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Free Technical Paper

Over the last several years Distributed Acoustic Sensing has established itself as a key component of any modern pipeline integrity system – the efficacy of third-party intrusion being well documented. However, leak detection has been a less documented application of the technology, relying on laboratory tests for demonstrability. As part of the proceedings of the 2018 12th International Pipeline Conference (IPC2018), Dr Peter Hayward presents his research on the use of Fotech’s Helios DAS technology on real-world pipelines to successfully monitor pipeline leaks.

Technical Paper Abstract:

A recent trend in the field of pipeline monitoring has been the utilisation of an optical fibre based distributed acoustic sensing (DAS) technology, for the purpose of security monitoring of buried pipelines [1-3]. The technology comprises an interrogator, connected to an optical fibre cable, which is interrogated to acquire coherent Rayleigh backscatter. Localised environmental vibrations may result in a proportional strain of the fibre.

This strain results in a localised optical path length variation, resulting in a phase distortion in the measured signals. Application of signal processing techniques infer the characteristic of the originating stimulus, and thus identify and locate the source activity of interest. Activity may arise as a result of ground excavation, vehicular movement, or similar in the vicinity of the pipeline.

Researchers are now studying the possibility of utilising this technology for the purpose of pipeline leak detection monitoring [4]. This paper provides a review of one such programme of work.

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