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Leak detection both onshore and offshore can cost time and money, and create significant safety hazards including flash fires or sour gas leaks. Detecting and eliminating leaks is critical to successful operations, and is done as part of commissioning and start-up procedures in:
Helium leak testing helps find small leaks with inert, non-volatile compounds. A mixture of nitrogen and helium (usually 1%) is injected into the system. Each joint, valve, and connection are taped, following which a detector is used to probe each connection to determine if a leak exists. If leaks are found in the system, the pressure is bled off, the connection is repaired, and the process is repeated until all leaks are eliminated. This practice reduces oxygen concentrations and leaves an inert blanket of nitrogen in the system. Additionally, this method of testing can help discover other issues, and can be used to simulate operational situations.