Detecting electrical and mechanical hotspots when working offshore

Published:  16 September, 2014

Dräger Marine & Offshore, part of the Dräger Group, believes its thermal imaging technology is helping to improve asset integrity management for offshore oil and gas operators.

Its offshore benefits were initially discovered by Denmark-based Dräger Safety Account Manager, Peter Sonne, during a visit to an international oil giant.

‘The discovery was made during a meeting at a customer site last year when I used a thermal imaging device to detect the fill level of a tank. Together we realised there was potential for using this kind of device in difficult-to-reach and hazardous locations offshore, and the customer therefore placed an order.

‘Since then, the customer has seen substantial benefits in applying Dräger’s technology on its North Sea oil platforms. The equipment is being used to detect potential overheated connections, fire or loose connections in electrical installations, and issues can be identified early to prevent costly downtime and save companies substantial amounts of money,’ said Peter, adding that the first order was placed six months ago.

Thermal imagers are currently being used to detect hotspots prior to maintenance and repair work offshore, providing oil operators with a quick and easy solution to check for potential problems before implementation of a repair or strengthening plan, which can lead to reduced downtime.

The cameras rely on heat signatures and can see in darkness, fog or smoke and even minor temperature differences are visible due to a difference in thermal characteristics. The camera is capable of capturing video and photographs of displayed thermal images, which can also be downloaded for review.

Dräger’s thermal imaging cameras are also Atex-approved, which means they can be used in explosive environments – extremely useful in a hazardous area such as an oil platform.

Phil Saxton, general manager for Dräger Marine & Offshore Aberdeen, said: ‘It’s 25 years since the world’s worst offshore oil disaster, Piper Alpha, and while lessons have been learned, Dräger is going one step further with its preventative measures to ensure continuous improvement in offshore safety standards.

‘Sometimes hotspots are not immediately apparent to the naked eye, the planning and execution of maintenance work can be highly targeted through identifying such areas of concern.’

  • Operation Florian

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