Core operation revolves around natural gas and natural gas liquids production from shale formations in the Appalachian Basin. Many of their production sites are located far away from the local headquarters where the control center is situated. These sites operate on a skeletal crew or sometimes unmanned at all. A cost effective way to remotely monitor for fugitive methane emissions at specific points of the facility such as gas separation units is desired. Although this particular well site already has open path gas detectors deployed, there are no fixed point monitors. A fixed point gas detector would perform the essential job of localized monitoring of leak prone assets. However, since fixed point gas detectors are typically wired due to its power hungry operation, it would be very costly and time consuming to run additional conduit for power and signal for this remote facility. Design, trenching, testing and documenting of new conduits can also negatively affect project schedules. A battery-powered fixed point gas detector that can communicate data wirelessly back to a controller would be ideal.
The customer has a WirelessHart network established onsite through the ROC800 Remote Terminal Unit (RTU). Integrating with the mesh network, the nowires, battery-powered (5 years), Vanguard fixed point methane detectors were mounted as close as possible to valves on the gas separation units as well as 4 feet above ground to provide immediate detection of lighterthan-air methane leakages. Physical deployment constraints due to wiring were now drastically reduced, as with cost and time because of the Vanguard. Installing and commissioning the Vanguard was easy, rapid and completed in a day. The Vanguard units were interoperable with other WirelessHart enabled devices and connected to the ROC800 within minutes, providing an instant monitoring point. A controlled release of natural gas from a valve was detected accurately by the Vanguard within 30 seconds. The customer can now economically track for fugitive emissions down to the component level from the control center located a distance away.
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