Distributed fiber optic (FO) sensors have been used for onshore pipeline monitoring and leak detection applications. The use of FO sensors for offshore pipeline leak detection is still very new and requires developments to adapt the technology to such applications. This includes progressing the understanding of FO sensor performance for offshore leak detection, the need to develop requirements and procedures for offshore installation of pipeline and FO cable, and the need to design and develop sensor technology to cover long underwater pipelines.
ExxonMobil Upstream Research Company (EMURC) has undertaken an extensive offshore pipeline leak detection research and development program. One of the key goals of the program is to develop FO sensor technology for offshore use. This paper summarizes the key findings from several technology development studies.