Distributed Temperature Sensing (DTS) using fiber optic cable can provide continuous temperature monitoring along pipelines. Real Time Transient Models (RTTM) continuously calculate the propagation of fluid and fluid transients through a pipeline. Both DTS and RTTMs are used for pipeline leak detection and leak location: DTS by detecting and locating temperature changes caused by escaping fluid into the ground and RTTMs by computing mass imbalances and locating the leak in the pipeline. One limiting factor in Real Time Transient Models (RTTM) is uncertainty in the rate of heat transfer between the pipeline and the surroundings. A limiting factor for DTS systems is thermal transients in the ground resulting from pipeline operational transients.

RTTM and DTS are often used together to provide LDS on the same pipeline but without sharing the information generated by each system. This paper investigates the benefits of the DTS and RTTM sharing data to improve the leak detection performance of each. The near real-time DTS pipeline temperature profile could reduce the uncertainties in the RTTM’s thermal modeling. Similarly, the RTTM could provide information to the DTS leak detection software about thermal transients propagating through the pipeline and the expected temperature at the DTS location outside of the pipeline.

We investigate these possibilities in this paper.

Introduction and background

The data integration between RTTM and DTS has not been previously proposed or considered at this level. This is original work that should be of interest both to pipeline operators and RTTM and DTS system providers.

The following questions are be considered with respect to some integration between DTS and RTTM based leak detection systems.

1. What are the potential benefits for the RTTM system?

2. What are the potential benefits for the DTS system?

3. What are the parameters that influence the benefits of such an integration?

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