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ATEX-approved sensors for safety in offshore oil and gas operations

The offshore oil and gas industry is defined by its complex operations and high-risk environment. Every stage, from exploration and drilling to refining and distribution presents unique challenges. Accidents in these settings can have severe consequences, affecting workers, communities and the environment. The location of offshore platforms complicates logistics and emergency response.

Safety risks in offshore oil and gas operations

Given the high stakes, safety is a top priority in offshore operations. The extraction and processing of oil and gas involves highly flammable and explosive materials, creating a significant risk of fires and explosions. Many processes in the industry operate under extreme pressures and temperatures, increasing the risk of equipment failure or other incidents. Additionally, the industry also uses and produces various hazardous chemicals that pose health risks to workers and environmental risks to surrounding areas.

Why ATEX-approved sensors are critical in offshore operations

To ensure safety in environments where explosive atmospheres may occur, the use of ATEX-certified sensors in machinery, systems and equipment is essential. Here’s why:

1. Minimise explosion risk.
Crude oil, natural gas and other volatile chemicals are highly flammable and can create explosive atmospheres if mixed with oxygen in the right conditions. Any spark or high temperature can ignite these gases. ATEX-approved sensors are designed to operate safely in these environments, reducing the risk of ignition.

2. Ensure compliance with safety regulations 

Offshore operations are subject to stringent safety regulations. Using ATEX-certified components ensures compliance with these rules, reducing the risk of legal issues and operational shutdowns due to safety violations.

3. Intrinsic safety

ATEX sensors are designed with intrinsic safety in mind. They are engineered to avoid generating sparks, arcs or excessive heat that could ignite explosive atmospheres. This is especially critical in offshore settings, where emergency response capabilities are limited due to the remote location.

4. Protection of personnel and equipment

By using ATEX-certified sensors, offshore oil and gas operations can better protect personnel and equipment from the risks associated with explosive atmospheres. This safety measure reduces the risk of accidents, equipment damage and downtime, providing financial and operational benefits.

Example offshore applications and solutions developed by Positek

  • Titanium submersible linear inductive position sensors designed for fatigue measurement in subsea drilling equipment, ensuring safety and reliability in extreme conditions.
  • Linear and rotary position sensors used for position controls on remotely operated vehicles used during pipeline maintenance, offering precision and durability in harsh environments..
  • Inductive incylinder sensors to provide position feedback on the hydraulic cylinder systems critical for oilfield mast raisers.
  • Submersible linear inductive position sensors for position control in mooring systems on rigs, ensuring stability and safety.
  • Inductive linear ATEX-approved position sensors to measure the deflection of base frames with a fitted motor and compressor to ensure the structural integrity and reliable operation of equipment.
  • Linear inductive ATEX-certified sensors for opening and closing feedback on gate valves.

ATEX-approved sensors play a pivotal role in safeguarding personnel, equipment and the environment in some of the most challenging and hazardous settings. Their specialised design for intrinsic safety helps prevent accidents and ensures compliance with stringent safety regulations.

If you’re involved in offshore oil and gas operations, consider contacting us to explore how our range of certified sensors can enhance your safety measures.

Article published on: 23/04/2024

Article last updated on: 23/04/2024