Pressure continues throughout the World against fossil fuels; in the case of natural gas, it is the fear of methane emissions, a major component in natural gas and a greenhouse gas (GHG) as a contributor to climate change. Natural gas companies are under constant scrutiny to reduce methane emissions from the wellhead through gas gathering, processing, transmission, distribution and up through and including the customer burner tip. The issue is two-fold, as methane emissions through leaks and other operational processes create concerns for public safety in addition to lost and unaccounted-for revenue losses.
Gas companies have always conducted natural gas leak detection surveys primarily using portable technologies with sensitivity requirements in the parts per million (ppm) detection range and carried by the person as they walk the pipeline assets. Surveys are generally done on a time requirement, whether it be annual, 3-year or a 5-year inspection, based on State and Federal regulations. Natural gas is also odorized with a distinct odor. In the event of a gas release, the public can smell it and notify the appropriate authorities. Thus, between scheduled compliance leakage surveys and customer leak and odor calls has been a proven approach to reducing leaks within a pipeline network.