Pipeline leak detection is about to go another round in the media with TransCanada Corp.’s announcement that Keystone XL will be the safest pipeline ever built and won’t need expensive, high-tech leak detection systems. That doesn’t mean there won’t be any leak detection, it just means the pipeline will rely on computer software, flyovers and surveys rather than higher tech infrared sensors, acoustic sensors, and fiber optic cables. The difference is between detecting big leaks and small leaks (before they become big). It could be an issue for Keystone XL as it awaits approval from the US government, even if it will be the safest pipeline ever built.
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