Repsol, Indra develop leak-detection safety system to detect hydrocarbons

Offshore staff

MADRID, SpainRepsol and Indra have jointly developed a water-based hydrocarbon leak early-detection system, which will further increase safety conditions at all its facilities.

The Hydrocarbon Early Automatic Detection System (HEADS) has successfully completed testing at Repsol’s industrial complex in Tarragon, including the Casablanca platform.

HEADS uses a combination of many detection sensors, adding the automatic interpretation of infrared images and radar, and activating alarms without the need for human intervention. The combined use of infrared images and radar can maximize reliability, and the automation of the process allows for constant monitoring without the intervention of an operator, minimizing the risk of human error. Radar detection is based on the difference in the roughness of the water surface when hydrocarbons are present. The infrared camera detects the variations in temperature between water and hydrocarbons, due to differences between the calorific properties of the two substances.

The system has a console located in a control room where different operations are monitored, such as drilling, production, loading, or safety. When HEADS detects an incident, in addition to activating the alarm automatically, it also collects all the associated information, registering, and analyzing all the related parameters.

The system can also identify ships in the vicinity using an automatic identification system (AIS). The purpose of the AIS system is to allow ships to communicate their position and other relevant information, so that other ships or stations can track them and avoid collisions. Thus, if an incident is caused by a ship within its detection range, the system can record its registration number and monitor the event.

HEADS has a response time of less than two minutes.


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