Pipeline Power

Written by: Mohamed Attia, Director, Pipeline Integrity & Advanced Technology

Advanced technology is changing the game for pipeline integrity and maintenance programs.

For pipeline owners and operators, the risks are real.

Pressure is mounting: rigorous and complex regulations, price volatility, environmental crusades, and even unpredictable weather and geohazards are writing a new chapter for oil and gas.

But thanks to forward-thinking companies embracing digitalization to better manage their assets and mitigate risks—whether it’s for designing, building, or operating a pipeline—they get to author the future.

Monitoring & Mitigation
Pipeline integrity and maintenance programs are nothing new, but the way we can acquire the critical data is.

“More traditional methods for site visits and planning, including deploying large crews on foot, can be challenging,” says Mohamed Attia, GeoVerra’s Director of Pipeline Integrity & Advanced Technology. The planning before data capture is detailed and intense, and the process itself is slow, with crews taking all the pictures by hand and working carefully to get to hard-to-reach areas.

“We often work with hundreds of kilometres of pipeline under the ground, in the bush or hard-to-access terrain,” says Attia. “Sometimes because of the terrain or type of soil, it can’t be accessed in the summer at all by crews.” Data capture becomes expensive, time-intensive, and wrought with safety concerns.

Knowledge, Metre by Metre

Unless of course, Attia and his team enter the picture. What do they do?

Hint: think fewer boots on the ground.

“We fly UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles)—drones—along the whole pipeline network,” explains Attia. “That way, our client gets a view of everything. The visual is for the whole location, with 360-degree panoramic pictures, which we deliver through a customized web portal.”

These interactive web portals, containing all the data captured, are at the clients’ fingertips. It becomes the knowledge base not only for these maintenance programs, but also for any asset management program.

Shaving for Savings

“We’re still sending a crew to get the data,” explains Attia. “But this is a two-person crew, instead of eight or ten. With this technology, our work can take a week instead of a month—with way fewer people.”

As for the client? They stay in their office and access the pictures and videos they need…knowing they’ve experienced a cost savings of around 60 percent.

This value is undeniable: greater productivity, higher system efficiency, and savings from reduced resource usage.

In Short Notice

While GeoVerra isn’t the only geomatics company using laser scanning, Mobile Mapping Systems, Ground Penetrating Radar, and 360 imaging—Attia believes they have one big differentiator.

We have such high responsiveness,” he explains. “It’s not uncommon to hear, ‘Do you have the resources to do the work on short notice or no?’ We have the pre-planning and manpower to be right there.

Attia’s team is based in Alberta, but works across the country. Current projects are in British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, and Quebec.

The Feedback Factor

“Developing the web portal is about ease for these clients,” says Attia. GeoVerra provides an interactive visualization tool so they can plan better, make informed decisions, and set future maintenance and operational programs. The web portals are fully customized and are commonly used for applications outside of pipelines too.

“Our clients can view everything they want—without needing to know about the sensors, how they work, or how we stitch everything together,” says Attia. “Like Google Maps, all I really need to know is, where’s my friend’s house? We deliver exactly what they’re looking for.”

So get in touch, and be that much closer to mitigating risk, meeting compliance, and keeping your most important assets protected—all while saving time and money.

Contact GeoVerra today.

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