• Reliable and precise VOC monitoring technology for oil and gas facilities provides trouble-free data in extreme conditions for 2 years and counting

Measurement and Testing

Reliable and precise VOC monitoring technology for oil and gas facilities provides trouble-free data in extreme conditions for 2 years and counting

Feb 09 2024

A drilling pad site, near to Denver, Colorado, USA, needed to deploy dependable and precise VOC monitoring systems to comply with the stringent local and international environmental regulations as well as the safeguarding the local community itself. Industrial sites of this nature are subject to 8-Hour Ozone Control Area, which involves reaching a three-year average of the annual fourth highest daily maximum eight-hour ozone concentration measured at each monitoring site is less than 71 parts per billion (ppb). For facilities near Denver, there is a 1-Hour Ozone regulation whereby 0.12 parts per million (ppm), or less, over a one hour period is a legal requirement.

According to US Energy Information Administration: Colorado accounts for 4% of US oil and gas production. This sector emits higher levels of VOC emissions than any other industry and contribute significantly to heightened levels of ground level ozone/ photochemical smog. Precise and robust air monitoring technology is the key to avoiding dangerous and damaging incidents, whilst operating within environmental regulatory criteria. This is especially the case in some of the remote Colorado regions where the VOC monitors need to be deployed.

In January 2022, South Coast Science were given the task of providing a precise, dependable and cost-effective monitoring solution that could operate in extreme conditions such as heavy snow and the other challenges set by Colorado’s environment. There are 3 sites that need close monitoring, so they opted for a state-of-the art Praxis/OP Cube, in tandem with a meteorological station at one – and Praxis/OP Cubes at the other two. The instruments were powered by use of solar panels, enabling these analysers to operate reliably with minimal need of human intervention.

The Praxis/OPCube overcomes the challenges of capturing accurate data in variable climate conditions and the need for fine-grained air quality monitoring networks. This has provided the drill pad operators with reliable and precise VOC monitoring data for 2 years and counting.

In parallel with the cutting-edge VOC monitoring instrumentation, data from the South Coast Science API is fed into a dashboard, integrating meteorological data with the air quality monitoring data to provide a precise and reliable overview of emission levels. The system features an email-based notification system to alert users when there are high levels of VOCs or in rare instances when the system goes offline.

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