Safeguarding Saudi Arabia's Water Transmission System with Cutting-Edge DAS Technology

The pipelines of the Taif-Turubah-Ranyah-AlKhurmah (TTRA) Water Transmission System (WTS) in Saudi Arabia are routed in areas with considerable construction activities. In order to detect any potentially harmful Third Party Intrusion (TPI) activities in the vicinity of the buried pipelines, the owner requested the deployment of a fiber optic-based Distributed Acoustic Sensing (DAS) system so that the maintenance and security teams can be enabled to stop these activities, if necessary, before the pipelines and fiber optic cables can be damaged. In addition to TPI event detection, the DAS systems are configured to detect pipeline leaks and related leak locations.

AP Sensing's DAS solution has been selected to monitor the entire length of the pipeline system. Additionally, our SmartVision asset visualization software and Distributed Temperature Gradient Sensing (DTGS) are utilized. 

The DAS solution is configured to monitor the entire pipeline system in real time, visualize the acoustic energy over time/distance in waterfall plots, store the measured data on external storage units, and trigger an alarm in the event of a risk. Alarm notifications include information on the type, time, and location of the threat. While detection of TPI events relies on the identification of large-magnitude, low-frequency vibrations generated in the ground, the classifier of leak events rests on capturing high-frequency signals in combination with a temperature change that can be measured by the Distributed Temperature Gradient Sensing (DTGS) technique.

In order to simulate real potential threats and configure the alarm parameters properly, machinery digging tests were conducted at twelve different locations along the entire pipeline route, especially since various ground types exist in that region. AP Sensing's event classifier algorithms are concepted to recognize a variety of different digging activities and trigger an alarm with a high confidence rate while keeping a low False Alarm Rate (FAR). The alarm notification is visualized on AP Sensing's SmartVision monitoring platform and forwarded to the SCADA system of the pipeline owner via Modbus TCP/IP. Additionally, the Frequency Band Energy (FBE) data is streamed to the asset viewer in SmartVision to allow the operator to have an instantaneous representation of the acoustic energy mapped correctly on top of the pipeline. In the event of a TPI or leak event, the operator is able to click on the alarm location in SmartVision and listen to the acoustic signals which are streamed directly from the corresponding DAS system.

The implementation of AP Sensing's DAS monitoring system has proven to be an efficient solution for the detection and location of TPI leak events. In fact, since commissioning the solution, several real activities near the pipeline such as trenching, jackhammering, asphalt breaking, and road construction activities have been correctly detected and verified by the subcontractor. The alarms have been reported accordingly to the operators via SmartVision to the SCADA system.