Chapter 7
Pipeline Leak Detection System


This chapter discusses various aspects of pipeline leak detection. Emphasis has been put on the widely accepted computational pipeline monitoring (CPM) techniques and their implementation considerations. The techniques and implementation of leak detection are presented objectively to enable engineers to make informed decisions. Specifically, it is intended to provide the following information on the:

• most widely used leak detection techniques and their working principles

• evaluation and selection method of a leak detection system, particularly the computational pipeline monitoring (CPM) methodologies described in API Publication 1130.

• various aspects of the implementation of CPM

• brief discussion of emerging leak detection technologies

Pipeline leak detection is only one aspect of a pipeline leak management program; it encompasses leak prevention, detection and mitigation procedures. In order to minimize the consequences of a leak, pipeline companies require a comprehensive leak management program. A leak detection system by itself does not improve on a pipeline's integrity nor reduce potential failures of a pipeline system. However, such a program will not only help prevent and monitor the degradation of a pipeline that may eventually lead to failure, but will also minimize the consequences of pipeline leaks if they occur.

Pipeline companies minimize leaks through a leak prevention program. The main causes of leaks are: third party damages such as excavation equipment hitting the pipeline, geophysical forces such as floods and landslides, improper control of the pipeline system, and pipe corrosion. Proper control of third-party damage is achieved through: marking of the right of way; education of employees, contractors, and the public; and effective use of systems such as “One-Call.” Geophysical forces cannot be controlled but can be monitored and their effects can be mitigated. Corrosion control and defect assessment are significant subjects and are discussed in separate volumes in this monograph series.

  • 7.1 Introduction
  • 7.2 Pipeline Leaks
  • 7.3 Leak Detection System Overview
  • 7.4 Computational Pipeline Monitoring Methods
  • 7.5 Factors Affecting Performance
  • 7.6 Performance Evaluation Methods
  • 7.7 Implementation Requirements
  • 7.8 User Interface
  • 7.9 Operational Considerations and Emergency Responses
  • 7.10 Summary

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