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Preserving pipelines, the vital asset

by Indrajit Sen on Feb 14, 2017




It might have little meaning to the regional oil and gas industry, but it would be worth talking about a couple of (controversial) pipeline projects far away in North America that have been given the executive green light recently. America’s new president Donald Trump has approved the construction of two pipelines – the Keystone XL, running from Alberta in Canada to the state of Illinois in the US and the Dakota Access pipeline, that would run across the states of North Dakota to Illinois, causing much uproar.

While both these pipelines, being considered by the new US administration as vital to the country’s energy independence and creating jobs – it is the risks to the environment that had sparked protests ever since the projects’ plan was first made public, prompting Trump’s predecessor to stall construction for a number of years.

The Keystone XL pipeline would transport bitumen mixed with crude oil from Canada to the US. Activists and indigenous groups are concerned about potential leakages that could cause environmental damage and wreak havoc to the water resources of territory it is passing through.

The setting up of these two key pipelines, must be welcomed from all corners as a sign of boost to the pipeline segment within the oil and gas industry. However, if the presidential ratification to both the projects is being protested on the grounds of environmental harm, there is reason for the administration and the players involved to pause and emphasise on the pipelines’ management and maintenance aspect.

That, dear readers, is the subject of our Special Report this month.

Pipeline management – a sector straddling both the upstream and midstream segments of the oil and gas industry – assumes critical importance, as upstream companies strive towards achieving efficiency in every stage of operations. Managing the pressure and flow of the liquid/gas, monitoring execution of schedules and ensuring an effective transportation system becomes vital, and that is what we aim to highlight in the Report.

GE Oil & Gas, our esteemed Knowledge Partner for the Report, shares how the energy division of one of the world’s largest digital service providers is helping its clientele maintain integrity of their pipeline assets. The company’s sophisticated pipeline management portfolio, mainly comprising digital products, among other benefits, helps operators effectively track the health of their pipeline networks and monitor their assets’ performance.

The global pipeline infrastructure continues to expand, with new construction forecasted to grow at 3.4% between 2016-19, with most rapid growth in the Middle East and China, as per the Simdex Future Pipeline Projects Worldwide Guide. According to another industry estimate, the global pipeline leak detection system market for the oil and gas industry by product type, technology and geography is expected to reach $3.2bn in magnitude by 2023.

To quote Rami Qasem, president and CEO of GE Oil & Gas’ business in the MENAT region: “The ultimate goal for the industry is zero pipeline failure, all the more critical because the pipelines are set through harsh environments. Operators are therefore focussing on ensuring that safety remains the top priority. They rely on robust data, real-time workforce planning and ready information to optimise the performance. Only digital industrial solutions can meet these in real-time and with reliability.”


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