by Tina Olivero

    Pipeline Leak Detection Essential

    Ageing infrastructure and continued usage are two of the greatest threats in the current pipeline industry. However, current systems deployed on the field are highly inadequate to meet the challenge of leak detection. This is because they either miss the leaks completely or issue so many false alarms in even the slightest of disturbances, that engineers do not have any faith in their detection capabilities. This has led to the preventable ruptures occurring nonetheless due to slow rates of shutting down and call to the handling crews.

    This is the reason that most of the pipeline operators participating in the US Department of Transportation Leak Detection Study conducted in 2012 were found to have no computational pipeline monitoring (CPM) detection systems for leaks between the period of January 1, 2010, and July 7, 2012. This has led to a lot of bad publicity from public domain organisations. They have criticised the workflow of the pipeline owners citing the fact that most of the liquid spills could have been avoided with a better detection system.

    Atmos has risen to the challenge to provide an advanced pipeline leak detection system to counter this. It has already been tested on the field and has yielded phenomenal success. A prime example of this is the deployment of the Atmos Pipe, a statistical volume balance leak detection system, which detected a leak in a Canadian pipeline running diluent fluids in less than 5 minutes. Since the pipeline operators were fully trained professionals who trusted the system, this resulted in no spillage since the whole system was shut down within minutes. The most important point was that the leakage occurred at an unstable point when the pipeline flow was increasing.

    A few other examples where Atmos detection system was successful are:

    • 2 separate crude oil pipeline ruptures, which were detected within 25 seconds and 30 seconds respectively
    • A leak detection in a water gathering system comprising of 31.8 m3/h (200 b/h) detected within 4 minutes
    • A sensitive leak of 8 m3/h (50 b/h) caused in a water pipeline, detected within 46 minutes

    Besides professional success in the professional domain, the Atmos leak detection system has also been successful in detecting liquid thefts, including:

    • A 15b/h theft detection
    • 3 separate tapping point detection on pipelines carrying crude oil
    • 6 occurrences of theft detection in various pipelines concerned with different products.

    The results displayed go on to show how far the pipeline industry has come from back in 2012 when the survey was conducted.


    About Atmos

    Atmos is an international leader in pipeline technologies. Dealing with almost any kind of liquids, Atmos has gone on to fill the void of decent pipeline theft and leak detection systems in recent times. Based in Manchester, UK, Atmos was founded in 1995 to specifically combat the absence of a statistical leak detection system in pipelines with the development of Atmos Pipe, currently a part of several such leak detection solutions from Atmos. These solutions are used by some of the most successful firms in the world in over 55 countries, including Shell, Total, and BP.

    Tina Olivero

    Tina Olivero

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