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Title: Best Practices in Pipeline Leak Detection

Publication Date:
Research Org.:
National Energy Technology Lab. (NETL), Pittsburgh, PA, and Morgantown, WV (United States). In-house Research
Sponsoring Org.:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
Resource Type:
Resource Relation:
Conference: Best Practices in Pipeline Leak Detection. Fort Collins, CO, September 27, 2016.
Country of Publication:
United States
natural gas, pipelines, methane, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs)

Citation Formats

Pekney, Natalie. Best Practices in Pipeline Leak Detection. United States: N. p., 2016. Web.
Pekney, Natalie. Best Practices in Pipeline Leak Detection. United States.
Pekney, Natalie. Tue . "Best Practices in Pipeline Leak Detection". United States. doi:.
title = {Best Practices in Pipeline Leak Detection},
author = {Pekney, Natalie},
abstractNote = {},
doi = {},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {Tue Sep 27 00:00:00 EDT 2016},
month = {Tue Sep 27 00:00:00 EDT 2016}

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Please see Document Availability for additional information on obtaining the full-text document. Library patrons may search WorldCat to identify libraries that hold this conference proceeding.

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  • A model-based leak detection system has been in operation on the Solvay et Cie ethylene pipeline from Antwerp to Jemeppe on Sambre since 1989. The leak detection system, which is the commercial product PLDS of Modisette Associations, Inc., was originally installed by the supplier. Since 1991, all system maintenance and configuration changes have been done by Solvay et Cie personnel. Many leak tests have been performed, and adjustments have been made in the configuration and the automatic tuning parameters. The leak detection system is currently able to detect leaks of 2 tonnes/hour in 11 minutes with accurate location. Larger leaksmore » are detected in about 2 minutes. Leaks between 0.5 and 1 tonne per hour are detected after several hours. (The nominal mass flow in the pipeline is 15 tonnes/hour, with large fluctuations.) Leaks smaller than 0.5 tonnes per hour are not detected, with the alarm thresholds set at levels to avoid false alarms. The major inaccuracies of the leak detection system appear to be associated with the ethylene temperatures.« less
  • This paper introduces a corrosion-resistant double-wall composite subsea pipe that provides the pipe with secondary containment and leak detection capability. Tables are presented that describe the pressures attainable with the mechanically coupled double-wall composite subsea pipe illustrated in several figures. A description is provided of the construction of the composite subsea pipe and the mechanical coupling assembly used to rapidly connect it during ocean deployment. The paper concludes with a series of questions and answers that provide cost and production information useful for feasibility studies that evaluate factors relating to the replacement of steel subsea pipe with one that promisesmore » improved performance.« less
  • Petroleum fluids in producing and gathering systems are frequently transported by steel low diameter pipelines. These pipelines operate without permanent, continuous supervision for leaks. The leaked volume is usually high before the leak can be observed and stopped. High leak volumes pollute the environment and increase production costs for operators. This paper describes the acoustic emission leak detection system for low pressure flowlines in oil and gas gathering installations. The developed system detects acoustic emission signals generated by leaks. Specific features of the system are discussed. The system is currently tested in a closed two-phase flowloop. Up-to-date results of systemmore » testing are reported. The paper is completed with conclusions and discussion of potential applications of the system.« less
  • A combined leak-detection, gas-composition-tracking system, PIMS, has been developed, installed and operated for two wet-gas pipelines in the North Sea. One system has been operating for almost 3 years with no false leak indications to date. The system is based on a simplified, transient, multiphase, on-line model. The code is small and robust and can run on the same computer as the existing control system. PIMS also tracks gas composition so that the onshore terminal can properly blend low quality gas (high nitrogen content) with richer gases so that the minimum-Wobbe contractual obligations are met. In a field test ofmore » this system, the model was able to predict arrival times of packets of low-Wobbe gas to within 1 percent. PIMS also estimates the liquid content of the pipeline and informs the operator when the main trunkline requires pigging to reduce liquid hold-up. The model also provides an estimate of the slug size in front of the pig. Another complementary, on-line model, VO, uses the liquid content estimates. VO controls the flowrate via the wellhead chokes to prevent or minimize ramp-up slugs from forming in infield flowlines. It also controls the flowrate from each well in order to minimize sand production and to keep wells from loading up. Finally, it selects wells and their flow rates in a manner that will control the gas blend to insure that the minimum Wobbe targets are met.« less
  • Historical records from the Department of Energy Hanford Nuclear Reservation (in eastern WA) indicate that ruptures in buried waste transfer pipelines were common between the 1940s and 1980s, which resulted in unplanned releases (UPRs) of tank: waste at numerous locations. A number of methods are commercially available for the detection of active or recent leaks, however, there are no methods available for the detection of leaks that occurred many years ago. Over the decades, leaks from the Hanford pipelines were detected by visual observation of fluid on the surface, mass balance calculations (where flow volumes were monitored), and incidental encountersmore » with waste during excavation or drilling. Since these detection methods for historic leaks are so limited in resolution and effectiveness, it is likely that a significant number of pipeline leaks have not been detected. Therefore, a technology was needed to detect the specific location of unknown pipeline leaks so that characterization technologies can be used to identify any risks to groundwater caused by waste released into the vadose zone. A proof-of-concept electromagnetic geophysical survey was conducted at an UPR in order to image a historical leak from a waste transfer pipeline. The survey was designed to test an innovative electromagnetic geophysical technique that could be used to rapidly map the extent of historical leaks from pipelines within the Hanford Site complex. This proof-of-concept test included comprehensive testing and analysis of the transient electromagnetic method (TEM) and made use of supporting and confirmatory geophysical methods including ground penetrating radar, magnetics, and electrical resistivity characterization (ERC). The results for this initial proof-of-concept test were successful and greatly exceeded the expectations of the project team by providing excellent discrimination of soils contaminated with leaked waste despite the interference from an electrically conductive pipe.« less