The Negative Pressure Wave (NPW) leak detection method has been increasing in popularity recently due to the promise of highly accurate leak location calculations compounded with response times on the order of seconds. Additionally, when compared to other leak detection methods such as Real Time Transient Models (RTTM), NPW can be implemented on many different pipelines in a relatively short period of time with only the need for pressure transmitters. However, as with all engineering applications, there are tradeoffs to consider. In this analysis, a NPW solution was evaluated on two different liquid pipelines running offline simulators: one pipeline transports crude oil and one pipeline transports diesel. It was observed that, under very specific operating and test conditions, NPW could perform adequately. The conditions which allow for accurate NPW performance are limited when considering real world operations. With this consideration, NPW can be a complimentary method to other leak detection methodologies. This analysis is intended to provide pipeline operating companies with a greater understanding of when and where an NPW solution may be appropriate, as well as the limitations and challenges associated with the NPW methodology.
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