Will leak detection end the oil pipeline impasse?
Adrian Banica, founder and CEO of Synodon, a company that builds systems to detect pipeline leaks, discusses how remote sensing technology can find little pipeline leaks before they become big leaks, in an interview with OilPrice.com.
Pipelines used to be things that were just built without blinking. It is said that there are enough pipelines now in the US to encircle the Earth 25 times with enough left over to also tie a bow around it. Today, getting a pipeline built is not so easy - there are too many environmental concerns and the industry has become highly polarized. But here’s one thing that could bring everyone together: pipeline safety technology. And it’s something we all want, especially for those who live along the thousands of miles of aging pipeline routes that carry hazardous liquids.Skip to next paragraph
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Spawned by research that started in space, remote-sensing technology designed to detect dangerous leaks in pipelines has the potential to provide the neutral ground for decisions to be made and consensus to be formed. The clincher: This technology is not only affordable -it saves money and could eventually save the industry.
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In an exclusive interview with Oilprice.com, Adrian Banica, founder and CEO of Synodon - the forerunner in leak detection systems - discusses:
• How a technology that started in space has the potential to quell intensifying protests
• Why Keystone XL will eventually be a reality - sooner rather than later
• How remote sensing technology can fingerprint pipeline leaks
• How remote sensing technology can find the little leaks before they become big leaks—at no extra cost
• Why North America’s new pipelines aren’t the problem and why the focus should be on aging pipelines that are going to experience a lot more leaks
• How this technology could bring the industry and environmentalists together
• How external leak detection can save lives in high-risk areas
Interview by James Stafford of Oilprice.com
James Stafford: Now that pipelines are the hottest topic on the oil and gas scene and have found themselves on the frontline of conflict between environmentalists and the industry, high-tech leak detection systems such as Synodon’s remote sensing technology seem to be offering a way out of the chaos. Can you put this into perspective for us?
Adrian Banica: Yes. In North America alone, there are upwards of a million kilometers of transmission pipelines - and this does not even count the gathering and distribution pipelines. What we offer is attractive to both sides in this conflict: environmentalists want it and the industry can afford it.
Methods for inspecting pipelines have existed for many decades. What we’re providing is a better way of doing it. Synodon’s technology offers an accurate and precise method of oil and gas leak detection. This technology detects small leaks before they become big leaks.
James Stafford: In layman’s terms, how does it work?
Adrian Banica: It is relatively simple. Synodon has developed a remote sensing technology that can measure very small ground level concentrations of escaped gas from an aircraft flying overhead. This “realSens” technology is mounted on a helicopter and piloted by GPS over a pipeline.
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