Cambridge Consultants has unveiled the first stage of work that’s set to give a much-needed boost to offshore oil leak detection. It has built an oil spill detection technology platform that is capable of detecting the natural fluorescence of even tiny amounts of oil in or on water.
Cambridge Consultants delivers fluorescence detection solutions for challenging applications such as clinical diagnostics equipment, fertility monitors and pregnancy tests, and authentication of valuable documents. Crude oil is naturally fluorescent – so the company has now used its fluorescence experience to build the new oil spill detection technology platform.
“The environmental impact of oil and gas leaks has never been more visible to the public – with the recent disaster in the Gulf of Mexico – yet the solutions currently available do not meet all the requirements in terms of performance and reliability,” said Dr Frances Metcalfe, Associate Director, Oil and Gas, at Cambridge Consultants.
Currently, aircraft use long-range radar and scanners to detect fluorescence – but they are expensive and difficult to operate. Many oil companies still primarily rely on unsophisticated visual reports which are not consistently accurate. Many leaks are not detected until a slick comes to the surface and is visible to the human eye. The new technology aims to provide a compact, robust system that can be permanently installed for example along subsea pipelines.