Pipeline leak detection with sniffing dogs at Raffinerie Heide GmbH -

Marlies Dockx
2017/08/29

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The Sniffers is specialized in leak detection in both underground and above-ground pipelines in the chemical- and petrochemical industry.

The unique advantage in this field is the use of our specially trained dogs, which are used to detect product leakages. Using this service results in significant time savings as well as cost savings. The Sniffers has been training dogs specifically for this task for more than 25 years. The dogs are able to detect the smallest leaks due to their extraordinary sense of smell.

Pipeline leak detection with sniffing dogs at Raffinerie Heide GmbH

Together with Raffinerie Heide GmbH, we executed a pipeline leak detection project using our dogs on a pipeline route from Hemmingstedt to Brunsbüttel (30 km). On another pipeline route, a separate jacket pipe with a distance of 200 m was tested. We quickly got the suspision that there was a leak in the jacket pipe. Since the pipeline route runs underground and is located in a jacket pipe, it was difficult to find the leak.

The jacket pipe is normally filled with nitrogen, which serves as extra corrosion protection and to ensure the integrity of the inner pipelines. The exact location of the leak on these 200 m could not be found in previous surveys without the dogs. Significant amounts of nitrogen and energy is needed to continuously pressurize the jacket pipe, which is of course not beneficial.

To detect the leak, we injected a very low concentration of mercaptan into the jacket pipe, which is the typical scent that is normally added to natural gas. Our detection dogs are trained on natural gas with mercaptan and they can detect the scent even in very small concentrations. First, we verified that the scent had spread throughout the pipeline. Afterwards, the dog handler was able to detect the leak quickly.

Thank you

We are pleased with this success story and are looking forward to new challenges. Special thanks go out to Raffinerie Heide GmbH for this order and for their trust in The Sniffers and to our dog handlers for their professional approach.

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