Some pipeline operators have received bad press recently from leaks that were not detected fast enough, causing larger spills that could have been avoided. We now see more pipeline leaks than ever before around the world, and leak detection systems are being tested in anger. The Atmos systems have detected several real leaks and ruptures in 2016. The recent leak in Canada is one example. The Atmos Pipe, statistical volume balance leak detection system, detected the leak on this diluent pipeline in well under five minutes. The pipeline operators were well trained, understood the leak detection system and, most importantly, trusted the system. They immediately shut down the pipeline minimizing the spill. No product even escaped from the containment area.

This result was even more impressive when we discovered that the leak occurred during a transient operation where the flow was increasing.

Atmos systems have been working hard in the field this year. In addition to the leak in Canada, the following leaks have been detected “silently” by Atmos Pipe or Atmos Wave without leaks to the press:

  • Two-line ruptures were detected within 25 and 30 seconds respectively in a crude oil pipeline
  • A small leak of 8 m3/h ( 50 b/h)was detected within 46 minutes in a water pipeline
  • A leak of 31.8 m3/h (200 b/h) was detected within 4 minutes in a produced water gathering system

The following thefts were detected by Atmos Wave and Wave Flow:

  • A 15 b/h theft was detected and located in an NGL pipeline
  • Three illegal tapping points were located in crude oil pipelines. An example is shown in the picture below.
  • Six theft events were detected in multiple product pipelines

An example of the tapping points located

To provide you with the best protection and minimize the liability and loss of product, it is essential for us to work together to optimize the leak/theft detection systems and all the equipment associated with it.

Please contact us if you have any concern about your pipelines.

Categories: Industry update

By: Atmos International
Date: 15 April 2019