Canada and the United States have vast energy resources, supported by thousands of kilometers (miles) of pipeline infrastructure built and maintained each year. Whether the pipeline runs through remote territory or passing through local city centers, keeping commodities flowing safely is a critical part of day-to-day operation for any pipeline. Real-time leak detection systems have become a critical system that companies require in order to provide safe operations, protection of the environment and compliance with regulations. The function of a leak detection system is the ability to identify and confirm a leak event in a timely and precise manner. Flow measurement devices are a critical input into many leak detection systems and in order to ensure flow measurement accuracy, custody transfer grade liquid ultrasonic meters (as defined in API MPMS chapter 5.8) can be utilized to provide superior accuracy, performance and diagnostics.

This paper presents a sample of real-time data collected from a field install base of over 245 custody transfer grade liquid ultrasonic meters currently being utilized in pipeline leak detection applications. The data helps to identify upstream instrumentation anomalies and illustrate the abilities of the utilization of diagnostics within the liquid ultrasonic meters to further improve current leak detection real time transient models (RTTM) and pipeline operational procedures. The paper discusses considerations addressed while evaluating data and understanding the importance of accuracy within the metering equipment utilized. It also elaborates on significant benefits associated with the utilization of the ultrasonic meter’s capabilities and the importance of diagnosing other pipeline issues and uncertainties outside of measurement errors.

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