New Leak Detection and Monitoring Technology Ensures Safety of Pipelines

Markham, Canada, October 27, 2010 --( Avateq Corp., a Markham based engineering company, introduces a modern and effective pipeline monitoring system WaveControl. The system utilizes the latest scientific advances in pressure waves analysis.

Pipeline systems are the most economical and effective way of transportation of fluid and gas-based product over long distances. Due to fire and explosive nature of many transported products, any failure in a pipeline system may result in ecological pollution of the environment and health risk to the personnel and local population. Physical wear and corrosion, technological and natural disasters, and unauthorized taps into pipelines are the most common causes of structural integrity failures. Any delay in identifying the leak and accurately locating the damaged section can lead to major economical losses and possible irreparable ecological catastrophe. In calculation of economical figures of leakage, indirect effects will often turn out to be many times greater than direct losses due to reliance of major industry enterprises on oil or gas products. Therefore, integrity monitoring as a preventative measure is an important task in maintenance and exploitation of any pipeline transport system.

Several methods of pipeline leak detection have been introduced over the years. Most of the installed systems use a real time transient model (RTTM) or analyze pressure and flow fluctuations. The RTTM has been the model of choice for many years as the first relatively accurate monitoring system and lack of alternatives. The system uses mathematical models of the flow and relies on physical laws of the transported products within a pipeline. Despite its popularity, the RTTM cannot provide fast response time and accurately identify the location of the leakage and requires constant control of highly qualified specialists to validate system responses to triggered events and to adjust the mathematical model to compensate for changes in physical characteristics.

Introduction of a pressure fluctuation analysis model has significantly reduced the cost of maintenance and operation of a pipeline leak detection system. The model calculates pressure drops on the borders of the monitored sections. Unfortunately, the model is also sensitive to flow and pressure drops due to changes in product characteristics and technological processes and unable to identify the leak location.

New WaveControl system presented by Avateq is based on pressure waves analysis. When a pipeline wall breakdown occurs, fluid or gas escape in a form of a high velocity jet. This produces pressure waves which propagate in both directions within the pipeline and can be detected and analyzed. The operating principles of WaveControl are based on the very important characteristic of pressure waves to travel over long distances at the speed of sound guided by the pipeline walls. The amplitude of a pressure wave increases with the leak size. WaveControl is a fully automated system that consists of high speed pressure sensors and several controllers. A complex mathematical algorithm analyzes data and is able in a matter of seconds to point to the location of the leakage with accuracy less than 50m (164 ft). Experimental data has shown the system's ability to detect leaks less than 3mm (0.1 inch) in diameter and operate with the lowest false alarm rate in the industry – less than 1 false alarm per year.

Avateq Corp.
Alex Babakhanov