Keystone XL Pipeline leak prevention and detection
Our state-of-the-art satellite leak-detection and monitoring system is one of the most impressive safety features of the Keystone XL Pipeline. It will have more than 16,000 sensors (data points) feeding detailed information to our control center twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.
Operational Control Centre
The Keystone Pipeline system’s Operational Control Centre (OCC) is staffed twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Trained operators manage sophisticated monitoring equipment and can stop the flow of oil and isolate a suspected leak within minutes of the sensors detecting an abnormality.
Continuous computer-based remote pipeline control
Remote control of the pipeline uses a computer-based system known as Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) to monitor and control the pipeline system. If an abnormal condition is detected (such as a small drop in pressure), SCADA will alert personnel in the Operational Control Centre to:
- Immediately shut down pump stations along the pipeline
- Close isolation valves near the leak to limit potential impacts
- Dispatch pipeline emergency response personnel to the scene
Additional Keystone XL leak detection methods and systems:
- Software-Based Volume Balance Systems: Alerts pipeline controllers when there’s a difference between what is put into the pipe and what is delivered.
- Computational Pipeline Monitoring: Also known as model-based leak detection, uses all the pipeline pressures, temperatures, and density and flow rates to calculate flow balances on smaller sections of the pipe.
- Acoustic Leak Detection: Using in-line inspection tools that detect anomalies in sound (acoustic) and frequencies that might indicate a small leak.
- Direct Observation: Utilizing aerial patrols, conducted 26 times per year, as well as public and landowner awareness programs designed to encourage and facilitate the reporting of suspected leaks and events that may suggest a threat to the integrity of the pipeline.
Upon detection of a leak, pumps are immediately secured from the Operations Control Centre and valves are closed to isolate the affected section of pipe. Emergency personnel are mobilized to the spill site immediately to implement containment and clean-up procedures. Landowners and the appropriate public service agencies are also alerted.
Call before you dig
The biggest risk to pipelines arises when a landowner or a contractor conducts unauthorized excavation on the right of way. To minimize this risk, we run an ongoing public awareness program to ensure local governments, business and residents notify us before they plan construction activities.
Since 2010, the Keystone System has safely delivered over 830 million barrels to U.S. refineries.