Pipelines are at risk from external threats including third-party intrusion, societal development and ground movement in addition to the ongoing potential for leaks due to corrosion or other causes. Although the appropriate use of internal inspection practices and regular survey of coating and cathodic protection systems will give timely information on any deterioration in pipeline condition, external threats can be unpredictable.

In this paper we present the unique and innovative pipeline and flowline integrity monitoring system developed by Schlumberger in collaboration with BP. The system uses optical fiber distributed sensors to provide continuous, simultaneous distributed measurements of temperature, strain and vibration for the detection, monitoring, and location of events including:

  • Third-Party Interference (TPI), including multiple simultaneous disturbances

  • Geo-hazards for example landslides or subsidence

  • Gas and oil leaks

  • Permafrost protection

Optical fiber sensors are widely used and have over the past 20+ years built a track record in the Oil & Gas industry in applications including pipeline condition & leak monitoring, optimization of oil well productivity and LNG plant leak detection and cool-down process monitoring.

The solution provides a unique and proactive approach to pipeline integrity management. It performs analysis of a combination of measurands to provide the pipeline operator with an event recognition and location capability, in effect providing a hazard warning system, and offering the operator the potential to take early action to prevent loss.

Through the use of remote, optically powered amplification, an unprecedented detection range of 100 km is possible without the need for any electronics and therefore remote power along the pipeline. A system can thus monitor 200 km of pipeline when configured to monitor 100 km upstream and downstream from a single location.

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