Alternatives to Current Leak Detection Approaches for Hydrotesting

Tue, April 15, 2014

Hydrotesting is a key component of pipeline integrity management as one of the primary methods used by pipeline operators during the commissioning process of a line segment, serving to validate the maximum allowable operating pressure (MAOP) of existing pipelines. One element of this test is to identify water leaks in a timely fashion so that they can be fixed before the pipeline is returned to service.

The most commonly-cited method for leak detection during hydrotesting employs sulfur hexafluoride (SF6) as a tracer compound. This tracer is a powerful greenhouse gas and a project was initiated by PRCI to identify and explore possible alternatives to the use of SF6 for leak detection. These alternatives could be in the form of a different tracer compound or the use of a different leak detection technology. The objectives of the project were to identify candidates and then to choose two or three for further exploration after a tradeoff study was performed to grade each technology against a set of requirements.

Key Results
The final report contains a comprehensive evaluation of the alternative approaches that were identified. The final report is under review for members only.