The Fiber Optic Sensing Association (FOSA), released a brief primer, “FOSA Installation Considerations for Pipelines,” which contains guidance on the selection and positioning of fiber optic cables to maximize the benefits of DFOS along pipelines.
Fiber optic sensing is an emerging and key technology for advancements in the safe and efficient operation of pipelines throughout the world. This new document is the product of FOSA’s Technology Committee.
“As the market learns of the benefits provided by distributed fiber optic sensing, a natural extension is to ask about the make-up and installation of installed sensing solutions. This document provides a primer for those considering adoption of this capable technology to advance the operation and safety of their pipeline assets,” said Dr. Chris Minto, FOSA Technology Committee chairman.
FOSA Installation Considerations for Pipelines is intended to support common uses of DFOS in real-time monitoring of pipelines, including:
- Detection of unauthorized (or unexpected) third party interference near the pipeline for damage prevention
- Detection of pipeline product leaks, whether liquid, gas or a combination of liquid and gas;
Detection of critical temperature changes along pipelines
- Complementing internal inspection methods by tracking the position of instrumentation and cleaning PIGs (Pipeline Inspection Gauges)
- Detection of excessive environmental strain to pipelines resulting from shifts in the soil caused by subsidence, landslides and other geotechnical reasons.
“FOSA Installation Considerations for Pipelines condenses considerable technical information into an 11-page primer providing guidance to end users, installation contractors, regulators and other industry bodies,” said Mark Uncapher, Director, FOSA.
The document addresses three of the primary DFOS technologies that are often used in monitoring pipelines, each providing unique insights into the operational characteristics, asset health, and environmental conditions of the pipeline:
- Distributed Acoustic Sensing (DAS) is used to sense both leaks and third party intrusion by monitoring vibrations near the pipeline.
- Distributed Temperature Sensing (DTS) is deployed to monitor the subtle temperature variations that occur from product escaping from the pipeline. Release of high-pressure gas will lower the surround temperature due to the sudden reduction in pressure as it leaves the pipeline, where oil typically increases the surrounding temperature, as it typically has a higher temperature than the surrounding soil.
- Distributed Strain Sensing (DSS) is deployed along or on the pipelines to monitor changes in strain that might be caused by shifts in the soil near the pipeline. If the strain from these soil shifts gets large enough, it could cause the pipeline to shift, possibly buckle and maybe even break, allowing product to escape.
“By streamlining the distributed fiber optic sensing installation process, the already compelling economics of fiber optic sensing for pipeline safety and security can be further enhanced,” added John Williams, Vice Chairman, FOSA.
“Federal and state pipeline regulators will benefit from this guidance, as well,” Uncapher said. “As they work to ensure the safe operation of U.S. pipeline infrastructure, basic knowledge on the proper installation of fiber optic sensing technology should assist them.”
FOSA is a non-profit trade organization with the mission of educating industry, government and the public on the benefits of fiber optic sensing. FOSA Members include Adelos, AFL, AP Sensing, Asymmetric Technologies, Corning, Ditch Witch, Dura-Line, Fotech Solutions, Frauscher Sensor Technology USA, Inc., Hifi Engineering, NKT Photonics, OFS, Omnisens, OptaSense, OZ Optics, and Prysmian.