External Leak Detection Systems (LDS) have been included in American Petroleum Institute (API) standards for the first time, and we are delighted! This is a major milestone for DAS technology and great news for enhancing pipeline safety in the oil and gas pipeline industry.
The API develops standards to enhance operational and environmental safety, efficiency and sustainability, and it plays a vital role in promoting the performance standardisation of leak detection systems. The trade association revised two standards in April 2022: RP1130 Computational Pipeline Monitoring for Liquids and RP1175 Pipeline Leak Detection-Program Management to now include fibre-optic sensing such as DAS.
Both standards provide pipeline operators with critical guidelines to support early and accurate leak detection. Until now, these standards have solely focussed on internal-based leak detection systems, such as mass balance and real time transient modelling. But for the first-time external systems such as DAS have been officially recognised as a practical and robust solution for leak detection – something many pipeline operators have known for some time.
DAS Detects Small Leaks Fast
Small oil and gas leaks can cause big problems particularly related to environmental damage. Costs for clean-up can easily run into millions of dollars. So, speed and accuracy of detection are essential for minimising the negative effects of leaks. The updated standards recognise the ability of these external DAS systems to detect smaller leaks faster when compared with traditional internal systems, and they provide specific performance metrics that pipeline operators can follow.
For example, RP1175 indicates targets and performance metrics that an operator might apply to a pipeline. While internal systems should detect leak sizes of +/-200 barrels/h with a location accuracy of +/-5 miles (steady flow), external systems should detect leak sizes of +/-2 barrels/h with a location accuracy of +/-10 meters (steady flow).
Using DAS systems enables pipeline operators to locate the leak with an accuracy that allows a single digging operation for repairing purposes, and prevent further losses and environmental damage.
The advantages of DAS are widely recognised by pipeline operators and it is already being used in leak detection applications worldwide. However, this official acceptance by API validates the technology, giving operators 100% confidence in its accuracy and speed of detection.
To learn how improve the integrity and safety of your pipeline with DAS visit https://www.fotech.com/solutions/pipelines/.
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