Tracing the leak
Aegis 2K is an Italian company, established in 2000, that provides aboveground storage tanks (AST), underground storage tanks (UST), and pipeline integrity monitoring to the oil and gas industry.
The company uses patented technology for the onsite inspection and remote control of leakages, and is the distributor of a range of detection products.
The two founders of Aegis 2K, Cesare Boccella Duclos and Giuseppe Soda, had initially forged an affiliation before Tracer Research was acquired by Praxair Services in 2002, when they took over the distribution license, initially in Europe, before expanding the company’s operations to the Middle East and Australia. Aegis 2K now counts companies including ENI, Agip, BP Australia, Edipower, Veralis, and Lukoil among its satisfied list of clients.
Tracer Tight is a patented leak-detection technology, certified by the US Environmental Protection Authority (EPA), which inoculates a tank or pipeline with a small amount of tracer chemical, before probes are installed under and around the tank or pipeline, allowing a technician to collect and analyse soil vapour samples. If a leak occurs, the tracer passes into the soil where it is detected by gas chromatography. The technology can detect leaks as a small as 3.8 litres a day, regardless of the size of the installation involved.
Tracer Tight is designed to be effective for all types of installation including tanks and pipes buried under pavements, concrete, or buildings. It is an accurate, reliable, and sensitive methods for leak testing ASTs, USTs, and pipelines. Its non-destructive testing (NDT) methods can be performed to identify, detect, and delineate low levels of contamination, without interrupting the operation of the system. The technology allows the testing of the bottom of refinery and terminal crude oil storage tanks, and is used by the major oil companies in Italy and around the world.
Seeper Trace is a walkover integrity assessment system for long distance pipelines. The technology is able to locate seeps in pipelines carrying liquids, gases, or multi-phase products, and can detect a seep as small as 3.8 litres per day, without service interruption or excavation.
First, a small amount of tracer chemical is injected into the pipeline, before the Seeper Trace is dragged along the surface above the pipe, where it detects the presence of the tracer chemical if a leak exists. The product can either be walked above the length of the pipeline or attached to a vehicle, and doesn’t require the insertion of probes.
The samples are analysed by Aegis 2K’s laboratories to detect the presence of the tracer in parts per quadrillions. It has the sensitivity required to detect the leaks, and reduces the stretch of pipeline requiring maintenance as a result of the leak. Total volatile hydrocarbons (TVHC) are also analysed to provide the client with more information on the condition of the soil. Underground lines can also be tested, such as transmission pipelines within a refinery or a terminal, and oily sewage lines.
Earth observation solution
The earth observation solution (EOS) division of Aegis 2K specialises in remote monitoring of large-scale pipeline networks using satellite imagery. The method of inspection can be applied to both new and existing pipeline systems.
New pipeline projects require studies for optimal routing and environmental impact assessment, while the maintenance of existing networks requires continuous control of the right-of-way for pipeline disturbances, third-party intrusions, and environmental issues as a result of leakage. The remote analysis is integral for prioritising the risk areas along a pipeline network.
Aegis 2K has recently contributed to the development and patenting of a new type of intelligent sensor network, which has been integrated into a system to provide the real-time control of long distance pipelines. The goal of the technology is to provide information on pipeline interference, which can cost a pipeline operator millions of dollars as a result of loss of product and environmental contamination.
The technology has been devised to complement the direct field survey assessment of leakages and damage provided using the Tracer methods, which are the company’s foundation technology, and the strategic monitoring of pipeline corridors through the EOS division’s remote sensing capabilities.
This control system is capable of handling the continuous high frequency monitoring of an entire section of a pipeline for third-party intrusions as well as the main types of pipeline and ground deformations. The system can be integrated into traditional monitoring systems, such as wire extensometers, acoustic sensors, and pressure meters. It is low cost and low energy, as well as being resilient to damage.
The technology could have a significant impact in pipeline control, as, according to Aegis 2K, the system is able to compensate for most of the weaknesses of existing monitoring methods.
For more information visit the Aegis 2k website.
This article was featured in the September edition of Pipelines International. To view the magazine on your PC, Mac, tablet, or mobile device, click here.