Industry, power, transportation and the economy are strongly dependent on the oil industry.
According to BP’s Statistical Review of World Energy (June 2014) report, the world consumes 91,331,000 barrel of oil per day1.
Issues affecting the oil industry are:
• Leak events
• Rupture events
• Pipeline theft or vandalism
• Unmetered areas
• Shutting the pipeline down
• Contaminating land or water
In order to meet the high demand, oil transporters need to be running their pipelines at the optimum standard all the time. They are also constantly in the public eye meaning that operating companies need to invest in the best technologies to ensure the safe and efficient running of their pipelines.
In some regions, such as the USA or Germany, it is a legal requirement for oil companies to install at least one leak detection system. Many countries such as Nigeria, China, Italy, UK and parts of South America are susceptible to pipeline thefts. Some individual companies have decided that having a leak detection system is the best practice to avoid damage to the environment, local people, and their reputation.
The damage can be severe. Incidents such as the Deepwater Horizon and Niger Delta draw attention to the extreme damage that can be caused by an accidental leak or rupture incident. But these incidents also highlight how much of the damage can be prevented if suitable precautionary measures are taken.
A report2 by The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) discussed in detail the 2010 Enbridge pipeline rupture at Marshall, Michigan.
An estimated ‘843,444 gallons’ of crude oil being released into the ‘surrounding wetlands and flowed into Talmadge Creek and the Kalamazoo River’ during the 2010 pipeline rupture at Marshall, Michigan.
Thefts can be equally as catastrophic. In 2010, a botched illegal tapping in San Martin Texmelucan, Mexico caused an explosion. It destroyed 150 homes and killed 30 people, ten of which were from a single family3
Fast and accurate leak detection systems can prevent incidents of this scale if properly installed and maintained.
Why use an Atmos system?
Atmos Pipe was originally developed for use at Shell. Thus the system has always had the challenges of the oil industry at the forefront of its development. Since its creation over 20 years ago, the system has been installed on over 700 pipelines globally. The company’s oil customers include BP, ExxonMobil, Shell, Total, and Petrobras. The company continues to make innovations in leak detection technology, such as the introduction of Atmos Wave and Atmos Wave Flow.
Also available is a range of powerful and user friendly tools to assist operators in monitoring their lines. Whatever the reason, operators can be sure they will be receiving a field proven, state of the art system when they choose an Atmos product. Most systems are also software based, so can be applied to any pipeline without the need to make any physical changes to the existing infrastructure. This makes them easy to retrofit, and simple to expand as the pipelines grow.
Atmos has the following products for the oil industry:
This suite of products provides information about the leak size, location and amount of product lost when a leak or theft event occurs on a pipeline. Atmos technologies use a variety of field tested methods including flow balance, rarefaction wave, model-based methods and pressure step to provide the most effective and efficient leak and theft detection and location.
Atmos Simulation Suite has a range of powerful and user friendly tools to assist operators in monitoring their lines. It can provide online systems with the ability to forecast operating conditions and offline simulations for design, tuning, training and a surge analysis module.
Pipeline pigs or scrapers are frequently used either to maintain the efficiency of the infrastructure or inspect its integrity. Atmos Pig monitors the progress of pigs from the launcher through to the receiver. It gives accurate and up-to-date locations and estimated arrival time to intermediate stations along the pipeline. This ensures the operator can accurately plan operations as the pig passes through the pipeline.
When transporting products through a pipeline, operators could be dealing with many types of products going to different locations with varying ownership. Being able to forecast where batches start and end accurately, the size of the batch volume and the time they are due to arrive at their destinations is essential. This ensures that the correct product goes to the correct end user and, more importantly, that the product is not contaminated.
Atmos Optimizer compares many different operating scenarios to determine the optimum settings for running a pipeline, and therefore the minimum cost for meeting the supply and demand schedule. This system is used for liquid pipelines, either as a stand-alone offline tool or online using real-time data from Atmos Batch and a SCADA system.
The Atmos Hydraulic Profiler takes pressure measurements from the pressure transmitters installed on the pipeline and interpolates between the known measurements giving a real-time representation of the pipeline hydraulic conditions. This enables the operator to run the pipeline in the cheapest and safest manner.
1 BP Statistical Review of World Energy June 2014. Page 6
2 Pipeline Safety: Lessons Learned From the Release at Marshall, Michigan
3 Mexican Oil and Drug Cartels: Cocaine & Crude. Vice News. 14min 46