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13 May 2010 The application of fibre optic temperature sensing for under insulation monitoring of subsea infrastructure
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The use of insulation within the oil and gas industry to provide heat retention during production downtime is important to reduce the risk of hydrate formation within the flow-loops in the subsea infrastructure. Hydrate formation can significantly decrease the production efficiency and hence the profitability of the well. Hydrates can also introduce serious safety risks, if formed with in critical components such as safety valves. During production downtime the elevated temperature of equipment such as XTs will begin to equalize to the ambient subsea temperature. The accurate assessment of the effectiveness of such insulation is thus critical. Monitoring insulation performance during cool down trials is typically performed during test and assembly of production equipment using a limited number of electrical sensors. The use of multiplexed fibre optic sensors offers a reduction in the number of penetrations in the insulation, when compared to traditional electrical sensors and thus allows far more representative temperature measurements to be made. Additionally, conventional electrical sensors will rapidly degrade in the subsea environment, making them unsuited for long term subsea monitoring. In this paper we report the use of embedded optical fibre sensors, which should maintain their full performance over the lifetime of the subsea equipment. This would enable the long term insulation performance to be assessed after a tree is recovered for maintenance, or even allow continuous monitoring of the insulation performance during service. Results of tests carried out in an environmental chamber to show the performance of the sensors during cooling cycles are reported and initial results taken during production testing prior to deployment of the equipment subsea are reported.
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David M. Faichnie, Alan Graham, and Daniel McStay "The application of fibre optic temperature sensing for under insulation monitoring of subsea infrastructure", Proc. SPIE 7726, Optical Sensing and Detection, 77261W (13 May 2010);

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