Category: Pipeline

26 Feb 2018

Pipeline Technology Conference

Join us at the 13th Annual Pipeline Technology Conference March 12-14 at stand #28 to learn more about our Distributed Fiber Optic Sensing (DFOS) and its integrated pipeline monitoring capabilities.
Europe’s Leading Pipeline Conference and Exhibition
12-14 March 2018, Estrel Convention Center, Berlin, Germany
04 Jan 2018

Identifying Pipeline Leaks Quickly is Key to Minimising Risk

When it comes to today’s vast and complex oil pipeline systems, even the smallest leak can lead to extensive financial loss and lasting reputation damage.

The recent rare unplanned shutdown of the Forties pipeline in the North Sea, which supplies 450,000 barrels per day of crude to Britain, along with a third of the UK’s total offshore natural gas output, was caused by a crack found in the pipeline. The nearly month-long shutdown resulted in major refinery capacity shutdown, force majeure being declared and oil and gas prices reaching their highest points in years. Additionally, the owner of the pipeline has faced harsh criticism for its handling of the situation.

Internal pipeline leak detection systems are commonly used to detect a leak. These systems use point sensors to track flow rates, as well as apply mathematical and statistical computations to monitor flow rates, pressures, temperatures and product characteristics. Although these systems are useful in identifying leaks, they lack in sensitivity. Leaks take longer to detect, and small leaks may go completely undetected.

Instead of relying on computational assumptions, the OptaSense pipeline leak detection system uses distributed acoustic sensing (DAS) technology to transform a standard telecommunication fiber optic cable into a fully distributed sensor capable of detecting the physical characteristics of a leak, including changes in noise, temperature, pressure and ground strain—simultaneously and in real time. The integration of these four modes into a single leak detection system not only provides improved sensitivity, it delivers the reliability required to identify and validate leaks faster and with more confidence so minor issues can be addressed before they become major incidents. The OptaSense system can detect small leaks 10 times faster than internal systems—allowing you to detect a 0.1% leak size within a matter of minutes.

Today’s complex pipeline networks require robust systems that perform under changing fluid compositions, temperatures and pressures, which for many internal systems often result in computational errors and false alarms. The OptaSense pipeline monitoring solution eliminates these issues by delivering a system that performs under transient, slack-line, and multi-phase flow conditions. Even when critical pipeline infrastructure goes offline, this fiber-based system ensures continuous and reliable real-time event detection, classification and location.

27 Sep 2016

OptaSense and Optilan to monitor 1,850km TANAP pipeline project

OptaSense, a QinetiQ company, and its partner Optilan, a telecommunications systems integrator, have been awarded the combined leak detection and security package from ABB, the Engineering, Procurement and Construction prime contractor for the delivery of the control infrastructure* for the Trans-Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline (TANAP).

The contract, in excess of $30 million split evenly with Optilan, was awarded at the start of the year and now enters the equipment delivery phase, marks a significant milestone for OptaSense, the global leader in Distributed Acoustic Sensing (DAS) and Optilan, an international communications and security systems provider. This will be the world’s largest fibre distributed sensing project, protecting and monitoring more than 1850km of pipeline, including perimeter security for all facilities.

The TANAP natural gas pipeline runs from Azerbaijan through Georgia and Turkey to Europe. The project is of strategic importance for the region, as it will enable the first Azerbaijani gas exports to Europe, while strengthening the role of Turkey as a regional energy hub. Construction of the pipeline began in 2015 and is scheduled to be completed in 2018, with expected costs in the region of $10-11 billion.

Magnus McEwen-King, Executive Director at OptaSense commented: “This project marks a significant turning point in the adoption of fibre sensing globally with delivery of security and leak detection from a single fibre system. This approach will enable us to demonstrate superior technical performance and value for money. With our partners ABB and Optilan we look forward to helping TANAP use the OptaSense technology to deliver the highest levels of pipeline availability and reduce the cost of asset ownership.”

Mr Bal Kler, Executive Director at Optilan said: “We are pleased to be partnering once again with the world’s leading fibre sensing company to deliver the world’s largest pipeline monitoring project. Implementation of this project for TANAP will deliver total security and monitoring over the entire pipeline length and follows on from other successful security projects in Turkey.”

OptaSense’s award-winning integrated DAS solution works across multiple functions via a single fibre-optic cable that effectively “listens” to the pipeline in order to provide detailed data about its current status. Any changes to the condition of the pipe are fed back through an interrogator unit in real time, allowing users to identify and address issues early and maintain the highest level of pipeline integrity and product throughput.

Leak and intrusion detection are vital to maintaining pipeline integrity and production maximisation in the oil and gas industry. In 2015 an attack on the Kirkuk-Ceyhan pipeline, which exports crude from Iraq to Turkey, halted operations resulting in significant repairs and thousands of barrels per day in lost deliverables.

*Control infrastructure includes telecommunication, pipeline monitoring, security systems, control systems and integrating SCADA (supervisory control and data acquisition)

22 Sep 2015

OptaSense named finalist in Global Pipeline Awards

Unique use of acoustic sensing by world leader provides effective leak and intrusion detection

ASME-logo22 September 2015:  OptaSense, a QinetiQ company and the global leader in Distributed Acoustic Sensing (DAS) has been recognised for its unique contribution to effective pipeline leak and intrusion detection by being shortlisted for a prestigious international award.

The company has been recognised in the ASME Pipeline Systems Division Global Pipeline Awards for the innovative use of its award-winning DAS system on Columbia’s Bicentennial oil pipeline.

The judging panel recognised OptaSense’s unique use of a single fibre system to provide both leak detection and intrusion detection on the country’s largest pipeline. The 235Km first phase of the pipeline was completed in 2012 and has a diameter of 36-42 inches with the capacity of 450,000 barrels per day (bpd) of crude.

The integrated DAS solution works across multiple functions via a single fibre-optic cable that effectively “listens” to the pipeline in order to provide detailed data about its current status. Any changes to the condition of the pipe are fed back through an interrogator unit in real time, allowing users to identify and address issues early and maintain the highest level of pipeline integrity and product throughput.

Leak and intrusion detection are vital to maintaining pipeline integrity and production maximisation in the oil and gas industry. The pipeline was closed last year due to third party attacks on it, costing the Columbian economy thousands of barrels per day in lost deliveries.

OptaSense executive director Magnus McEwen-King said: “This award not only recognises the innovative use of fibre but also the engineers of Ecopetrol and OptaSense who have jointly worked to deliver real improvements to the integrity management process of the Bicentennial pipeline.

“This nomination is a further acknowledgment of our leading position in South America, and highlights our commitment to continued growth in the region. Our award-winning technology has a proven record of reducing the costs of asset ownership and providing life-long intelligence through highly effective monitoring, thereby reducing incidents and extending asset life.”

The annual awards ceremony aims to recognise pipeline technology innovation processes in phases such as: research laboratory, field applications, technology incubators, and development of markets for new products, and is open to all companies.  The winners will be announced at the awards ceremony held on Thursday 24 September 2015. The four other finalists are: Rosen Group, GMC Inc., Subsea 7, and LABMETRO, CENPES Petrobas Research Center.


About OptaSense

  • OptaSense is a platform technology which has applications in a number of markets, including infrastructure security where the technology is already under contract to monitor 23,000kms 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 operating in 50 countries globally with operations across multiple industries including Oil & Gas, Defence & Security, Transport and Utilities. It is managed as a subsidiary of the QinetiQ Group.
  • Website:

About QinetiQ

  • A FTSE250 company, QinetiQ uses its world class knowledge, research and innovation to provide high-end technical expertise and advice, to customers in the global aerospace, defence and security markets. QinetiQ’s unique position enables it to be a trusted partner to government organisations, predominantly in the UK and the US, including defence departments as well as other international customers in targeted sectors.
  • Follow us on twitter @QinetiQ
  • Visit our blog
07 Sep 2015

Cost-effective security monitoring (BTC)

The BTC is one of the longest crude oil pipelines in the world. The Turkish section of the BTC export system included four pumping stations, two pigging stations, 52 block valve sites and the Ceyhan marine export terminal. At a throughput of 1 Million barrels per day, ensuring successful and uninterrupted operations is of key strategic importance.

Offering cost-effective security monitoring, OptaSense was selected to monitor the pipeline to prevent incidents of theft or accidental damages.

Shortly after the system was installed, the OptaSense pipeline monitoring system detected the approach of a vehicle, footsteps and periods of manual digging near the pipeline. The system raised an alarm, alerting operators to initiate and mobilize appropriate response mechanisms to the exact location of the incident. A significant impact to the environment and business operations were prevented.

The system continues to demonstrate its performance in detecting and classifying events ranging from third party intrusion, agricultural and construction activities near or within the right of way corridor and seismic activity, as well as slack line and inline inspection tool tracking.


02 Sep 2015

OptaSense major pipeline monitoring project in Mexico

OptaSense technology to be deployed on Mexican pipeline to improve security and reduce cost of asset ownership

02 September 2015: OptaSense, a QinetiQ Company, has announced that its award-winning fibre-optic Distributed Acoustic Sensing (DAS) system has been chosen to provide improved pipeline monitoring, including leak detection, on a gas pipeline in Mexico.
The contract, agreed at the beginning of 2015, is worth $4 million and has just started the implementation stage.  The contract marks a further step forward in international expansion into the Americas, following on from projects in Brazil, Colombia, the USA and Canada.

OptaSense will be used for advanced leak detection using its patent pending, “4-mode” leak detection technology. OptaSense will also provide enhanced security monitoring to detect third party intrusion events, as well as ground movement monitoring.

The integrated solution works across these multiple functions via a single fibre-optic cable that effectively “listens” to the pipeline in order to provide detailed data about its current status. Any changes to the condition of the pipe are fed back through an interrogator unit, allowing users to identify and address issues early and maintain the highest level of pipeline availability and product throughput.

Magnus McEwen-King, Executive Director, OptaSense said: “This pipeline provides a vital natural gas supply to feed growing demand in central Mexico and we’re delighted that our DAS system will play a crucial role in keeping it safe while helping maintain the flow of gas.

“Mexico is currently building numerous new infrastructure projects for the future, with new pipelines, plants, rail and road infrastructure projects all being fuelled by huge investment. As part of our international investment strategy OptaSense is committed to supporting critical national infrastructure owners throughout Latin America to reduce the costs of asset ownership through real time monitoring and security.”

22 Apr 2015

OptaSense enters into major framework supply agreement

Farnborough, 22 April 2015: OptaSense, part of the QinetiQ Group, has entered into a two year framework agreement in the Middle East to deliver enhanced security, using its Distributed Acoustic Sensing (DAS) systems, on up to 8,000km of assets.

The framework agreement will see a major programme to install up to 200 OptaSense systems to protect oil & gas pipelines, refineries, airports and other critical national infrastructure sites. The contract follows the successful completion of previous work in the region to protect similar facilities.

OptaSense’s Managing Director, Magnus McEwen-King said: “The protection of critical national infrastructure, in particular oil & gas pipelines, is vital to assure revenue generation, especially in the Middle East. We are particularly pleased to be chosen to protect an entire regional asset base through a structured two year implementation programme. This framework agreement is an endorsement of OptaSense’s proven capability in delivering large scale projects reliably.”

“We know our customers rely on our systems to keep their assets safe and productive and often OptaSense is the first line of defence against theft & terrorism. As such, our customers not only rely on an excellent technical solution but also in having the depth of resources to deliver in field performance reliably over many thousands of kilometres of critical national infrastructure.”

Upon completion of this programme OptaSense will be protecting approximately 23,000km of assets globally in 50 countries.

22 Oct 2014

OptaSense provides revenue assurance to LNG pipeline by reducing the impact of third party intrusion

October 22nd, 2014

OptaSense, a QinetiQ company and global leader in Distributed Acoustic Sensing (DAS) technology, has successfully prevented external threats to a natural gas pipeline in the republic of Yemen, according to a case study paper due to be presented by Total at ADIPEC, the  oil and gas show in Abu Dhabi, 10-13 November 2014. The paper notes “that since the pipeline intrusion detection system was installed, there has been a significant improvement in pipeline availability and regular LNG shipments.”

The OptaSense system was originally installed, as an integral part of the pipeline security operation in late 2013, on the 320 km long pipeline that runs liquefied natural gas (LNG) from Marib to Balhalf in the Republic of Yemen. The pipeline had previously encountered a number of incidents that disrupted product supply. The paper, originally presented by Total at Rio Oil & Gas trade show in September 2014, adds that “no attempt at intrusion on the pipeline resulted in damage to the facilities” as a result of integrating OptaSense with other security measures.

Magnus McEwen-King, Managing Director at OptaSense, said: “We are extremely pleased to work with Total and its local partners to ensure the availability of their pipeline. This project demonstrates that through the implementation of OptaSense into operations, it enables pipeline operators to reduce damage resulting from third party interference to zero. Ensuring pipeline integrity and availability is essential to enabling a continuous supply of product and therefore revenue from their pipeline assets.”

The project requirements were to implement a security system to allow early detection of potential threats and to minimize the amount of new equipment installed in the field by making use of already installed fibre optic communications cable. OptaSense will be demonstrating its Distributed Acoustic Sensing technology at ADIPEC 10-13 November 2014, Hall 12, stand number 12334.

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