Suncor Energy Inc. contacted Synodon as part of an effort to enhance pipeline leak detection. Ideally, Suncor needed a technology that could detect natural gas as well as liquid hydrocarbon releases. Synodon’s new technology is an aircraft mounted gas remote sensing instrument that has been used for detecting leaks from natural gas pipelines for over four (4) years and was expanding their capability to include liquid hydrocarbons.

This paper will describe the steps that Suncor and Synodon have taken over the last two years to develop and validate this detection technology. Synodon completed a number of studies including laboratory and field tests that demonstrated the ability of Synodon’s technology to remotely detect ground-level plumes of vapours released from a liquid hydrocarbon pipeline.

Synodon conducted full atmospheric analytic modeling followed by laboratory measurements to determine the level of sensitivity of its instrument measurement to both methane and various liquid hydrocarbon vapors including gasoline, condensates and synthetic crude oil. Suncor participated in the development of test methodology and field execution in order to witness and validate the results.

Based on this work, Suncor has determined an optimum inspection frequency based on theoretical spill size, SCADA leak detection thresholds and conventional aerial patrol constraints.

The results and conclusions of this work will be presented.

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