Sonardyne International has recently announced the launch of an Automatic Leak Detection Sonar (ALDS) at the Oceanology International Exhibition and Conference in London. The Sonardyne designed and built product is an active sonar capable of detecting and localising deep water hydrocarbon leaks around offshore installations and pipelines soon after they develop allowing operators to respond immediately and accurately in the case of a leak.
ALDS is designed to detect oil and gas leaks at significant ranges, allowing coverage of wide areas from a single sensor. Typically, in deep water, the system will detect gas leaks of 1bpd (barrel per day) at a range of 500m and live oil leaks of 10bpd at the same range. The system’s single subsea sensor offers 360 degree continuous coverage providing automatic, robust detection and localisation of any leak, followed by an alert after only tens of seconds of a leak developing.
The deep water sonar works by projecting an optimised ultrasonic pulse of sound into the water and then listening for returns from the target, in this case hydrocarbons entering the water column. The algorithms used by the system to automatically detect a leak are based on the proven architecture processes used in Sonardyne’s maritime security sonars, which are field proven and best in class. The product has already has been demonstrated several times in shallow water and Sonardyne is in the process of undertaking deep water trials with an operator in the Gulf of Mexico.
The sonar is linked to the surface platform via a fibre optic cable. Data is processed in real time at the surface using advanced software capable of discriminating and localising leaks from other potential sonar targets. ALDS does not require an expensive trained operator to adjust the sonar parameters, it has been designed to provide robust, reliable detection in all conditions without constant fine tuning.
Graham Brown, Director at Sonardyne said: “ALDS is a genuinely new and very exciting development for Sonardyne and for the industry as a whole. Its ability to detect the smallest of oil and gas leaks over a very wide area automatically without the need to be in the flow of a leak offers a significant technical leap forward. We are looking forward to the up and coming deep water trials and to bringing this product to market in the coming months.”
Subsea World News Staff , March 20, 2012; Image: Sonardyne