A 13.17 mile (21.20 km) long, 12" diameter black oil pipeline, owned by Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL), transports Petroleum products such as Furnace Oil & Light Diesel Oil from the Trombay refinery to the Vashi terminal. The pipeline passes underneath Mumbai, one of the world's most populated cities.

The operational safety, monitoring & maintenance are a concern for the pipeline operator. Operating the pipeline safely is of paramount importance to HPCL. The pipeline was constructed with the consideration of safe operation and regular maintenance regimes are in place to ensure the physical integrity.

Although the pipeline integrity has a very low risk of being compromised through operational activity, there is a potential for loss of product by external interference e.g. theft/pilferage. This paper examines one such case. The pipeline was shut down and the pipeline integrity monitoring system indicated that leaks were occurring. However, due to the low pressure during the shutdown and small volume of the withdrawals, identifying the location of the theft was challenging. In an attempt to locate the theft, an analysis was made using archived data and an RTTM Leak Detection system. The background, methodology and results will be presented.

Pipelines in India and Safety

The most cost effective, energy efficient and environmental friendly way for transporting petroleum products in India is through the use of pipelines. With 30% lower charges than rail and 4-5 times cheaper than road transportation, pipelines are a major method of transportation for the oil industry in India. Use of pipelines has eased the overburdened rail and road infrastructure and reduced the environmental impacts intrinsic in rail and road transportation. The network of pipelines throughout India helps maintain the supply chain of crude oil, petroleum products and gas within the country and thus pipelines play an important role in balancing supply and demand across the country. With more than 8,751 miles (14,083 km) of product pipelines, 9,532 miles (15,340 km) of natural gas pipelines, 5,878 miles (9,460 km) of crude pipelines and 1,367 miles (2,200 km) of LPG pipeline the pipeline network in India is growing in parallel with its oil industry.

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