EFA Technologies

Patented in 1989, Pressure Point Analysis™ (PPA™) is a fast and accurate detection method. It detects leaks from holes as small as 1/16th of an inch (1.6 mm) and leak rates less than 0.1 percent of flow – within seconds. It works on gas, liquid, and many multiphase lines. In the simplest case, 35 miles of pipeline can be monitored from a single measurement (over 100 miles with reduced sensitivity).

Either pressure or flow measurements can be used with PPA™. Industrial quality electronic instruments are sufficient; they need not be accurate, just sensitive.

In the simplest implementation PPA™ relies on analyzing data (pressure or flow) at a single measurement point. Additional points improve performance, but are not essential to the technique. The additional points (a combination of pressure and flow) can be used to configure a SmartPoint, LEAKNET™'s intelligent alarm processing feature. SmartPoint can provide 100 percent nuisance alarm free operation.

PPA™ is based on extensive research into the behavior of the energy and momentum balance on a pipeline (as represented by pressure and velocity measurements) before and after a leak occurs. When a pipeline is not leaking, changes in pressure and velocity (internal indicators of energy and momentum) occur at fairly slow rates. These rates are essentially the same rates at which the line can pack and unpack due to normal causes. These measurements are seldom constant and include fluctuations from a profusion of sources which discourage investigators from looking for more than average operational data in them. When state of the art signal processing techniques are applied to these data, one finds a tremendous amount of information in them.

Because PPA's™ method of analysis is closely tied to the physics of the events that inescapably accompany leaks, it is capable of very high levels of performance. Since the leak detection process occurs rapidly, detection times are quite short – generally a few seconds to minutes – regardless of whether the line is flowing or blocked-in.

For a complete explanation of PPA™ request "A New Approach to Pipeline Leak Detection."