EcoWeek,  June 4, 2007

Fox-Tek system helps major oil and gas producer protect environment from pipeline leaks

Fiber Optic Systems Technology (Fox-Tek) reports that one of Canada's largest oil and natural gas producers has purchased and installed the company's PinPoint Electrical Field Mapping (EFM) system to continuously monitor internal corrosion on an oil emulsion pipeline. The client company (whose name cannot be disclosed in accordance with the terms of the transaction) will take advantage of the Fox-Tek system's remote monitoring capabilities to protect the environment from preventable pipeline leaks. The client purchased the system as part of its pipeline integrity management program, says Fox-Tek.

The PinPoint EFM system will continuously monitor and verify corrosion on the pipeline, providing real-time data via inexpensive encrypted cell phone remote telemetry, eliminating the need for expensive repetitive site visits. Sensors within a removable sleeve secured around the pipeline measure the size, shape and rate of corrosion for pipe wall defects. Solar-powered electronics enable measurement and automatic transmission of results, allowing for rapid and more frequent reporting cycles.

Fox-Tek president and CEO Dr Essam Zaghloul said, "The installation of this PinPoint system continues to highlight the economic and logistical advantages our pipeline monitoring technologies have over traditional methods. Our EFM pitting monitoring system eliminates safety issues involved in confined space corrosion inspections while simultaneously providing an important monitoring data in critical areas that enables the industry to cost-effectively improve integrity and avoid environmental damage," he added.

PinPoint is a continuous, non-intrusive corrosion monitoring system for pipelines and process piping. Operating on the principle of electrical field mapping, the system uses an array of electrodes to measure localized differential voltages and map the electrical field generated by a controlled current.

Variations in metal thickness and temperature will cause changes in resistance, with temperatures changing as ambient and process conditions change. The PinPoint EFM system measures these temperature variations and compensates the resistance values accordingly. The system utilizes bi-directional, pulsed DC excitation current to provide a dual scan of the corroded area, with over 500 differential voltage sensors providing dimensional definition of isolated pit defects.

Based in Toronto, Fox-Tek has a branch in Calgary as well as offices in Houston, Texas and Al-Khobar, in Saudi Arabia. Among the company's clients are Enbridge, Saudi Aramco (Saudi Arabia) and Ah Joo Engineering (Korea).

More information is available from Dr Essam Zaghloul at Fiber Optic Systems Technology, 416/665-2288,, Web site

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