In a number of papers previously presented at the Pipeline Technology Conference, Synodon
discussed the science behind its proprietary realSens™ technology and how it can remotely
detect both simple hydrocarbon molecules such as methane (found predominantly in natural
gas) as well as complex ones such as butanes or pentane which evaporate from various
products such as condensates, gasoline, crude oil, etc..
The realSens™ system and it’s corresponding services have been commercially available
since 2010 and the system has participated in a number of blind tests conducted by natural
gas and oil pipeline operators or related research organizations. The technology has also been
used to survey nearly 60,000 km of operational underground natural gas pipelines in North
America and it has detected and accurately located 100’s of leaks and emission sources with
virtually no false positives. This paper will discuss briefly the operational principle behind the
technology, present the results from a number of blind tests organized by pipeline operators
and a geologic research organization (showing strikingly consistent results from the very
different test setups) as well as an oil producer and outline a number of real-life leak detection
case studies from live, operational pipeline systems. The paper will conclude with a summary
of the demonstrated leak detection capabilities and their importance to pipeline operators.