A NEW SMART PROCESS FOR PIPELINE INTEGRITY MONITORING
Most of the prospecting areas used for hydrocarbon exploitation in the Niger Delta were originally virgin lands but has suffered urban encroachment such that any hydrocarbon loss of containment would lead to pollution, loss of lives, major fires, and loss of major assets. Pipeline loss of containment during petroleum evacuation were mainly due to corrosion but around the year 2000, pipeline vandalism which started as a way of protesting lack of development projects by host communities, rapidly grew into an industry for crude theft through hot tapping. The cost of crude oil theft is estimated at £1bln per month and it is reported that some 1000 people have died due to pipeline explosion in Nigeria within the period 2004 to 2014. Several unsuccessful initiatives like amnesty and employment of repentant oil thieves by government; burying originally surface pipelines, and regular helicopter surveillance overflies along pipeline routes were attempted to arrest the pipeline vandalism environment. This research is a new initiative in the fight against crude oil theft through a technical process that provide an early information to the operator of the position and rate of crude oil theft such that the situation could be appropriately arrested, thereby creating revenue security, preventing loss of containment fires, and potential deaths that could have arisen if there is explosion due to loss of containment. Two analytical methods, which uses the pipeline pressure gradient as a basis were independently verified in leak point identification and leak rate estimation in the proposed smart process for pipeline integrity monitoring. The leak point identification is based on pressure gradient relaxation while the leak rate estimation is based on enclosed angle vector relaxation. A near perfect (100%) accuracy in leak point determination and a 93.44% average leak rate prediction accuracy was demonstrated based on the proposed smart process for pipeline integrity monitoring. Some of the advantages of this new process is simplicity, retrofit ability and no demand for skills reassessment for operators as it fits into normal operations. The enclosed angle vector relaxation concept, which is one of the main contributions of this research: is a new knowledge addition to Physis and Fluid Mechanics; a discovery and a process invention.
- PhD