An American gas company is going to install fiber-optic lines along all of its new and replacement gas pipelines, this network will help prevent pipelines damage and leaks, sending an early warning of pressure changes or vibrations that might indicate a leak or stress on the pipeline caused by construction work, changes in geology, or the impact of a broken water main.

This company, which maintains more than 100,000 miles of gas pipelines, says that it will install fiber-optics along all new and replacement pipelines segments that are wired than 12 inches in diameter and more than a mile long.

Based on tunable diode laser absorption spectroscopy (TDLAS), it promises a cheaper way to monitor gas storage facilities for leaks than thermal imaging, and allows the possibility of continuos 24-hour monitoring using fixed sensor units. It is thought that the US natural gas industry loses around $2 billion every year as a result of methane leaks, partly because of the lack of sufficiently cheap monitoring technology suitable for widespread deployment.

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