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.
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James Stafford: Would regulations governing pipeline safety actually boost support for Keystone XL?Skip to next paragraph
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Adrian Banica: Personally, I don't think so. The most vocal opposition for Keystone comes from the side of the environmental movement that does not want to see the pipelines build in order to decrease our overall dependence on oil rather than their concern for spills. So it is a philosophical position based on decreasing CO2 emissions rather than one based on spills in the environment which will not be appeased by regulations.
James Stafford: What about any potential regulatory protection leak detection systems could offer pipeline companies?
Adrian Banica: The benefit to our customers is that they can demonstrate due diligence and that they have employed the best techniques available to ensure pipeline integrity. They will be covered if there is any court action or regulatory action. The value of our data in case something does happen could be quite substantial.
There may be small differences in the regulations with the US being somewhat stricter and tighter than the Canadian regulations. So there are a few more incentives for US based customers to use our service.
James Stafford: Protests continue over the Enbridge pipeline in Vancouver, for instance. How could this play out. Could big pipeline players like Enbridge be able to embrace something like your technology to quell some of those protests?
Adrian Banica: This is a good case in point. Yes they absolutely could, and should. I’m very firm on that answer and I think they are looking at it. Enbridge is a customer of ours already in the United States and they’re very aware of what we offer and do.
James Stafford: So these are early days for commercial viability?
Adrian Banica: These are very early days, and we have just turned the corner from a science concept into something that is commercially realizable. We spent 2011 and 2012 working very hard to penetrate the industry and to convince clients that this is not a science project anymore—this is a genuine commercially viable technology. We are now starting to see the adoption of our technology and services. So I believe we are at the tipping point and by no means do I think that shareholders have missed the boat.
James Stafford: Adrian, thank you for your time. This has been a very interesting discussion and the topic is one we will be following closely over the coming months. Hopefully we will get a chance to talk later in the year to see if any of the developments discussed have come to pass.
Adrian Banica: Absolutely, I'd be delighted to catch up later in the year.
James Stafford: For those interested in learning more about Synodon please take a minute to visit their website: www.synodon.com
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