A transformative fiber optic partnership: Hifi and Trans Mountain Partnership Profiled in World Pipelines Magazine

Hifi discusses partnering with Trans Mountain to complete the world’s longest fibre optic sensing deployment on a liquids pipeline, while ensuring comprehensive pipeline integrity. 

Hifi’s engagement with the Trans Mountain Expansion Project provides high fidelity distributed sensing (HDS™) using specialized fiber optic technology for comprehensive pipeline monitoring along the full project length, which involves twinning of the existing 1,150 kilometres (715 mile) pipeline from Edmonton, Alberta to the Canadian West Coast in Burnaby, British Columbia. The new pipeline will feature an extensive hybrid fiber optic network deployed during construction inclusive of a fully distributed fiber sensing architecture to monitor for leaks, integrity risks, and other operational applications, while also providing surveillance capability for both the existing and new pipelines. Once completed, this continuous HDS system will represent the world’s longest fully distributed fiber optic sensing deployment on a liquids pipeline. The project represents a significant achievement for both industries, as recognized by the Fiber Optic Sensing Association (FOSA) in awarding 2023 Project of the Year honours to Hifi and Trans Mountain for this initiative.

Trans Mountain (formerly Kinder Morgan Canada) is in the process of twinning its existing 1150 kilometres (715 mile) pipeline which extends from Alberta to British Columbia, Canada (see Figure 1).  The original 24-inch Trans Mountain pipeline was constructed in 1953.  The Trans Mountain Expansion Project represents a major undertaking and consists of adding a combination of 36 inch and 42 inch pipeline along with 12 pump stations, 3 berths, and the addition of 19 petroleum storage tanks.

Hifi is a fiber optic sensing technology service provider based in Calgary, Canada which is partially owned by Cenovus, Enbridge and BDC.  With these stakeholders it should come as no surprise that Hifi is exclusively focused on supporting the HDS technology for turnkey, preventative pipeline monitoring, with a primary focus on energy sector assets.

As part of the project design, Trans Mountain partnered with Hifi to incorporate the ambitious deployment of an extensive hybrid fiber optic network consisting of a large telecommunications fiber cable coupled with Hifi’s specialized optical sensing fiber via dual micro duct conduit secured to the pipe.  Upon project completion, a state-of-the-art monitoring and communication system will span the full length of the pipeline and monitor every inch of the asset, making it the largest fiber-on-the-pipe liquids pipeline monitoring system of its kind in the world.

Hifi’s role on the Trans Mountain Expansion Project and project challenges are detailed in the World Pipelines magazine article.  Titled “A Transformative Fibre Optic Partnership”, and starting on page 35.