Calgary' Hifi Engineering has entered the competitive pipeline leak detection market with its own ultrasensitive leak detection system. Hifi uses fibre-optic cables to detect pinhole pipeline leaks within seconds.
In addition, the system is also capable of alerting operators about nearby construction or earthquakes that could disturb or diminish the integrity of pipe.
Steven Koles, Hifi’s chief executive, said “if we can improve safety records in the industry and we can be a part of that — improving social license to be able to build new pipelines and expand existing pipelines — is very key.”
Hifi noted that its sensors can be installed on top of pipes, inside or next to them, and can differentiate regular noises, such as nearby traffic, from leaks that trigger alarms and quickly alert operators.
Koles is realistic about the readiness of traditionally conservative pipeline operators to adopt new technologies. At the same time he says the cost of $10 to $15 per metre in a new pipeline project where trenches have already been dug is little more than a rounding error in large projects.