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Eroded pipeline, Deadly toxic gas and time running out. An application story.

Industry: Midstream
Products: Vanguard Hydrogen Sulfide Detector
Application: Temporary worksite monitoring of pipeline maintenance
Company: The upstream business of a major oil & gas producer

The customer is a major oil & gas producer with upstream business all over the world. They engage in intense exploration campaigns with a 38% success rate. This exploration and production activity is their main growth driver and they have become a world leader in exploration, with 40 finds since 2008, leading to a net increase of production. They use pipelines to move product from the wellhead to processing facilities.

A rare event happened which caused the soil around a transport pipeline to erode, exposing a section of the pipeline. This created several challenges not only to the transport of product, but extending to environmental and societal factors. This is because the pipeline was transporting product containing Hydrogen Sulfide (H2S), a deadly toxic gas. The customer immediately took action to fix the issue, but in the meantime, needed to monitor around the exposed section of pipe for leaks of H2S. This was not only to protect the workers, but the nearby residents who were alarmed by the exposed pipe carrying potentially hazardous materials. As a temporary worksite in a remote location, running conduit to fixed monitors at the site would have extended the timeline to getting the situation fixed and burying the pipeline to a safe depth. By the time the detectors were installed, the problem could have been fixed.


After learning about the Vanguard WirelessHART gas detector with true wireless operation through white papers, the area’s Maintenance Measurement/Automation Coordinator immediately saw the potential to solve their problem. Given the ability to immensely shorten the time from receipt to operation of the detectors, the project to fix the exposed pipeline and ease the concerns of the nearby residents was able to move forward, and get the producer back to safe operation quickly.

The Vanguard units in action were working “quite well” performing all necessary operation and living up to the solution potential. Success rarely stays a secret and soon the potential of this unique, new solution quickly spread within the company. This led to another order for additional Vanguard detectors through the Senior Tradesman in their Maintenance Department for a separate installation.

Written by: Andrew Liptak- Gas Detection Product Manger at United Electric Controls


andrew liptak

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