Aerial Leak Detection for Significantly Improved Integrity Assurance

Chad Lensing, John Alkire
2006 Proceedings of Abu Dhabi International Petroleum Exhibition and Conference   unpublished
TX 75083-3836, U.S.A., fax 01-972-952-9435. Abstract BP gas production operations in North America manages over 15,000 miles of onshore pipelines that make up our vast, complex, and aging gas gathering networks. Surveying these for leaks presents a huge resource challenge using current ground based technology and, in turn, impacts the assurance of the safety and integrity of these operations. The Exploration and Production Technology Group evaluated new leak detection technologies using laser,
more » ... ogies using laser, thermal imaging camera and a high speed gas sampling detector that were deployed on aircraft and used global positioning systems coordinates to survey gas gathering pipelines. Field trials on gas gathering systems in the North Texas, Anadarko asset showed that the laser and gas sampling based leak detection systems were the most accurate, but the video imaging from the thermal camera made a powerful statement. Helicopters proved to be more suitable in leak detection surveys on gas gathering pipelines than that of fixed-wing aircraft. The aerial leak detection technologies produce a significant increase in efficiency and productivity in managing the integrity of BP's gas gathering systems. While that improves business performance, perhaps more importantly is the fact that small gas leaks can be easily found before they become big ones. That reduces environmental damage and the potential for leaks to impact the public. The development and implementation of aerial leak detection in BP is being recognized as an integrity tool in providing a significantly improved integrity assurance to its gas gathering operations.
doi:10.2523/101283-ms fatcat:64eb6jvd65hqrebs7ew7napnu4