Gas leak detection missed by PI

Automated alerting to an operations team that were unaware of a small loss of primary containment

Gas leak detection missed by PI

Automated alerting to an operations team that were unaware of a small loss of primary containment

Overview

Ingenuity’s subscription-based alerts systems triggered an operations team to investigate a fault on a gas detector that a polling approach by PI had missed.

Customer Case Study – Lundin

Problem: Manual trend analysis on almost 500 gas detectors

Loss of primary containment is one of the highest risks faced by an offshore facility and whilst large leaks are quickly detected and addressed, smaller leaks may escape detection and intervention.

A typical offshore facility may have several hundred gas detectors, with most connected up to control systems that record activity.  Every leak must be reported to the regulator, however minor.

Our client was using PI to track the history of gas leaks manually across hundreds of detectors, poring over spreadsheets to infer trends and spot anomalies.

Solution: Enabling conscious competence

Just a few weeks after installation, Ingenuity issued an alert to the operational team that gas was leaking in a part of the facility.  Ingenuity’s sunburst visualization clearly showed the event, its time, duration and the peak it had hit.

The team checked PI which showed no such event.

On checking the physical control system to see the raw data however, the team saw that there had been a small and short loss of primary containment.  After securing the area, the team investigated why PI had not picked up the gas leak.

It concluded that the gas leak had lasted less than sixty seconds and PI had missed the leak Ingenuity had picked up.

But how many others had been missed?

Impact: Restoring control, automating alerts and trend analysis

The operations team made adjustments to PI to avoid similar incidents but what this had highlighted was a risk associated with polling safety critical data every minute or so, rather than using a subscriptions-based approach like Ingenuity, that triggers an alert when a threshold is reached. 

Ingenuity helped the client move to more proactive safety management, supported by its comprehensive automated trend-building and alerts.  These sunburst plots give the client immediate visualisation of how all ~500 gas detectors are operating and where, if any, closer inspection is required.

This case study also demonstrates the benefit of taking raw data direct from the equipment’s control system not via another data store like PI or a data lake, both of which would have ‘lost’ the crucial gas leak data, perhaps masking an emerging problem for the facility.

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