Dogs for pipeline leak detection
AMERICAN Detection Technologies, Inc, (AMDETECH) and Makor K-9, both national leaders in contraband detection services using highly-trained dog teams, have formed a new joint venture called Tekscent International for oil and gas pipeline leak detection. The patented Tekscent leak-detection system, developed in Canada by Imperial Oil Ltd, is a novel and proven system for locating leaks down to pinhole size, and also is a reliable way of environmental integrity testing new or existing pipelines.
The leak-detection system, introduced over a decade ago, works by injecting very small quantities of a specific odorant into the pipeline fluid or gas: highly-trained detector dogs are then used to walk the pipeline route, and sniff-out the odorant, locating leaks with great precision. The dogs can even detect the odorant if it is escaping from a leak under a river or a lake: their detection sensitivity is greater than any manufactured equipment designed for the same task, and they can detect concentrations below 4 parts/billion.
“Tekscent International is one of the most economical and accurate methods for solving the costly leak detection dilemma that has perpetually plagued oil and gas companies, and we will save them millions of dollars as well,” said Ronald Allen, president and CEO of AMDETECH. “The combination of [our] liquid odorant used with highly-trained detector dog teams ensures fast and accurate leak detection.”
Makor K-9 president and founder Mark Rispoli said, “The unique odorant is detectible by our highly-trained dogs, whose detection capabilities are many times more sensitive than electronic instrumentation, and dogs require no mechanical calibration. With 2.3 million miles of natural gas and hazardous liquid pipelines in the US alone, our dogs are ideally suited for working the varied and rough terrain encountered on pipeline rights-of-way.”
Rispoli, who is also an attorney with extensive US government experience, continued, “The odorant is designed to pool on the surface of the earth, and is easily infused into the pipeline at a well head, where our dog teams track the pipeline along the route and identify the odour caused by the leak. Often the dogs are aware of the leak from several hundred meters away.” Mike Foote, who supervised the company’s field operations in Canada, stated, “We have already performed over 300 deployments in the field the past few years, and the accuracy rate for leak detection exceeds 99%. The corporate safety and integrity experts who hire us on-site agree that the Tekscent odour is an escape artist that needs to find its way out of the pipe, and our mobile team of dogs find the unique scent without fail.”