A compliance-based leak detection and repair (LDAR) program is in place to inspect equipment, tanks, vapor collection systems, connections, pumps and valves daily. As a standard industry practice, we use audio, visual and olfactory (AVO) methods to evaluate our production facilities at our operations. Additionally, each of our facilities are formally inspected at least once a year using both AVO and infrared methods.
Our LDAR program also utilizes infrared camera technology to detect methane leaks not visible to the naked eye. The infrared camera allows for quick and safe monitoring of all equipment and helps identify which components may need repair. The team immediately attempts to repair identified leaks while on site. If an immediate repair cannot be made, the leak is prioritized for repair according to state and federal regulations with the goal to repair leaks within 30 days.
We employ and train a full-time compliance team to perform these inspections and repairs daily on operational units. To receive LDAR inspection certification, the compliance team completes a field exercise that demonstrates their ability to operate the infrared camera and successfully record leaks and repairs. We also provide leak detection training to all operation production staff about common types of leaks, methods for testing and repair and protocol for reporting.
While our LDAR program is regulatory-based, some of our leak reduction efforts do extend beyond compliance. In order to maximize environmental benefit from these voluntary inspections, we strategically target facilities and equipment with the greatest potential for fugitive emissions. This selection strategy also is based on identification of high producing locations and geographical proximity.
We strive to enhance and innovate processes in our LDAR program to advance methane emission management. For example, we utilize advanced tablet-based technology to log all LDAR and AVO inspections onsite with identifying information, affected equipment and repair updates. Using this digital logging system allows all data to be automatically sent to our compliance tracking system and also enables us to analyze trends on equipment leaks.
As a result of our successful LDAR program, in 2016 we repaired 2,500 leaks through 765 inspections in Utah and North Dakota using infrared technology—13 percent of which were voluntary. In addition, 1,539 AVO inspections were performed at our Utah operations. In 2017, AVO inspections were extended to every Newfield operating area.