It turns out produced water behaves differently in pipelines, and what we know about safely transporting natural gas and oil may need to be tweaked to better manage midstream produced water infrastructure. The State of North Dakota and the Energy and Environmental Research Center suggests that the application of Computational Pipeline Monitoring (CPM) to an underpressured gathering system could provide a 96% reduction in total spill volume when compared to daily flow accounting, and could reduce leak detection to less than 2 hours.
The study settles in on only two systems with the ability to successfully detect leaks during transient conditions associated with produced water handling: the Statistical Corrected Volume Balance system and, to a lesser extent, the Real-time Transient Model (RTTM) system. The Statistical Corrected Volume Balance system can detect leaks under all operating scenarios; shut-in, running, and transient operation. The RTTM system, shows promise yet has some shortcomings, and may require additional instrumentation, according to the authors.