planning, design, integration and operation of leak detection technology in offshore hydrocarbon productions. A thorough process has been defined where the key stages are functional requirements, design requirements, technology selection, detailed design, function testing and operation.

“Until now, there has been no guidance for operators covering selection and operation of offshore leak detection systems for an entire field, including both subsea and surface. Having an optimized leak detection system provides key decision support in limiting the impact of an oil spill, reducing response time and reducing costs from recovery operations,” says Jock Brown, Head of Section Environmental Technology Advisory, DNV GL – Oil & Gas.  This RP is based on industry experience and provides a robust approach that will support the industry in reducing its footprint and minimizing environmental risks from their operations,” adds Brown.

The RP defines reasonable specifications, requirements, and guidance on how different technologies can be integrated into a system that is practical for the end user.