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A New Caledonian company urgently contacted SGS to investigate gas emissions from a fuel oil tank. The gas odour was causing panic in the nearby town as residents were concerned it was a leak in the town gas pipes.

Within 48 hours an SGS chemist had landed on-site and taken samples of the gas, utilising Summa Canisters as well as samples of the fuel oil from the 20,000 m3  storage tank. The samples were flown back to Sydney for analysis.

The company was advised to temporarily limit the gasses venting from the shore tank by drawing the head space gasses through an activated carbon filter. This was done using a venturi injector to provide the vacuum.

The analysis found the oil contained high concentrations of low molecular weight mercaptans. These are used commercially to impart odour in town gas so it may be detected in a leak. The shore tank head space gases were vented during the day due to thermal expansion. By the time these gases reached the town they had diluted, however the mercaptans concentration was similar to town gas and alarming the population.

SGS recommended more stringent regulation on the mercaptans level on their fuel oil and to set up a permanent venting system of the shore tanks to trap mecaptans released.

About SGS

SGS is the world's leading inspection, verification, testing and certification company. It has more than 89,000 employees and operates over 2,600 offices and laboratories worldwide. We are constantly looking beyond customers’ and society’s expectations in order to deliver market leading services wherever they are needed. Working together to make the world a better, safer place.