Perfluorocarbon tracer can be seen as a breakthrough innovation. It is used for oil leak detection and operates within a short period of time. Low pressure oil-filled cable systems (LPOF) have been operating for more than 60 years. Some cable systems are being exchanged with XLPE cables, however many are still in operation. It can occur that damages are caused by civil works, tree roots, movements in the ground or simply the ageing of the cable. The oil pressure of LPOF cable systems needs to be controlled regularly to recognise any oil loss. As long as the minimum oil pressure of the cable is not lower than the requirement, the system can be kept operating.
In order to pinpoint the oil leak, the tracer is injected into the damaged cable and in the short-term, it leaks into the environment. The highly volatile PFT compounds evaporate from the oil, permeate through the ground and can be picked up using highly advanced detection technology. Then, they can be detected through atmospheric analysis. In order to establish how much oil has been lost, the oil pressure needs to be measured daily, taking into account factors such as temperature fluctuation.
Any oil leakage is an issue for the ecologic environment, so the problem needs to be resolved as quickly as possible. Local environmental authorities will be informed and will force a fast progress. Then, this is where PFT and SHF come into use.