Pipeline Firms Turn To Aircraft To Search For Spills

Three pipeline companies, TransCanada, Kinder Morgan and Enbridge, are partnering together to research how effective aircraft sensors will be in detecting leaks in pipelines, and are anticipating testing to begin this fall. The task at hand will not be deciding which aircraft is best for this project, but what sensors will do the best job detecting liquid hydrocarbon leaks before they reach the surface. The hope is that this testing will help energy companies fine tune their systems to detect leaks with more reliability.

Last year, BP, was given permission to use drones to patrol their oil fields in Alaska. The drones are equipped with an infrared camera and visual camera with gives BP the opportunity to fly over the top and sides of the pipelines searching for conditions that are visible from the road. Using drones allows the company to view the pipelines at close range and regardless of weather conditions, which is something that cannot be done using traditional aircraft. To read more about this research click here…

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