Updates on leak detection improvements in challenging pipeline monitoring scenarios
Proceedings Publication Date
Harry Smith
Harry Smith
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While a pipeline might seem linear on the surface, monitoring for leak detection on some pipeline networks is not always a straightforward process. Pipeline networks in African, Canadian, Latin American and Middle Eastern countries can run through remote areas and have a weak infrastructure, creating challenges for the deployment of leak detection instrumentation. Pipelines in the vicinity of high and moderate consequence areas also run the risk of causing extensive damage to surrounding areas during a leak event, as well as resulting in fines for the offending pipeline company, making fast and accurate leak detection a necessity. Increased use of multiphase flow in pipelines also creates a challenge for leak detection due to the complex and variable hydraulic conditions and difficulty in retrofitting leak detection hardware or equipment on operational pipelines.

Addressing pipelines in remote locations, particularly those with a weak infrastructure, this paper presents recent advancements in hardware instrumentation that can be retrofitted to operational pipelines to collect leak detection data using battery power or wind and solar energy.

Pipelines built in the range of high and moderate consequence areas will be discussed in relation to improved hardware and software that place an emphasis on speed and accuracy to reduce damage to human safety, the environment, property and reputation.

Finally, this paper will detail the improvements in leak detection on multiphase pipelines with varying fluid composition using proprietary data acquisition units as well as acoustic sensing pigging technologies for integrity inspection and the identification of small leaks, dents, and other geometry discontinuities. Three case studies relating to offshore, onshore and multiphase pipelines with separators will be discussed to outline the findings of improved leak detection on multiphase pipelines.

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