Luna Innovations announces the strategic acquisition of Silixa. Read more here
Two Engineers looking at computer data displays

Detecting Pipeline Leaks With Fiber Optic Sensing in Test Site

OptaSense, a QinetiQ company, a world leader in fiber-optic-based acoustic sensing, recently invited several key customers and interested parties to witness a one-of-a-kind demonstration of its fiber-optic-based pipeline leak detection technology.

Even the smallest leak in a pipeline carrying oil, gas, or water, if not detected quickly, can result in significant financial loss and potential environmental damage. Identifying and locating these leaks quickly allows Operators to take immediate steps to address the issue and mitigate any potential negative impact.

Not only do pipeline operators need a system that detects leaks, it’s critical that they have confidence that their system of choice can effectively detect leaks under different flow conditions and in varying environmental conditions. Traditional testing methods typically fall short because of their inability to replicate “real-world” conditions.

To prove the effectiveness of the leak detection system delivered by OptaSense, guests were invited to view a unique demonstration at the Centro de Tecnologia em Dutos, or CTDUT, pipeline testing facility in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  The unique facility features a closed-loop pipeline run that allows engineers to test leak detection systems in an actual pipeline flow situation. By creating a leak in a targeted section of the pipe, OptaSense was able to validate that their system was able to immediately identify a leak and accurately pinpoint its location along the pipeline.

During the demonstration, the test pipeline, carrying water and inert gas, was pressurized to the point that a burst disc installed on a section of the pipe was triggered. The OptaSense system was able to identify a leak, down to 15 lpm, within seconds of its occurrence and provide critical geolocation information to 10m, back to the control room onsite, validating that the system works exactly as intended.

“OptaSense has participated in many industry sponsored tests over the years but these have fallen short of replicating the behavior of leaks in real life conditions, leaving operators short of full performance validation,” said Dr. Chris Minto, Engineering Director for OptaSense. “To close this gap, OptaSense has funded the most comprehensive and valid set of tests to date, providing a full set of performance, accuracy and reliability data to validate our unique four-mode leak detection specification.

In conjunction with the demonstration, Minto also delivered a presentation at the Rio Pipeline 2019 conference in Brazil, “Challenges in Validation and Verification of External Fiber Optic Leak Detection Systems,”  which focused on the need pipeline leak detection providers to demonstrate the efficacy of their system in a controlled manner and the need for customers to gain assurance their system is truly meeting their operational and safety objectives.

With this real-world testing approach taken by OptaSense, pipeline operators can have confidence that the system they select for leak detection will work and provide the level of protection they expect.


About OptaSense

OptaSense is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the QinetiQ Group.

It is a platform technology which has applications in a number of markets, including infrastructure security where the technology is already in use to monitor 25,000 km of assets, principally providing leak detection and third-party intrusion detection for oil and gas pipelines. OptaSense is the world leader in Distributed Acoustic Sensing and operates in 40 countries globally across multiple industries including Oil & Gas, Defense & Security, Transport and Utilities.

Scroll to Top