Total’s fiber optic pipeline intrusion detection

OptaSense fiber acoustic detection protects ‘very dangerous’ Yemen pipeline.

An article in the latest edition of Total’s Techno Hub magazine describes a new pipeline intrusion detection system (PIDS) that Total has deployed in what is described as a ‘very dangerous’ 320 km section of the pipeline that supplies the Balhaf Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) terminal, Yemen. The line was experiencing frequent sabotage necessitating enhanced security measures including passive monitoring with a fiber optic cable.

The system leverages technology from Qinetiq unit OptaSense that uses back-scattered pulses of infrared light to ‘listen’ to all activity within a few meters of the pipe. Acoustic signals are decoded in real time and an alert is raised in the control room when any excavation or other activity is detected.

The PIDS system piggy-backs onto the existing fiber optic Scada communications cable—there is no need for a dedicated cable. The system pinpoints activity along the pipeline with a 10m positional accuracy. Qinetiq’s OptaSense technology was also deployed on the BP Baku Tbilisi Ceyhan pipeline along with Future Fibre Technologies’ ‘Secure Fence’ perimeter protection (OilITJ Oct. 2010). Total LNG is also an FFT client. The system was installed following a peak of sabotage activity in 2012. In 2013, following installation, operations were uninterrupted.

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