Different leak detection technologies offer different benefits and limitations. Popular options include real-time transient models, statistical analysis, and negative pressure wave systems. This paper outlines the successful integration of a statistical volume balance system and a negative pressure wave system on a crude oil pipeline. The results of the Site Acceptance Test validate the combined system's increased reliability, detection speed, location accuracy and sensitivity.

This paper will also examine the benefits and technical challenges of combining these two technologies. The field application of the two systems on a 170 km (105.63 mi) crude oil pipeline will be explained in detail, along with the results of controlled product withdrawal tests on the pipeline.


The US Department of Transportation Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration Final Report of Leak Detection Study [1] correctly suggests that the recurring theme of false leak alarms in pipeline leak detection can be solved by the combination of technologies - utilizing multiple redundant and independent leak detection systems.

Different pipeline types require different leak detection methods to assure detection. Key factors that influence the performance of different leak detection technologies include:

  1. Number of sensors on the pipeline

  2. Topology of the pipeline

  3. Accuracy, repeatability and response time of sensors on the pipeline

  4. Sensor digitization

  5. Availability and quality of a telecommunication system

  6. End conditions such as tanks at the outlet or positive displacement pumps at the inlet

The impact of the above factors will vary depending on the location of the leak and the operating condition of the pipeline at the time of the leak. For this reason, the leak detection technologies that Atmos offers can be combined to make a specific multi-method leak detection system that is optimized to detect all types of leaks on a pipeline.

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