Did you know? Methane (CH4) ranks as the second largest greenhouse gas emitted in the United States. In 2016, it contributed to around 10% of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions from human activities, as per the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
A 2015 report in Environmental Science and Technology measured a total of 219 non-compressor connections with an average leak rate of 0.2 SCFM (standard cubic feet per minute).
The answer to this issue is in the maintenance of the pipeline. One of the main ways to solve it is to focus on good practices. It takes training and dedication to close the 10% gap seen in flange leakage in methane. CH4 is one of the hardest things to seal because of the size of the molecule.
One of the major failure modes of all failed joints is not achieving proper gasket load during installation. In a study from the FSA, 68% of gasket failures were under compression of the gasket. The best way to ensure proper compression (gasket load target) per flange is using a calculated torque value. Many maintenance crews are still using “hand” tightening of joints that leaves no clear method of verifying correct loading.
Below is an infographic that incorporates many of the topics discussed with good practices in pipeline management.
Chesterton has played an active role in assisting industry to lower leaks and become more productive while improving the environment. With their selection of sealing products and technical assistance, they can help you and your company meets regulatory goals.
Ron Frisard is Field Product Manager of Packing & Gaskets for A.W. Chesterton Company. He has worked for Chesterton for 27 years in all facets of valve and pump packing. Ron has presented at many conferences including the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), and Valve World in Europe and America. Ron is also currently the Vice Chair for both the Packing and Gasketing divisions of the Fluid Sealing Association (FSA).