In this paper we present a fully integrated pipeline and flowline integrity monitoring system. The system uses optical-fiber distributed sensors to provide 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

  • riser strain, pipeline buckling and upheaval, geohazards, landslides, and ice scours

  • Vortex-induced Vibration (VIV)

  • flow assurance and distributed temperature monitoring of heated pipelines

  • gas and oil leaks

  • permafrost protection.

The technology also provides a unique means for tracking the progress of cleaning and instrumented pigs using existing optical telecoms and datacoms cables buried close to pipelines.

The solution provides a unique and proactive approach to pipeline integrity management. It performs analysis of a combination of measurements 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 range of 100 km is possible without the need for any electronics or therefore remote power in the field. A system can thus monitor 200 km of pipeline when configured to monitor 100 km upstream and downstream from a single location.

As well as detecting conditions and events leading to leaks, this fully integrated system provides a means of detecting and locating small leaks in gas pipelines below the threshold of present online leak-detection systems based on monitoring flow parameters. Other significant benefits include

  • potential reductions in the construction costs of new pipelines

  • enhancement of the operator's existing integrity management program

  • Potential reductions in surveillance costs and HSE risks.

In addition to onshore pipeline systems, this combination of functionality and range is available for practicable monitoring in a wide range of other applications, such as

  • the monitoring of long subsea flowline for flow assurance, leak detection and movements such as ice scour

  • flexible riser integrity monitoring

  • strain and shape monitoring of offshore riser and umbilical systems

  • Facilities perimeter security.

An important element of this system is a bespoke direct-bury optical sensor cable, designed to allow distributed strain measurement and hence enable monitoring of ground movement whilst withstanding the rigors of pipeline environment. The system can also be configured for detection of third-party interference and leaks with the majority of existing buried onshore cables.

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