While the oil and gas industry prides itself on the sensitivity of its field instruments, here is one case where a dog’s nose has trumped technology. Pipeline pressure losses, due to leaks or illegal tapping, can lead to significant loss of revenue for pipeline operators. Pressure losses are usually detected rapidly, but the leak’s precise location—in a remote area, generally—is often difficult to find. In a case study for BP Georgia, a loss of pressure had been detected on a 2,000-km, high-pressure oil pipeline, but the precise location of the suspected illegal tap could not be found. Guards on horseback, with leak detection equipment, were inadequate, so Brussels-based The Sniffers, and its Leak Detection Services, were called in to check 200 km of pipeline in the area of Tbilisi, Georgia.
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