Reducing Noise in the Oil and Gas Industry

25th November 2021

Author: Wakefield Acoustics – Noise Control Specialists | Last Updated: April 2023

The extraction, refinement, and distribution activities within the Oil and Gas Industry require multiple processes and complex machinery including pumps, compressors, drive motors and standby power generation. Some of these items of equipment produce significant noise levels, and prolonged exposure can cause unnecessary hearing damage to workers who operate close to these noise sources. This exposure can lead to long-term health effects that degrade workers’ quality of life and lost time hours. Restricting the hours of operation for noisy operations is usually untenable for business, therefore further measures are normally required to protect workers whilst continuing to operate as a business.

Oil and gas plants often have a small number of main sources of harmful noise; compressors, standby engines and pumps being the main offenders. Noise barriers, acoustic blankets and acoustic enclosures are useful implements for limiting this noise.

Noise barriers disrupt the path of sound waves by blocking the line of sight between the source and received, and additionally provide absorption, thereby reducing noise. Barriers are often a preferred option due to the fact that explosion-proof ventilation and gas detection systems can be avoided.

Acoustic blanket solutions can also be considered for pumps and compressor casings, providing a low-cost and readily demountable solution, where lower levels of noise reduction is required.

Alternatively, acoustic enclosures can be utilised to fully encapsulate complete machines and associated drive motors. These provide higher levels of attenuation, although maintaining these enclosures requires careful design and consideration of ventilation.

In some cases, it isn’t always just the primary plant item that needs noise abatement. Noise can also be emitted throughout air and gas movement applications. To address breakout via pipework or ductwork, silencers can be implemented.

Wakefield Acoustics have extensive experience in providing bespoke solutions for general industrial applications: