Pipeline leaks pose a significant threat to the environment, public health, and the economy. However, detecting and repairing leaks can be challenging, especially when dealing with aging infrastructure that spans thousands of miles.
The oil and gas industry has been in the spotlight for decades due to concerns about its impact on the environment. However, with the advent of technology, there is hope for a more sustainable future.
In this interview, we speak with Meade Lewis, the founder of MiQroTech, a company that leverages state-of-the-art sensor systems and cutting-edge artificial intelligence models to predict pipeline leaks before they occur. We discuss the challenges facing the industry, the future of pipeline detection technology, and how public awareness can be improved to prevent pipeline leaks.
In an exclusive interview with Groundreport.in, Lewis sheds light on his innovative approach and the impact she could have on the industry.
Q1. Can you share some insights about the detection methods used to identify pipeline leaks and damages?
A: MIQroTech’s approach to pipeline leak detection begins with state-of-the-art sensor systems that monitor crucial factors affecting pipeline longevity, such as corrosion, vibration, temperature, geo-positioning, acoustics, and more. This data is wirelessly transmitted to the mIQroTech cloud for further analysis.
Once the data is in our cloud, we employ a combination of classical mathematics and cutting-edge artificial intelligence models to predict leaks before they occur. By focusing on proactive leak prediction rather than reactive leak detection, we aim to provide operators with actionable insights that enable them to take preventive measures and enhance the safety and integrity of their pipeline infrastructure.
Q: How do you see the future of pipeline detection technology evolving in the coming years?
A. As with most industries, AI will play a significant role in the future of pipeline detection technology. The oil and gas sector, in particular, faces challenges related to data availability and usefulness for AI models. MiQroTech aims to address this issue by focusing on data collection for proactive leak prediction rather than reactive leak detection.
Q3: What are some of the biggest challenges that you face while detecting and repairing pipeline leaks?
A. Data limitations pose the biggest challenge in detecting and predicting pipeline leaks. Current leak detection methods often rely on single-variable analysis, which is insufficient for accurately detecting leaks. By collecting billions of measurements across various metrics, we can not only detect a wider range of leaks but also identify their causes. Seeing a pressure drop means you must have a leak. While MiQroTech does not handle leak repairs, we strive to provide operators with the necessary information to make informed decisions on hazard mitigation.
Q4: In your experience, what are some of the common causes of pipeline leaks and damages?
A: The primary cause of pipeline leaks and damages, particularly in the United States, is corrosion. Over 60% of pipeline leaks result from corrosion, which is unsurprising given that the average age of the country’s 2.8 million miles of pipeline exceeds 50 years. Third-party damage, caused by accidental pipeline strikes during excavations or acts of terrorism, is also a growing concern both domestically and internationally.
Q5: What are some of the major challenges faced by India in detecting and preventing pipeline leaks?
A: The main challenge faced by India in detecting and preventing pipeline leaks is the adoption of modern technology. Rapid advancements in technology have outpaced the implementation of up-to-date leak prediction and detection tools in the country.
Q6: Are there any international best practices or models that India can learn from in terms of addressing pipeline leaks and improving pipeline safety?
A: One potential model for India to consider is the United States’ Safer Pipelines Act (HR5120) of 2019. This legislation promotes the use of modern technology to monitor pipelines and predict leaks, which could serve as a useful starting point for countries worldwide. The ultimate goal should be to enable humans and petrochemical infrastructure to coexist safely and sustainably.
Q7: How can public awareness and education be improved in India to help prevent pipeline leaks and reduce their impact on the environment and public health?
A: Improving public awareness and education in India about pipeline leaks can be achieved by encouraging people to familiarize themselves with the locations of pipelines before digging and to research the safety measures implemented by local operators. Additionally, engaging with local governments can help drive positive changes that preserve India’s beauty and health for future generations.
Q8: What are the obstacles keeping oil companies from implementing this technology?’
A: There are two primary challenges that hinder oil companies from adopting this technology:
- Limited access to decision-makers within traditional companies: Reaching the right audience within established oil and gas companies can be difficult, as traditional marketing strategies such as social media advertisements are typically ineffective means of capturing their attention.
- Resistance to technological advancements: The oil and gas industry is often reliant on technologies that date back to the 1970s, which has led to a slow adoption rate of modern solutions. Encouraging these companies to embrace the benefits of contemporary technology is a significant hurdle.
Miqrotech is one of the companies contributing to a more sustainable future by using technology to proactively predict pipeline leaks. Your efforts can reduce the negative impact of such incidents on the environment and public health. It is now essential that the oil and gas industry do the same and adopt sustainable practices for a more secure future.
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