Fiber Optic Technology to Monitor Pipelines in Real Time


LOS ANGELES, CA –   Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas) has announced the company will be one of the first natural gas utilities in the United States to incorporate innovative fiber optic cable technology to detect impacts and leaks along its transmission and high-pressure pipeline system.

The technology uses fiber optic strands to transmit data across long distances, and can send early warning of pressure changes or vibrations that could indicate a leak or an impact to the gas line. The technology quickly detects when abnormal stress, movement or temperature conditions are present.

Continuous monitoring and measurement will help the company quickly identify threats to a pipeline from heavy equipment operation, unexpected earth movement, or physical impact.

When a threat is identified, information will be sent within seconds along the fiber cable to a remote monitoring station. The system can pinpoint where a potential problem may be developing within 20 feet.

The system can prevent pipeline damage from unauthorized construction work, geologic conditions or other physical changes like structural stress from broken water mains. It can also detect pipeline leaks through both sound and temperature signal analysis. Access to immediate and area-specific data will give SoCalGas crews and first responders more time to plan, allocate resources, and take effective actions to mitigate leaks or potential leaks.

SoCalGas plans to install fiber optic cable along all new and replacement pipeline segments 12 inches and greater in diameter and one-mile long. The fiber optic cables will be installed approximately 36 inches below the ground surface and 12 inches above the pipelines.

SoCalGas plans to install its first fiber optic cables on a 7-mile stretch of pipeline in Bakersfield this year.