Fiber Optic Sensing Association Calls for U.S. Pipeline Safety Test Facility

The Fiber Optic Sensing Association (FOSA) is calling for the federal government and pipeline industry to collaborate in establishing a pipeline safety test facility in the United States. This facility has the potential to benefit the industry, government regulators, and the general public by addressing important gaps that currently exist when testing technologies on active pipelines.

The facility would increase technological advancements, address public safety concerns, and help reduce pipeline incidents. AP Sensing’s Gareth Lees stated: “The proposed pipeline safety test facility would provide an invaluable resource for pipeline operators to validate distributed fiber optic technology for long range measurements of temperature and acoustic signals. These signals provide means of monitoring the safety and integrity of the pipeline through advanced leak detection and third-party intrusion algorithms.”

Much like other sectors in the U.S. are supported through government research facilities, a pipeline test facility would provide the opportunity to validate current and new technologies and techniques, leading to increased safety. Based on interviews with pipeline operators, this facility could be used to emulate leaking pipes and investigate trenching technologies for safer methods of sensor installation on current pipelines. The test facility would be focused on real-world validation of technologies, incorporating both internal and external safety technology, “noisy” environments such as highways or railroads, and differing soil conditions.

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