Geospatial analytics firm Satelytics uses an unconventional method to detect leakage in oil pipelines

May 12, 2020 | Case Study

An estimated 1.5 million gallons of crude oil leak from pipelines each year in the U.S. alone. Such leakages not only create financial loss but also pollute the environment with harmful emissions of methane and other greenhouse gases. While large leakages trigger a sudden pressure drop and raise alarms in SCADA systems, it's the smaller leakages that go undetected. Traditionally, pipelines are inspected using on-the-ground-sensors or optical (drone or satellite) imagery. However, both of these methods have some caveats. Sensor-based inspection is expensive, as it requires prior installation; drone-based inspection is slow, as it requires human operators (will be automated in the future); and satellite-based inspection lacks the spatial resolution to identity cracks in pipelines and small leakages. To tackle this, Satelytics has introduced a unique approach to identify small leakages by surrogating inspection of vegetation around pipelines.

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