What is LDAR?

Leak Detection and Repair (LDAR) is the process by which a facility locates and repairs leaking components, including valves, pumps, flanges and connectors, in order to reduce the emissions of fugitive volatile organic compounds (VOCs), like methane, and hazardous air pollutants (HAPs), such as benzene. Left unmonitored and unaddressed, these leaks can have detrimental consequences for the environment and human health.

The leaks that are detected are called fugitive emissions, so named because they typically elude detection without specialised equipment. Nevertheless, the collective impact of these small leaks across numerous components can be substantial, and so repairing the leaks will result in a significant decrease in harmful gas emissions from the plant.

Detecting Emissions

In conventional LDAR programs, fugitive emissions are detected using organic vapor analyzers (OVAs) in a process known as “sniffing.” The OVA probe is positioned near the leak source to measure the concentration of hydrocarbons in the sampled atmosphere in parts per million (ppm). This enables the facility to identify components with significant leaks and prioritize their repair at the next available opportunity, thus making the most substantial impact on VOC reduction. Subsequently, the facility can establish specific criteria for defining emissions as leaks. For instance, a typical leak definition might set the threshold at 500 ppm, considering any reading above this value as a leak. This systematic approach allows the plant to concentrate its efforts on addressing those components effectively.

Emissions can also be detected using optical gas imaging (OGI) cameras. These cameras work on the principle of infrared (IR) imaging, but with a special filter enabling them to detect infrared energy within the waveband characteristic of hydrocarbons such as methane. This allows the camera to detect leaks too small for traditional infrared cameras. OGI cameras allow real-time visualisation leaks and are excellent for scanning large areas of plant to identify leaks quickly, including those in hard to reach locations. Although they cannot directly measure the size of the leak, there is quantification software available that can estimate the concentration of the emission. The integration of these techniques can enhance the efficiency of LDAR programs by rapidly identifying potential leaks through the camera and then precisely quantifying emissions once a leak is identified.

Quantifying Leaks

The quanitifcation and reporting of emissions are fundamental components of LDAR programs. To convert the measured leak concentrations, in parts per million (ppm), into mass flow rates, typically measured in kilograms per year (kg/year), industries utilise a series of correlations using data published by the EPA. These correlations provide a means to estimate the volume of emissions from leaks, aiding in environmental reporting and regulatory compliance, and allowing for more informed decision-making and targeted emission reduction efforts.

LDAR Applications

The LDAR process is essential to industries that handle VOCs and HAPs. This includes petrochemical, oil and gas, chemical manufacturing, pharmaceutical, waste management, manufacturing, and emerging sectors like biogas production. In recent years, Europe has witnessed the introduction of more stringent regulations governing LDAR practices. As a result, companies and facilities operating within the European Union are required to enhance their LDAR programs, employ advanced monitoring techniques, and implement more robust reporting and record-keeping procedures to ensure compliance with these rigorous new standards.


In conclusion, LDAR offers numerous advantages to industries and the environment. It helps mitigate the release of harmful VOCs and HAPs, safeguarding human health and reducing air pollution. By identifying and addressing fugitive emissions, LDAR promotes compliance with environmental regulations, minimises operational risks, and contributes to a more sustainable and responsible approach to industrial processes.

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High Temperature Sealing in Biomass Plants

The Phoenix Group has a long standing association with many landfill and biomass plants in the UK, providing Leak Detection and Repair (LDAR) services and supplying gaskets and other sealing products.

One of these sites is a waste treatment facility in the central belt of Scotland which converts landfill gas to usable energy. This process involves extracting gas (methane), which is processed and pumped to gen set engines within a turbine house. These engines generate electricity, which is sold to the national grid.

The process is volatile, with process temperatures that operate beyond the limits of traditional gasket materials such as compressed fibre and graphite. Previous attempts to find a suitable gasket had failed, with the products failing before the engines could next be serviced.

Phoenix sealing were asked to offer a high temperature sealing solution for inlet and outlet flanges of the engine exhaust system that would offer long term, high integrity sealing. PG-Therm, a mica (phlogopite) based sealing material was offered, and successfully installed, adding approximately 300hrs extra running time between services with zero leakage.

For more information on PG-Therm, or on how our products and services can help with leak prevention and environmental compliance, please contact Dr Gavin Smith on 01246 209680 or info@phoenixsealing.co.uk

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Leak Detection in the Biogas Industry

Biogas is renewable energy source created when organic materials (plant and animal products) are broken down (eaten) by bacteria in an oxygen free environment, a process known as anaerobic digestion. This process occurs naturally in oxygen depleted places such as soils, landfill sites and marches, but it can also be reproduced under controlled and contained conditions in special tanks called anaerobic digesters.

Anerobic Digesters(AD) produce biogas by processing feedstock crops, manure, straw, food scraps, slurry and even sewage. The resultant gas contains roughly 50-70 percent methane, 30-40 percent carbon dioxide, and trace amounts of other gases. The material that is left after anaerobic digestion is called digestate, and can be used a fertiliser for crops. After biogas is captured, it can produce heat and electricity for use in engines, microturbines, and fuel cells. Biogas can also be upgraded into biomethane, also called renewable natural gas or RNG, and injected into natural gas pipelines or used as a vehicle fuel.

Methane leakage is a potential issue for many biogas plants. Fugitive methane emissions result from the biogas production process (the AD plant) and biogas utilisation processes (e.g. biogas combustion in CHP engines/boilers or from biogas upgrade systems in BtG plants). For this reason, leak detection surveys and reporting are now a requirement of the Environmental Agency permit scheme for Bio Gas facilities.

The Phoenix Group is the UK leader in the provision of leak detection surveys for the biogas production sector, and has a wealth of experience in helping facilities meet their environmental goals. We work throughout the UK on plants with a variety of technologies including biodigesters, waste recycling and landfill recovery. Our skilled and experienced technicians use a combination of optical gas imagining and organic vapour analysis to detect and quantify leaks, as well as offering assistance on minimising the leaks with repair strategies. If required our sealing experts can assist in ensuring the right gaskets and seals are being fitted in the application.

For more information contact Dr Gavin Smith on gsmith@phoenixsealing.co.uk

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For those of you involved in joint integrity management, the following information will not be a surprise…

Over the past number of weeks, I’ve been looking through the 11 years worth of non-conformance data that I’ve collected from various sites within the oil/gas, chemical and petrochemical industries that Zulu has been involved in and decided to share;

The data comes from compliance audits and findings from daily maintenance, projects and turnarounds/shutdowns.

There are many reasons why a joint integrity program will fail and typically they can be broken down into 5 distinct areas that can be further sub-divided. Unsurprisingly, the main reasons revolve around people and system non-conformances – interestingly both are linked..

By far – the highest percentage of non-conformances raised relates to PEOPLE followed by SYSTEMS

Predominantly the PEOPLE non-conformances arise from skill and working incompetency’s, lack of training, human error/human factors (deliberate and genuine mistakes), poor supervision and poor record keeping, whereas the most common SYSTEMS non-conformances relate to the failure to follow existing joint integrity procedures.

Its all a bit worrying and in my humble opinion the PEOPLE issues are still unacceptably high. In the UK, we’ve missed a generation of apprentices, we have an ageing workforce and we still unfortunately have a substantial number of ‘chancers’ and incompetent workers (particularly within the transient contractor labour pool). Joint integrity qualifications such as ECITB, ASME and BSEN are certainly helping to ascertain a level of proving competence but I believe there’s still a long way to go.

Considering that 93% of all data was based on top tier COMAH sites, that makes it even more worrying and therefore very important to address.

I’m more than willing to share further details* – just message me or contact me chrism@zulujointintegrity.co.uk

*Not including asset owner and site details

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Investment in SWG and RTJ stocks

Phoenix have made a significant investment in spiral wound and ring joint gasket inventory, and  now hold some of the largest stocks of these products in the UK.

The large stock holding ensures that we can turnaround orders quickly, and deliver rapidly with next day, or even same day, service available.

Our spiral wound gaskets are manufactured from 316L stainless steel windings with graphite filler, and are available in the following styles:

  • Carbon steel outer rings
  • 316L stainless steel outer rings.
  • 316L inner rings (optional on carbon steel outers only).

The gaskets are available to the standards ASME B16.20 and DIN EN 1514-2. Other standards e.g. BS 10 available on request.

Phoenix ring type joints are available in soft iron, 316 and F5, and are manufactured to ASME B16.20 and API 6A standards. We stock the following:

  • R Oval
  • R Octagonal
  • RX
  • BX

For more information on either of these products please contact our sales team on 01246 209680 or 0121 520 003. Email info@phoenixsealing.co.uk


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Sales Coordinator Role

We are an expanding manufacturing company based in Chesterfield. We pride ourselves on our excellent customer service and service support which has resulted in the expansion of our business. We are currently seeking a full time Sales Coordinator to join our team.

You will be responsible to the care and support of our clients and customers. Ensuring enquiries and orders are dealt with, and that they are aware of our new and existing products, and they are fully informed on significant developments. Efficiently answering price enquiries, stock availability and despatch times.

You must demonstrate a passion for excellence and excel in customer service, sales skills, and can communicate articulately and professionally.

Key responsibilities

To deal promptly, courteously, and efficiently with customer enquiries and orders. Regularly progress customers outstanding orders and effective dealing of all correspondence.

Calling new and existing customers to increase sales.

Key attributes

·Excellent communication skills

·Strong IT skills with a knowledge of Sage and Microsoft Office

·Must be able to work as part of a team but also show the skills to be able work unattended.

Main tasks

1.Processing orders using Sage 50. (Training can be provided)

2.Answering the telephone, dealing with customer enquiries, and raising quotes from the enquiries.

3.Liaising with suppliers about queries/orders.

4.Conduct tele-sales operations as directed.

5.Liaising with office staff members and helping with the admin duties of a busy sales office.

6.Be aware of the state of stock and materials received as an aid to selling. Stay connected with the warehouse regarding orders for various products.

7.Ensure that all operations are carried out in accordance with procedures set out in the Quality System.

Benefits include a target-based bonus scheme and being part of an organisation with progression opportunities.

Working Hours – 09.00 am to 17.00 pm Monday to Friday

1 Hour lunch

Salary £20k – £25k Depending on experience

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Institution of Mechanical Engineers – Process Industries Division

We are incredibly proud and honoured that Christopher Mellows, Director of Zulu Joint Integrity and Training Ltd has been approached and welcomed as an oil, gas and chemical committee member for the Process Industries Division of IMechE. The Oil, Gas and Chemical Committee (OGCC) is a Technical Activity Committee (TAC) focused on technologies associated with downstream processing activities in the oil, gas and chemical industry sectors. “I am very much looking forward to working with my fellow committee members and I hope that my passion, experience and energy can help this professional association and learned society promote its common purpose – to improve the world through engineering and that a practical as well as academic approach to these industries will encourage positive discussion and best practice.” Christopher Mellows, Director
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In line with us continuing to support industry with our joint integrity management services, Zulu Joint Integrity & Training Ltd has been awarded a UK refinery site based support role to ensure that it’s assets are capable of meeting the production requirements and that the refinery is capable of demonstrating statutory and regulatory compliance to all applicable legislation.

To this end, we welcome Stephen Jones to our team to undertake this very important role.

Stephen brings a wealth of experience from the chemical and industrial process sector and we see this invaluable experience as an asset to his role and to his future employment with us.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank our valued client for this exciting collaborative project and to welcome Steve on behalf of the whole team at Zulu Joint Integrity & Training Ltd and Phoenix Technology Group

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Investing In Apprentices

Training for the future. This week is Tata Steel’s UK apprentice training week at Zulu Joint Integrity and Trainings Bridgend training centre. We often see the oil & gas, petrochemical and chemical industries lead the way in mechanical joint integrity of bolted joints in hazardous pressurised systems so it’s always fantastic to see the steel industry embrace the subject matter. It’s a no-brainer… competent workforce, no leaks, no environmental incidents, no accidents, no delays in plant start up… The bar was set high with yesterdays learners achieving 100% ✅ in our written test and practical assessment. These young men and women are the future of UK industry and we are very proud to support them and the giant Port Talbot Steel Works.
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