In today’s oil and gas industry, it’s important to use the latest technology to keep workers safe. One area that has seen great advances in technology has been gas detection, which is used within refineries, at remote pipeline locations, and on oil rigs and offshore platforms. By taking advantage of the latest equipment to detect high levels of toxic or combustible gases, more and more companies are seeing significant increases in worker safety.

What is Open Path Detection?
Unlike a fixed point detector, an open path gas detector offers companies much more versatility when it comes to installation options. By projecting a beam of light, the detector can pinpoint the location of a gas leak very accurately and alert personnel of the situation very quickly. By being equipped with several receivers and a transmitter, the detector can then use the beam of light to hit the retro-reflector that then measures the level of gas that is leaking. In some situations, oil and gas workers can use portable open path gas detectors when working in tight spaces. With these devices, when gas gets near them and is absorbed, the unit will register and alert the worker. However, with these units, the signal strength will be reduced when fog or rain are present.

Greater Efficiency
One of the biggest benefits of open path gas detectors is their ability to be much more efficient than fixed point detectors. While initially the cost to install open path detectors may cost more than fixed point detectors, in the long run these detectors are much more efficient for a variety of reasons. For example, because open path detectors use a beam of light, one unit is able to replace several fixed point detectors. In addition, they require much less maintenance than do fixed point detectors. This is due to their use of infrared technology, which is known to be extremely reliable. Thus, open path gas detectors can be expected to last several years.

Outdoor Use
While they do well in closed areas, open path detectors are known for their excellent performance in outdoor areas. Due to this, they are very popular at pipelines and offshore drilling platforms. Because they are very useful in helping to set up a perimeter, they are well-suited for open spaces that may be at greater risk for fires or explosions due to undetected gas leaks. Rather than measuring only one specific area, these detectors are better able to measure large spaces, which explains their use outdoors. Also recognized for being more accurate than fixed point detectors, open path detectors are thus able to detect dangerous levels of gas well before they may become a serious safety risk to employees or others nearby.

Offering a number of advantages, open path gas detectors implement many of the latest technological innovations available today to provide increased levels of safety for workers in the oil and gas industry. As more advances are made, it’s clear these detectors will become even more widespread in their use.