Pipeline Leak Detection Testing using hifi Fiber Optics

Background and Objective

The objective of the program was to determine if Distributed Acoustic Sensing (DAS) systems, for this program specifically a system supplied by hifi Engineering, could reliably detect leaks given the conditions present in these tests. The leak detection tests detailed in this report took place in the C-CORE testing facility from November 28 to December 2, 2016. The test week activities included “announced” leaks for calibrating the monitoring equipment, “blind” tests using both water and nitrogen with leaks initiated at different pressures and durations in a damp sand test bed and tests in a submerged condition with one of the test boxes completely filled with water. hifi Engineering monitored for leaks from a remote location in the building while C-CORE staff generated leaks in the laboratory. This report details the test conditions, operations and results from the testing program.

The hifi Engineering system successfully detected all leaks generated during this testing program, with no false positives. This included pressures between 5 and 195 psi for nitrogen and water leaks in a damp soil condition, between 5 and 44 psi for water leaks, and between 3 and 65 psi for nitrogen leaks in submerged conditions. These pressures are considered to be lower than expected in most pipeline leaks. Higher pressures would be easier to detect due to the higher energy levels of the leaked fluid or gas.