The problem:

Pipeline networks are the most economic and safest transport systems for mineral oil, gases and other fluid products. As a means of long-distance transport, pipelines have to fulfill high demands of safety, reliability and efficiency.

Most pipelines, regardless of what they transport, are designed with a typical life span of 25 years. When they do begin to fail, they do so slowly beginning with leaks at poor construction joints, corrosion points and small structural material cracks, and gradually progress to a catastrophic ending. In addition, there are also other reasons for leak disasters such as technological accidents, terrorist activities, sabotage, or theft.

In general leaks that occur in pipelines have the potential to cause the following problems and damages:

  • Loss of human lives.
  • Environmental damage.
  • Fines and financial liabilities.
  • Lost revenues due to spilled product.
  • Interruptions in the operations and reduced throughput.
  • Higher operational costs.
  • Damage to the corporate reputation.
Our solution:

The primary purpose of a leak detection system (LDS) is to assist pipeline operators in detecting and localizing leaks. LDS provides an alarm and displays other related data to the pipeline controllers in order to aid in decision-making processes. Pipeline LDS can also enhance productivity and system reliability thanks to reduced downtime and inspection time. Therefore, LDS is an important aspect of pipeline technology and daily operations.

Our company offers LDS that cover all relevant methods described by the American Petroleum Institute document “RP 1130” and the guidelines published by Pipeline Research Council International:

  • Internal methods:
    • Monitoring of operational data:
      • Pressure wave (rarefaction wave) analysis – this method is based on the principle of detection and analysis of pressure waves (rarefaction waves) that occur in the pipelines during leaks.
      • Mass balance analysis – in this method the flow meters are used to measure the product’s flow and mass entering and exiting the pipeline. Deviations in these measurements are then used to determine the presence of a leak.
    • Computational pipeline monitoring:
      • Real-time transient modeling – this method uses mathematical models of the flow within a pipeline using basic physical laws such as conservation of mass, conservation of momentum, and conservation of energy.
  • External methods:
    • Fiber optic cable – this method uses spectral analysis of fiber optic cable (placed along the length of the pipeline) in order to detect temperature changes and vibrations in the ground surrounding the fiber optic cable.
Your benefits:
  • Environmentally safe operations.
  • Reduction of financial liabilities that might result from spills.
  • Saving money by preventing large scale incidents.
  • Maintenance of good reputation.
  • Compliance with governmental and commercial regulations.
  • Efficient and stable enterprise operations and reliable throughput.
  • Reduction in the frequency of repairs.
  • Minimization of human error.
  • Prevention of possible future problems and incidents.
  • Design of the right system that fits the needs of the customer.
  • Determination of optimum operation parameters.
  • Significantly lower operational costs.

In order to better understand our different leak detection solutions we had created the following comparison:

Criteria
Pressure wave (rarefaction wave) analysis
Mass balance analysis
Real-time transient modeling
Fiber optic cable
Detection time
Fast (few minutes)
Slow (20-60 minutes)
Average (10-30 minutes)
Fast (few minutes)
Sensitivity
High (0.5-1% of throughput)
Below average (1-2% of throughput)
Above average (1% of throughput)
High (0.5-1% of throughput)
Reliability
High
Low
Above average
Below average
Accuracy
High (~0.5-1% of protected section)
Low (between monitoring stations)
Above average (~1% of protected section)
High (~0.5-1% of protected section)
Robustness
High
Low
Low
Low
Installation complexity
Simple
Complex
Complex
Complex
Ease of operations
Simple
Average
Average
Average
Costs
  • Setup – average
  • Running – low
  • Maintenance – low
  • Setup – high
  • Running – low
  • Maintenance – low
  • Setup – average
  • Running – average
  • Maintenance – average
  • Setup – high
  • Running – average
  • Maintenance – average
Recommended usage
  • Can be used for a wide range of pipelines (short and long, liquid and gas).
  • Can be installed on new and existing pipelines.
  • Very well suited for pipelines that have limited communication capabilities at the intermediary technical sites.
  • One of the best options for protection of pipeline’s water crossings (rivers, lakes, etc.).
  • Short pipelines (especially those located inside refineries, chemical plants and other industrial facilities).
  • Well suited for pipelines that already have installed flow meters.
  • Better suited for pipelines transporting liquid products.
  • Can be used for a wide range of pipelines (short and long, liquid and gas).
  • Very good match for pipelines that transport products in batches.
  • Well suited for pipelines that already have installed flow meters, pressure transducers and temperature sensors.
  • Can be used for a wide range of pipelines (short and long, liquid and gas).
  • Applicable for new pipelines or pipelines that have existing fiber optics cable(s) already installed.
  • Very well suited for long pipelines that have extended sections without intermediary technical sites.
Scenarios applicability
  • Environmental protection – good
  • Industrial safety – average
  • Theft protection – well suited
  • Environmental protection – average
  • Industrial safety – average
  • Theft protection – low
  • Environmental protection – average
  • Industrial safety – average
  • Theft protection – average
  • Environmental protection – above average
  • Industrial safety – well suited
  • Theft protection – average

Check our criteria and requirements for leak detection systems and methods to learn more about this comparison.

Need some help with leak detection?
Contact us
The problem:

Operation of pipelines presents various potential risks to the environment, such as product spills to the surrounding ground and water ways.

The accidental release of crude oil or petroleum products to the environment can cause a number of problems to the environment and to human health, and can gain a very high profile with the public. Crude oil, petroleum products and gas have potential to combust, catch fire or explode, creating an immediate hazard. They also may contain a variety of toxic chemicals such as benzene, hydrogen sulphide, toluene and xylene.

Thus, management of these risks is critical for safe and economical sound pipeline operations and avoid potential fines.

Our solution:

Rapid response and precise technical actions are keys to limiting the negative environmental impact that can be caused by raptures, spills and other types of damage to the pipelines.

Quick detection and accurate localization of leaks ensures that operators can rapidly dispatch monitoring means (such as UAVs) and their maintenance staff to the precise location of the detected incident and thus limit the impact to the environment, minimize the financial liability of the operations, and control the reputational damages.

Of particular importance is the ability to quickly locate and mitigate leaks that occur near water ways (such as streams, rivers, lakes, etc.) because spilled products are much harder to clean up once they are in the water and can spread over great distances and areas. Such spills usually result in multi million dollars fines and very expensive clean up operations.

Furthermore, installation of a leak detection system can ensure compliance with the possible governmental regulations and requirements, as well as internal standards of the pipeline operator.

Your benefits:
  • Environmentally safe operations.
  • Saving money by preventing large scale incidents.
  • Maintenance of good reputation.
  • Compliance with governmental and commercial regulations.
Need some help with environmental protection?
Contact us
The problem:

Oil and oil products theft can result in huge economic losses, human casualties due to explosions and poisoning and extensive environmental pollution.

Pipeline theft is often done by experienced criminals that use sophisticated equipment and methods to avoid detection. In many cases, thieves try to mask their illegal operations, for example, by staying below the flow meter detection limits.

Our solution:

Leak detection systems are the first line of defence and provide detection of illegal activities that result in theft of transported products.

Fast (measured in just a few minutes) and accurate detection (down to tens of meters) of illegal taps to the pipeline can ensure that security, technical personnel or aerial drones will be rapidly dispatched to the zone of the illegal activity and thus limit the amount of stolen product, as well as minimize the collateral financial losses and reputational damage due to the product’s possible spillage into the environment.

To counter sophisticated approaches used by thieves, it is recommended to use a combination of leak detection methods that provide superposition of individual benefits when used together.

Our team will identify your exact anti-theft needs and will provide a customized solution tailor made to your specific needs, for example:

  • The pressure wave (rarefaction wave) analysis method can quickly detect rapid outtake of products, while the real-time transient modeling method can detect slow siphoning operations.
  • Application of fiber optic cable method (that can be used to detect events preceding the actual outflow of product, such as presence of unauthorized personnel and digging operations by machinery in the no-access-zone) together with the pressure wave (rarefaction wave) analysis method (that will detect and localize the illegal tap once it is made).
  • For critical sections of pipelines (crossings of water ways, highways, railroads, technical sites, etc.) it is recommended to integrate leak detection systems with video monitoring, autonomous aerial drones, and smart fencing which provide increased level of protection and enhanced situational awareness for the operators.
Your benefits:
  • Saving money by minimizing product loss.
  • Reducing financial liabilities that might result from spill.
  • Minimization of possible reputation damages.
Need some help with theft protection?
Contact us
The problem:

Every pipeline operator strives to achieve 100% operational effectiveness and a goal of zero incidents. Various standards, recommendations, methodologies, tools and technologies are used to ensure safe operations and effective maintenance of the equipment.

Among these strategies is application of the in-line inspection tools (aka “smart pigs”) to determine the pipeline’s condition. These inspection tools can detect corrosion, cracking or other pipeline defects, but they come short when it comes to prevention of human errors that can result in the damages to the pipeline.

Many such human errors and subsequent incidents can be prevented through monitoring the vicinity grounds around the pipeline and the critical no-access-zone.

Our solution:

24/7 monitoring of the pipeline’s vicinity and the no-access-zone provides detection of Third Party Interference (TPI) and thus can be used to prevent possible breaches and damages to the actual pipeline or other critical technical infrastructure and equipment.

For example, the fiber optic cable method can be used to achieve real-time status, and continuous monitoring of pipeline’s grounds and ensures prevention of industrial incidents through the early detection of human activities such as access by unauthorized personnel, operation of heavy machinery, digging or other construction operations.

Additional systems such as onsite video monitoring, autonomous aerial drones, and smart fencing can be used to provide additional levels of protection of the pipeline or its particular sections.

Like in the case with environmental safety, the installation of a leak detection system can ensure compliance with the possible governmental regulations and requirements, as well as internal standards of the pipeline operator.

Your benefits:
  • Safe enterprise operations.
  • Reduction of incidents.
  • Prolonged life of equipment and machinery.
  • Human and environmental safety.
  • Saving money through minimization of financial liabilities.
  • Maintenance of good reputation.
Need some help with industrial safety?
Contact us
The problem:

Success of a project is dependent on the correctness and completeness of the initial information about the project’s location and settings. Therefore, inspections of the working areas become an integral part of any project and provide the necessary information for the project design and work plan required for various construction activities (such as determination of equipment’s locations, access points, identification of possible obstacles, etc.).

Furthermore, the correct operation of a leak detection system depends on various operational parameters and conditions of the pipeline. Thus, the sensitivity study of how these variable factors can affect the operation of the leak detection system helps to remove uncertainty and provides a clear understanding of the best configuration and settings necessary to achieve the highest levels of system’s performance.

Our solution:

Site surveys are conducted by experienced engineers that examine and record using extensive site survey documents all the relevant information about the pipeline and the context environment (such as ground composition and elevation, presence of natural obstacles, civilian buildings or industrial sites, available communications, power sources, etc.). Possible threats and scenarios are also considered and evaluated (for example ease of accessibility, proximity of industrial sites, general social aspects in the area, etc.).

All this information is then used during the design stage of the project to determine the proper pipeline’s characteristics and recommendations for modes of operation, as well as select the best suited leak detection methods or their combinations.

In addition, detailed and extensive sensitivity studies are carried in the lab with the application of specialized pipeline simulation software. Such studies allow to verify the correctness of survey data and confirm input parameters, as well as determine accurate configuration of the leak detection system and its operational parameters for any given section of a pipeline or a whole network of pipelines.

Our company has developed a special pipeline simulation complex that utilizes custom pipeline simulation software for very accurate simulation of operation for any given section of the pipeline or a whole network of pipelines. The custom software simulates virtual pipeline using:

  • Laws of balance (Mass balance, Force Balance)
  • Mathematical equations for pressure and flow
  • Discrete computer model
Your benefits:
  • Design of the right system that fits the needs of the customer.
  • Determination of optimum operation parameters.
  • Selection of best leak detection technologies.
  • Minimization of human error.
  • Exposure of possible fraud.
  • Costs reduction by expenditures optimization.
Need some help with site surveying and sensitivity studies?
Contact us
The problem:

Maintaining the integrity of pipelines and all of its components is a huge task and a big challenge for any operator. Proper maintenance requires daily and sometimes even hourly attention from engineers, technicians and other personnel.

Our solution:

Regular technical visits and inspections of the pipeline’s components and active equipment (such as pressure transducers, flow meters, etc.), as well as continuous analysis of monitored data (such as flow, pressure and other critical pipeline parameters) can provide important information about the current state of pipeline operations.

Early detection of problems in the operation of the monitored equipment and warnings about deviations in the observed parameters allow for proactive and timely repairs or replacement of the faulty components and necessary adjustments of the operational parameters.

Our company provides full spectrum maintenance that includes regular on-site technical visits and inspections, as well as off-site monitoring of the customer’s pipelines, equipment and systems.

Furthermore, as part of our complete solution we provide regular and timely software updates and relevant systems upgrades.

Your benefits:
  • Stable operations and reliable throughput.
  • Reduction in the frequency of repairs.
  • Prevention of possible future problems and incidents.
  • Optimum levels of enterprise activities.
  • Significantly lower operational costs.
Need some help with maintenance?
Contact us