Exploring Industrial Safety Equipment

What Are Fugitive Emissions?

Pipelines get oil and other products from one place to another. However, a pipeline isn't just a long pipe with nothing else attached. The pipeline itself is made up of a series of pipes and has things like pumping stations and other similar things periodically pop up along the way through the pipeline. Those stations make sure that the oil keeps moving so that it doesn't get stuck at some point during its travels, but the stations can also cause other problems. One of those problems is fugitive emissions. 

What Are Fugitive Emissions?

While fugitive emissions may sound like something that a fugitive from the law might trail behind them, that's not what they really are. What they are is gas or vapors that escape from a pipeline or other pressurized piece of equipment. Those emissions could come from leaks in the system or from places like pumping stations or joints in the pipe. Those places are likely to have places that will leak or aren't sealed completely.

The fugitive emissions not only show up on pipelines, but they also show up in places like refineries and processing plants. That's because any place the oil or gas has to change from one vessel to another, like from the pipeline to a refiner, there are seals that could leak. 

What's the Big Deal About Fugitive Emissions?

There are a lot of problems with fugitive emissions. One is that, depending on what the gas is, it can help to cause problems with global climate change. For example, methane is a greenhouse gas. The more methane that escapes out through leaks and is out in the environment and atmosphere, the more it affects the climate. One small leak may not be enough to completely change the global climate, but all those little things add up to big things.

Another problem with fugitive emissions is that the gasses and vapors that get out can affect the workers around the pipeline or the refinery. Depending on the size of the leak, homes and businesses around the area may have to be evacuated because of the vapors. 

Without pipelines, the gas, oil, and natural gas that you need to heat your home, drive your car, or cook your dinner wouldn't be able to get to you. But those pipelines aren't always foolproof. As they age, they develop problems like leaks, and fugitive emissions can get out through those leaks. In order to avoid this problem, contact a company that offers fugitive emissions management that can help you deal with leaks in your system.