• Published: 13 Nov 2015
  • Incident ID: 3875

Discharge flange connection from high pressure gas compressor - Safety Moment

Cause & Consequence

  • Release of a harmful substance

Contributing Factor

  • Commitment
  • Culture

Description of Process

During an infra-red camera survey on a gas compressor, it was discovered that a small leak was coming from the high pressure discharge flange.

Description of Incident

An inspection crew was conducting a proactive inspection of a gas export system using an infrared camera which looks for very small leaks (fugitive emissions). A small leak was observed around the flange using an infra red camera. A gas meter was applied and readings confirmed >20% LEL (Lower Explosive Limit) mix of gas and air at 0.5m from the leak point. It was decided there was a risk of this escalating to a larger, more hazardous leak.

A LEAK Aware tag was added to the flange. An immediate decision was taken to shut down the gas compressor. The leak was repaired and the unit was safety returned to service after testing.

Good Practice Guidance

Hydrocarbon releases from mechanical joints can be a symptom of corrosion, degradation of seals, vibration or incorrect design, fabrication or assembly. They usually become worse with time, so maintenance, a leak detection and reduction plan can lead to early discovery of potential threats to safety and production. This allows us to: check the condition of seals and joints, plan repairs and avoid dangerous releases from developing. A formal area inspection procedure (where the team may smell, see or hear leaks) can also lead o proactive detection.

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