Natural gas is an important sector in global energy consumption. It supplies nearly one-fourth of all of the energy used in the United States. Due to its efficiency, cleanliness and reliability, natural gas is growing increasingly popular all over the world. More gas delivery infrastructure is constructed to meet the transportation requirement of the ever increasing demand of natural gas. At the same time, the gas delivery infrastructure is rapidly aging. Ensuring natural gas infrastructure reliability is one of the critical needs for the energy sector. Therefore, the reliable and timely detection of the leakage of newly built gas pipeline during the start-up and the failure of any part of the old pipeline is critical to ensure the reliability of the natural gas infrastructure. Two types of approaches, physical inspection and mathematical model simulation, are used to identify leak in gas pipeline. Needless to say, the former method can result in an accurate detection of location and size of the leak, but with the expense of production shut-down and high cost/long time to run the physical detection, which is very crucial in long-distant gas pipeline. The latter approach detects gas leak by solving the governing equations, thus leads to quick evaluation at much lower cost but with higher uncertainty. Our literature review indicated that a simple, practical, and reliable method to detect gas leak under the conditions of no inlet or outlet gas rate available, or no inlet or outlet pressure available, is highly desirable.

In this study, we developed single and multi-rate tests method to detect leak in gas pipeline. By conducting multi-rates tests, the location and size of leak can be detected. The new method can be applied in the conditions of no inlet or outlet rate, or no inlet or outlet pressure available. Since these conditions are not uncommon in gas pipeline transportation, our method provides a quick and low computational cost approach to detect leaks corresponding to different scenarios.

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