Demand for pipeline leak detection and location systems is increasing rapidly. Unfortunately general knowledge about these systems is still limited and the view that these systems ‘will only detect catastrophic leaks’ or ‘give false alarms all the time’ is still heard regularly. This view may be the result of bad experience in the past, unrealistic expectations, or a combination of the two.
This presentation is a case study of a leak detection system installed on a 31km pipeline that transports various refined liquid hydrocarbons between a refinery and a tank farm. Following an introduction to the principles behind E-RTTM, field data is presented to show the capabilities of the system in a real-world, operational environment. It will be shown that modern leak detection systems do allow leak detection without false alarms, even on pipelines operated in dynamic (transient) conditions. Leak tests were performed on naphtha and diesel with an average leak rate of 0.9%, and an average leak detection time of 30 seconds was achieved. Leak detection is of course subject to the laws of physics, and the resulting limitations will be discussed.
To complete the overview a system build-up will be shown to explain E-RTTM integration into a typical SCADA environment.