How a new technology can detect pipeline leaks – in seconds

What can you do in 5 seconds?

Hit snooze on your alarm.

Tie your shoe.

Skip an ad on YouTube.

Identify a leak on a pipeline.

CEPA members are committed to delivering energy to Canadians in the safest and most responsible way. And as part of that commitment, one CEPA member tested a new technology with the potential to add another layer of protection – real-time video that “watches” pipelines and alerts companies to the potential of system failures.

As part of their extensive R&D program that is constantly assessing new technologies to enhance leak detection and pipeline monitoring, TransCanada tested this new video analytics technology, created by IntelliView Technologies, at a pump station on the Keystone Pipeline System for a year.

The system uses infrared/thermal surveillance cameras to identify possible fluid leaks on the property. If an anomaly is detected, the system alerts the monitoring stations by sending data, detailed photographs and videos of the potentially problematic location.

And it takes just seconds; enabling operators to quickly take action.

Pipeline operators utilize a complex system of overlapping technologies for leak detection, including control centers that work around the clock using computerized detection systems and a Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) system to monitor for leaks in real time.

These multiple layers of protection also include aerial and ground patrols, site inspections, in-line inspections and a public awareness program that offers regular training to first responders and landowners who are adjacent to the pipeline or facility right of way. Of course, highly trained operators are also working 24/7, responding quickly to potential leaks with the ability to shut pipelines down in minutes.

All CEPA members take safety and environmental protection very seriously. In 2016, CEPA members invested $22.8 million in innovative technologies focused on reducing pipeline corrosion and improving pipeline inspection, leak detection and damage prevention.

Check out our 2017 Transmission Pipeline Industry Performance Report for more stories on how CEPA and our members are working to deliver the energy Canadians need in the safest and most responsible way.