Key pipeline leak detection stats for Q1 2022

Key pipeline leak detection updates

The first quarter of the year has been productive, with the conversation around carbon capture and storage (CCS) growing, multiple leak and theft events detected, plus we returned to Pipeline Technology Conference (ptc) 2022 in Berlin for the first time since 2019.

Quarterly achievements

  • Over twenty theft events detected
  • Eight Site Acceptance Tests (SATs) completed
  • Six Factory Acceptance Tests (FATs) completed
  • Simulated and real leak tests detected successfully on hydrogen pipelines
  • Leak location training delivered to multiple customers

With 2022 well and truly underway, here are some handpicked stories from the first quarter about how we’ve been supporting our customers globally.

Pipeline rupture and illegal tapping points detected rapidly

Using Atmos International (Atmos) hardware and software one customer in Africa has been able to locate both a pipeline rupture and several tapping points for theft. The pipeline, carrying a mixture of crude oil, condensate and water uses Atmos Eclipse units with Atmos Wave Flow.

Atmos Eclipse acquires data from the flow meters and intrusive pressure sensors. This data is then transferred to the leak detection system (LDS) server via cellular communications. During the initial data review and tuning, five active illegal tapping points were detected.

Suspecting a rupture, the customer contacted Atmos to confirm. We responded within 13 minutes, with an estimated leak location of 8.3 km based on Atmos Wave Flow data. After using a helicopter to fly over the pipeline a large fire was observed near the 8 km mark. The ground surveillance team then confirmed the rupture to be at 8.6 km, demonstrating the high location accuracy of the LDS.

Multiple pipeline theft events detected and located globally

There has been a variety of pipeline theft events that have been detected and located this quarter. Aside from the tapping points discovered in Africa, we’ve seen customers in Mexico discovering theft activities also. The first theft event was discovered 60 meters from the closest point reported by Atmos engineers. A burned-out truck was discovered along with stolen equipment, robbed from three stations along the pipeline in an attempt to sabotage the LDS. The second tapping point was found 166 meters from Atmos’ reported point, with a ¾ inch hose attached to it. It was detected by an online system but confirmed offline by experienced Atmos Theft Net engineers.

In Romania, theft activity was detected during pumping operations by Atmos Wave Flow online. Through the tuning of the system, performance has been maximized, which helped contribute towards discovering the theft. From the data it could be seen that the thieves had been stealing a large amount of product and filling up multiple containers.

Another customer, based in Costa Rica, using Atmos Theft Net service discovered two tapping points in the same location. Since the pipelines run in parallel to each other, the thieves had put a tapping point on both. They were found 310 meters away from the reported location.

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