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Pipeline Technology Journal 2-2015

Latest developments and news from the pipeline industry

RESEARCH / DEVELOPMENT / TECHNOLOGY PIPELINE MONITORING TECHNIQUES As earlier shown in figure 1 above, pipeline monitoring techniques are cat- egorised in two groups, external interference and leak detection methods. A critical review of the literature shows that a lot of work has been done on leak detection system. Following the recent rise in the rate of external interference to pipelines, it is reasonable that more attention should be given to external interference monitoring. Methods used to monitor pipe- lines against external interference include: seismic sensor monitoring, continuous fiber-optic sensors buried alongside the pipe, satellite surveil- lance, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV), methods of telephone calls prior to digging and impressed alternating cycle current (IACC). A combination of two or more of these methods is recommended to provide more robust protection of pipelines. Detailed discussion of most of these methods could be found in Eze et. al [10]. The choice of pipeline monitoring tech- niques depend on various factors including accuracy, reliability, cost of installation, geographic location, vegetation, mode of installation etc. A comparison of the various methods that could help pipeline operators make a good choice has been summarised in the Strength, Weakness, Opportunity and Threat (SWOT) analysis shown in figure 8. The SWOT analysis of the monitoring techniques indicates that the low cost nature of WSN and its compatibility with other technologies position this meth- od as a strong candidate for monitoring pipeline external interference. The comparison is limited to the external interference methods. Figure 7: Pipeline incident counts over 20 years (1995 – 2014). Source: [9] Mass balance No extra cost, used for all modes Optic fiber Continuous monitoring, same form factor as pipeline Acoustic Continuous monitoring. Localized installation of sensors. Used in conjunction with cathodic protection detection Seismic sensors Low-cost, preventive Satellite technique No equipment to install on pipeline UAV Hazardous terrains accessible. Real-time monitoring WSN Low cost, more secure and reliable, little expertise needed to maintain and operate. Easy integration with other techniques. Integrated technique Low-cost, real-time, reliable, secure, preventive, little expertise needed to maintain and operate Mass balance Used for all modes, compliment other techniques Optic fiber Good for routes with optic fiber communication cable Acoustic Best for above-ground but suitable for other types Seismic sensors Ideal for threat monitoring Satellite technique Ideal for third party monitoring UAV Mostly good for above-ground and underwater WSN Can be used for all modes; Underground, above- ground and underwater pipelines. Compatible with other techniques Integrated technique Could be used for all modes; Underground, above- ground and underwater pipelines Mass balance Responsiveness, reliability Optic fiber Expensive, reliability, responsiveness Acoustic Not preventive Seismic sensors Prone to false alarm (reliability) Satellite technique GPS required, expensive UAV Expensive, no regulation & standards WSN Limited resources e.g. power, memory Integrated technique Speed issue Mass balance Most adequate for leakage only Optic fiber Low cost techniques, e.g. WSN Acoustic Proactive and preventive techniques Seismic sensors Reliable techniques preferred Satellite technique Not adequate for forests UAV Low cost techniques, e.g. WSN WSN Potentials could be limited by limited resources Integrated technique Could get expensive if not well planned Figure 8: Summary (SWOT) Analysis Threats OpportunityStrengths Weaknesses PIPELINE TECHNOLOGY JOURNAL 49

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