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Pipeline Potential Leak Detection Technologies: Assessment and Perspective in the Nigeria Niger Delta Region

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Author(s): Jasper Agbakwuru

Journal: Journal of Environmental Protection
ISSN 2152-2197

Volume: 02;
Issue: 08;
Start page: 1055;
Date: 2011;
Original page

Keywords: Pipeline | Leaks | Detection | Niger Delta | Oil Spill | Oil Pollution

ABSTRACT
This paper examines the advances in pipeline third party encroachment alert systems and leak control methods in the oil/gas industry. It also highlights the extent of spill/pollution issues in the Niger Delta region due to intended/unin- tended damages and suggests a possible method of control. It is believed that the best option to avoid pollution due to pipeline failure is to ensure that hydrocarbon does not exit from the pipeline. With the different methods considered in this review, acoustic monitoring of change in the operational sound generated from a given pipeline section is suggested to be practicable to identifying sound abnormalities of third party encroachments. One established challenge of the acoustic system for buried pipelines protection is attenuation of acoustic transmission. An attempt to check the performance of an acoustic transmission on steel pipelines submerged in water points to a similar research on plastic water pipelines that attenuation is small compared with pipe buried in soil. Fortunately, Niger Delta of Nigeria is made of wetland, swamps and shallow water and could therefore offer an opportunity to deploy acoustic system for the safety of pipelines against third party attacks in this region. However, the numerous configuration and quantity of oil installation in this region imply that cost of application will be enormous. It is therefore suggested that a combination of impressed alternating cycle current (IACC) which traces encroachment on the pipeline coating and an acoustic system be used to manage intended and unintended pipeline potential damages. The IACC should be used for flow lines and other short distance delivery lines within the oilfield, while the relatively large diameter and long length delivery, trunk and transmission lines should be considered for acoustic protection. It is, however, noted that further efforts are required to reduce cost and improve effectiveness of these systems.
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