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Monitoring Strain in Existing Oil & Gas Pipelines

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Pipelines in the Oil & Gas Industry

Transport facilities in the Oil & Gas Industry must be monitored for structural integrity to ensure the safety of everyone involved, protect the environment, and guarantee the quality of production. Gas pipelines are the industry’s preferred method of natural gas transmission, but they can be vulnerable to geo-hazards such as longwall mining subsidence and slope movement. 

The service life of pipelines can be divided into the following three stages: infancy (1 to 5 years old), adulthood (6 to 20 years old), and old age (over 20 years old). The older the pipeline becomes, the higher the likelihood of accidents, elevating the importance of pipeline monitoring. 

Existing Oil & Gas pipelines can deteriorate for many reasons:

  • Natural wear and tear 
  • Seismic events 
  • Extreme weather conditions 
  • Vandalism 
  • Operator system errors 

 

Notably, the implication of damage or deterioration to an Oil & Gas pipeline is significant because of the internal cost of the failure and the potential threat it poses to the environment. Grand-scale environmental damage creates massive PR problems for companies, now more than ever before. 

Fiber Optic Sensing: Strain Monitoring

Monitoring strain in existing Oil & Gas pipelines is a necessity. Operators and owners in the Oil & Gas Industry depend on accurate, quick, and reliable information to prevent financial and environmental disasters. They have a responsibility to recognize deterioration and any decreasing integrity of the pipelines. The cost of implementing and operating a system that provides this crucial information is minimal compared to the potential negative consequences. 

Fiber optic sensors can be placed strategically across an entire pipeline to measure the vital points and relay the information. Critical observations include increases in vibration due to a change in the operational loading and fatigue damage accumulation in the sections most prone to stress. 

Fiber optic monitoring systems can integrate easily within existing pipelines to monitor strain. Crucially, the technology is better equipped than any other available technology to monitor the strain accurately and relay the data reliably and in real-time to the operator or owner. As a result, the operators reviewing the data will notice every pressure-point long before the risk of failure, carrying out predictive maintenance, which is, clearly, cheaper than repairing substantial damages.

Retrofitting FIMT to Deployed Pipelines

FIMT (Fiber in Metal Tube) is a general term to describe an enormous number of possible configurations for various specialist purposes. The outer protective layers, internal protective methods, and fiber count are all customizable to the application’s precise requirements. 

A FIMT designed and produced for Strain Monitoring for Oil & Gas pipelines is a perfect solution for providing operators the critical information they need in real-time. This information helps to secure the quality of Oil & Gas production, prevent environmental disasters, and increase profit margins. 

An example of an appropriate FIMT for the application would be our Trisens cable. The cable is an excellent fiber optic sensing solution, optimized for Distributed Strain Sensing (DSS) and resilient enough to perform in the challenging conditions of the Oil & Gas Industry.

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