Currently, the unified gas supply system is functioning in Russia, the key element of ensuring reliability of which is the underground gas storage system. Presence of large volumes of gas at these production facilities and close location of storage facilities to the settlements predetermine their danger. From which it follows that during operation of such facilities a special attention is required to be paid to safety issues.
The article considers the problem of monitoring of the equipment technical condition and identifying leaks at hazardous production facilities of the underground gas storage. Existing methods do not allow quickly and with a high degree of reliability to detect hidden damages to the operating equipment, to accurately determine and record gas leaks location.
The greatest danger is posed by the pipelines and shutoff valves, which is established based on the analysis of statistical data on accident rate at the oil and gas facilities. The performed analysis showed that the technical condition of pipelines is the main cause of most accidents. The main method of non-destructive testing of the technical condition of this equipment is in-line inspection. Due to the fact, that in-line inspections are not provided for the underground gas storage facilities the thermal imaging monitoring was proposed in order to improving the quality of the work during industrial control at such facilities.
The efficiency of this method is confirmed by practical tests at the production sites of a hazardous underground gas storage facility. During the experiment, the possibility of using two types of thermal imagers was studied: classic and cooled. The classic thermal imager operates in the far infrared range and allows to assess the state of the object by the temperature gradient of its surface. The second type — a cooled thermal imager, it operates in the mid-infrared range and allows to visualize the gas leaks. Based on the performed study, the capabilities of each device were evaluated, and the area of their application was identified.