Offshore Technology Research Center


OTRC Project Summary

Project Title:

Worldwide Assessment of Industry Leak Detection Capabilities for Single & Multiphase Pipelines

Prinicipal Investigators:

Stuart Scott


Minerals Management Service

Completion Date:

August, 2003

Final Report ID#

A120(Click to view final report abstract)


Investigate the state-of-the-art in pipeline leak detection technology.  The capabilities and advantages/disadvantages of existing technology will be analyzed with special consideration given to the possible application in deepwater and subsea production.  Leak detection systems such as SCADA, LEOS, PSL’s Fiber Optics and others will be included in the assessment.   A key focus of the study will be to quantify how these methods would function under multiphase flow conditions and what role multiphase metering can play in reducing risks. 


Scope of Work:  Subsea leak detection technology and equipment will be investigated using a combination of approaches including

  • Surveys - Surveys will be conducted on currently utilized technology both in the U.S.A. and in the North Sea to insure that all currently used leak detection techniques will be evaluated.
  • Workshops - A workshop will be held to discuss leak detection methods currently in use and research in this area underway throughout the world.  The format will be similar to the successful  “Multiphase Measurement and Production Testing User Roundtable first held in 2000.  A similar workshop would be held at the conclusion of this project to help disseminate the results of the assessment and recommendations. 
  • Analyses - Available models and software will be used to evaluate the effectiveness of the various leak detection methods that are identified.  The PI’s have considerable in-house software including commercially available steady-state multiphase flow models, equation of the state models and mechanistic multiphase flow models that have been developed as a result of previous leak detection research.  The commercial OLGA pipeline model would also be used (through ScandPower, Inc.) to investigate the minimum leak detectable through use of transient multiphase modeling capabilities.

Results of the assessment and recommendations would be included in a final report and would be presented and discussed at workshop at the conclusion of the project.


The assessment of the capabilities of existing technology to detect leaks in deepwater pipelines will define what can be expected from systems utilizing present technology and any imitations and technology gaps.  This information will be widely disseminated to regulators, oil & gas operators, equipment suppliers, and researchers through reports, papers, briefings, and workshops.  The availability of such information will help promote realistic expectations and regulations, and define any research and equipment development needs.

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