N2/He Leak Testing

Safe operating conditions are essential to oil and gas processing systems. Due to the ever increasing productivity demands and complexity of processing plants onshore and offshore, the handling of high-pressure flammable or toxic fluids requires stringent safety standards.

Helium Leak Detection is known to be the most accurate method of locating and quantifying system leaks. Leaks can be described as unwanted holes, cracks, escape passages in a system that will adversely affect the safe operation of the system and personnel safety. Leak detection can be described as a method to check that system (or component) integrity is suitable to retain any gas or fluid that is to be stored or passed through the system. Identification of system leaks will be cause to take immediate action through rectification and repairs (Bolting, specialized service also provided by our team).

Conventional testing methods such as hydrostatic testing which is mainly designed as a stress test only during construction & Pre-Com phase to ensure system is suitable to work at high pressures, visual inspection or soap solution are only qualitative and offer limited leak detection capability.

Gas mediums used, will closely simulate system pressurised gas. Nitrogen is used for its preservation properties. When combined, nitrogen (keeps moisture and oxygen out of systems) as a carrier gas & helium, as a tracer gas, we can identify leaks of 1.00 scf of gas per year. Depressurisation following all tests will purge & due to nirogen’s preservation properties, will minimise systems oxidisation.

Soapy bubble test - detect leaks down to 350 scf/year, Sample probe helium testing - detect leaks down to 1.00 scf/year,

It can be seen that Helium leak testing (sample probe) is the most sensitive, which means, we can detect smaller leaks with higher accuracy.

Consideration has to also be given to the fact that N2/He Leak Testing is less time consuming compared to the other methods mentioned.

The main reasons that helium is used for leak detection are:
a) inert, non-reactive properties
b) scarcity of it’s existence in the atmosphere
c) a small atomic mass unit (amu 4) in certain circumstances is more searching due to its light mass.
d) non-toxic.
e) relative viscosity to hydrocarbon gas.

A Mass Spectrometer is an instrument used to detect Helium. The instrument comprises of a vacuum pump that draws in the leaking gas, and through particle separation internally a meter indicates Helium’s presence & amount on the Mass Spectrometer. Ultimately, one of the final steps taken prior production, in the prevention of leaks is to incorporate N2/He leak detection into your final stages of Commissioning (specialized service also provided by MCCS). This has been proven to be the most beneficial method to system and personnel safety; integrity & minimization of the ever costly, “Production Loss” & LTI should there be, potential leaks leading to explosive hazards through the emission and escape of gasses during startup or production.

The technology combined with capabilities of MCCS International, results in an auditable report confirming system safety & integrity as per ISO 9001.

N2/He Leak Testing Services include :-

  • Pre-engineering of test packs and test procedures
  • Consumables(N2/He gas), equipment & manpower supply
  • Pressurisation of systems
  • Data compilation and handover to the client