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Preventative leak detection is a growing field in the pipeline monitoring industry. Distributed fiber optic sensing is a major technology platform for this service. We present a high fidelity dynamic sensing system (HDS™), which is capable of sensing acoustics, temperature, strain, and vibration in or near a pipeline. The system, which can monitor up to 100 km from a base station, has been successfully used for leak detections in land and offshore pipelines. Other applications of the technology such as flow monitoring and pig tracking will be presented as well.
A variety of methods such as leak signature classification, flow anomaly localization, and observing major changes in the pipeline acoustic propagation model, have been developed for leak detection. Results will be shown from independent lab tests where the efficacy of the system in detecting pinhole leaks with pressure ratings as low as 5 psi and flow rates down to 0.1 LPM has been proven.
One major benefit of the described HDS system is the ability to monitor the strain on the pipe or in its surrounding environment. Two case studies from pipelines in Canada will be presented to show how fiber optic monitoring can be beneficial for detecting abnormal or cumulative strain induced on the pipe, seismic activity, and river bank erosion. In one case, an investigation triggered by a cumulative strain alarm revealed the presence of a 40 cm wide fissure in the hill hosting the pipe.
A major practical challenge of distributed fiber optic monitoring of pipelines is the fact that terabytes of data are collected from remote pipeline segments on a daily basis. A discussion of the utilization of edge analytics for real time processing of the data, along with efficient cloud-based alarm notification and event signature delivery to the pipeline operator will also be provided.