Illegal hot taping – a case study on how to detect and locate product theft
Proceedings Publication Date
Rene Landstorfer
Rene Landstorfer
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During the past years, hot tapping pipelines and stealing product has become a worldwide issue for pipeline operators. Today all European countries are facing the problem and as criminals get more sophisticated in avoiding to be caught, also operators and service providers need to evolve very fast with regard to technology and counteractions.

Over the years it turned out that the criminals in many cases have internal information from the operators, or even accomplices within the companies. In multiproduct pipelines for example they know precisely at which time which batch is passing their hot tapings, so that they can siphon only the product they want. Also regarding detection methods they are in many cases well informed. That way they can react pretty good to many of the detection technologies and adapt their installations or the way they use these.

All that leads to a permanent need of improving the detection methods as well.

The presentation will focus on a case study of detecting and locating an illegal hot tap in France with the Gottsberg leak detection pigs in combination with the permanently installed Sensors along the pipeline. This successful case displays how operators can improve the safety of their lines and not only avoid the loss of product but also minimize the eventuality of oil spills and environmental damage because often the illegal installations are not very safe and also left abandoned after the criminals switch to another location or pipeline.

Additionally it will give an outlook on different options the operator have for facing this issue with different technologies and the combination of those.

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