July 12, 2020 0 Comments Environment, North America, United States

5 Ways Technology Has Made Oil Pipelines Safer

Natural gas and oil pipelines run their own superhighway across the U.S., and the method of movement has long been scrutinized by environmentalists.  However, technology has done a lot to help make the process of moving oil and natural gas safer for everyone.

The United States is responsible for producing and transporting enormous amounts of natural gas and oil to keep the country powered, and technology has done loads to make the process better.  Check out a few ways in which technology has made oil and gas pipelines safer for the future.

Advance lining/coating for protection

When designing a pipeline that is safe and able to endure the test of time, you have to apply a coating of safety from the elements.  The Earth’s soil and weather are endlessly corrosive to the metals used in the pipeline’s structure.

Advanced technologies have allowed for the industry to develop specialized coatings for the interior and the exterior of oil pipelines.  The special coating adds durability and safety to pipeline construction.

Closer inspection and monitoring tools

You can’t just build and install an oil pipeline to simply leave it there unattended.  Pipelines need regular maintenance and monitoring, and technology has made that process ever more efficient over time.

Instead of sending people out to tough conditions for inspection, operators can simply fly a drone equipped with a high resolution camera over the site to get a good look at what’s happening.  Thermal cameras can show whether there is a change in the surrounding environment as well.

The ability to process big data

All the data collected by the tech tools operators are using to keep an eye on their pipelines has to be sorted and analyzed to be truly useful.  The internet and the reach of the cloud grant the ability to localize and analyze mass amounts of information in a speedy manner.

Virtual and augmented reality tools

Planning the installation of a pipeline is a crucial part of the overall safety of the construction.  Virtual and augmented reality tools allow engineers to consider a range of elements in the path of the plotted pipeline without ever breaking ground.

If there is an environmental hazard in the making, engineers can foresee and avoid the issue while still in the planning phases of construction.

Geographic information systems for planning

GIS (Geographic information systems) helps pipeline engineers add to their bag of planning tricks by allowing the ability to thoroughly evaluate more advanced variables in the path of the planned pipeline route.

There’s more than just the movement of land involved in the installation of a new pipeline.  Social and economic impacts should be considered as well.