A better understanding of the sensitivity threshold of external leak detection systems can assist pipeline operators in predicting detection performance for a range of possible leak scenarios, thereby helping them to make more informed decisions regarding procurement and deployment of such systems. The analysis approach described herein was developed to characterize the leak detection sensitivity of select fiber optic cable-based systems that employ Distributed Acoustic Sensing (DAS). The detection sensitivity analysis consisted of two steps. The first step involved identifying a suitable release parameter capable of providing a defensible basis for defining detection sensitivity; the second step involved the application of logistic regression analysis to characterize detection sensitivity as a function of the chosen release parameter. The detection sensitivity analysis described herein provides a means by which to quantitatively determine the leak detection sensitivity threshold for each technology and sensor deployment position evaluated in a set of full-scale tests. The chosen sensitivity threshold measure was the release parameter value associated with release events having a 90% probability of being detected. Thresholds associated with a higher probability level of 95% were also established for comparison purposes. The calculated sensitivity thresholds can be interpreted to mean that release events associated with release parameter values above the sensitivity threshold have a very high likelihood (either 90 or 95%) of being detected.

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