This work presents a simple theoretical development which aims to derive the sensitivity curve of compensated volume balance leak detection systems. The analysis carried out is not limited to steady state and also automatically provides the bounds with which the sensitivity curve is predicted, as a function of the system uncertainties. It is demonstrated that the performance of leak detection systems of this nature depends upon the operation of the pipeline at the time instants of the leak onset and of leak detection. As a result, it is also shown that there are an upper and a lower bounds of the minimum response time and that the minimum detectable leak is independent of the pipeline operational regime, being equal to the overall flow rate measurement uncertainty.

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