Combined Monitoring and Communications System for Active Shale Gas Drilling Sites

Problem: While the Marcellus Shale offers an abundance of natural gas, combustible gases such as methane or hydrogen sulfide can pose a danger at drilling sites.

The same holds true for other shale gas exploration sites and oil drilling sites. A good perimeter monitoring system must be cost-effective and easily redeployable.

How do you cost-effectively monitor oil and gas drilling sites for fugitive emissions? How can the system be powered in remote areas? Can such a monitoring system be transportable from one site to the next? Is there a way to provide wireless communications to a central office? And how can the amount of energy used be minimized?

Solution: Today, maintenance-free perimeter monitoring of methane and hydrogen sulfide is possible with the Rig Guard, a turnkey, solar-powered monitoring system for gas monitoring at active shale gas and oil drilling sites.

The Rig Guard is Conspec Control’s new solar-powered infrared gas detection system for continuous perimeter monitoring of toxic and combustible gases such as hydrogen sulfide (H2S) and methane (CH4).

The Rig Guard is the only gas monitoring system that also offers wireless Intranet connectivity for daily business communications with company offices. By tying continuous gas monitoring equipment to a wireless radio link, the system provides a wireless hotspot, enabling remote monitoring of differential pressure, voltage amperage, and also providing a means of communicating from active, remote drilling sites to a central office. This communications capability facilitates day-to-day business communications, while the monitoring system remotely and continuously monitors H2S and CH.

Now in demand in the oil and gas industry to monitor emissions from active drilling sites, the Rig Guard provides an early indicator of a potentially hazardous condition, and allows drilling operators to contact headquarters via an Internet connection. The system is rugged and reliable. What’s more, it is easy to implement and redeploy.

The Rig Guard incorporates an Allen Bradley programmable logic controller (PLC) for data collection. Conspec, leaders in the field of monitoring of gases in underground mines, power generation plants, and other hazardous areas, partnered with Rockwell Automation through its Machine Builder Program, to design and build this system, and with Strata Mine Services LLC to provide installation, on-site training, and 24/7 maintenance.

A solar panel powers the gas detectors, which monitor for methane and hydrogen sulfide gases. The monitor is connected to a wireless transmission box which transmits a radio signal to a programmable logic controller. The PLC has memory configuration software and an easy-to-read 6-inch touch screen which displays real-time values of the measured parameters. The PLC has a battery as well to ensure days of autonomy with no downtime. There is also an AC power option.

Installation, on-site training, and 24/7 field service make this an affordable and reliable turnkey solution for on-site gas monitoring at active drilling operations. The system includes delivery and setup and redeployment to the next site after teardown.

The system includes robust and reliable infrared (IR) gas monitors designed for use in hazardous environments and an easy-to-read local LCD display. The iridium satellite modem GPS receiver transmits status and sensor messages via RDT/wireless gateway.

This monitoring and communications system is ideal for remote, active shale drilling sites and meets a growing need for remote monitoring and communications within the oil and gas industry.

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“We chose to install Conspec detectors in our power plant because they offer a mine-duty grade monitor capable of withstanding extremely dirty and harsh conditions.”

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