Detecting Leaks in Pipelines and Other Facilities

Burst Pipeline

Leaks in pipelines and vessels can cause disasters as well as significant waste, downtime and damages to the entire infrastructure. As a result, prompt and accurate leak detection is always a priority especially in chemical and petroleum industries.

Detecting leaks in pipelines and other facilities

Leakages might have occurred because of the natural wear and tear (including corrosion). It’s also possible that the leaks and defects happened during the manufacturing and processing of the pipes. For example, welding and bending processes might have introduced minor discontinuities and defects to the pipeline before it’s installed in the first place.

The leaks which have come from cracks and other forms of damages should be detected early on. And because the pipeline should stay intact, non-destructive testing methods are used to identify and locate the leaks. One such method is ultrasonic testing. This method is fast, straightforward and only requires simple equipment, which is why this technique is widely used in leak detection. In this technique, it detects the ultrasonic deviation from the background noise. If that deviation is present and detected, it will trigger an alarm and inform the technician about the defect.

This ultrasonic testing method is often used in outdoor environments such as onshore and offshore gas and oil platforms. In these environments the method can effectively inform you of the leak rate and consequently the size of the leak. The method still has its own sensitivities and room for discrepancies, which is why a good equipment and skilled technician should handle the inspection. For example, some areas or depending on the actual conditions there could be a lot of background noise coming from the friction and rotation during operations. This background noise will then interfere with the accuracy and interpretability of the leak detection results. There are also cases when complementary inspection methods are employed to verify the information about the leaks.

Here you can quickly browse through our available leak detection equipment (including ultrasound inspection kits). You can also enquire here at NDT Equipment Sales for technical assistance.