Gas Mapping LiDAR Serves the Natural Gas Transmission Sector
US oil and gas companies rely on roughly 3 million miles of pipeline to transport oil and gas from well heads to end consumers. The abundance and relatively low cost of natural gas is driving demand and adoption, requiring a growing network of pipelines to deliver natural gas to the market.
Defining the Natural Gas Transmission Sector
Companies operating in the transmission sector are responsible for building and maintaining an integrated network of infrastructure and pipelines to facilitate movement of natural gas across the country. From processing plants to city gate stations or industrial end users, transmission occurs through a vast network of high-pressure pipelines.
Challenges Facing the Transmission Sector
Regulations for the transmission sector are complex, and in the US regulations are established and governed primarily by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA). Requirements for patrols are based on location, size, and proximity to cities, homes, or other civilian areas. Among normally required patrols, PHMSA recently released an Advisory Bulletin that requires operators to update their inspection and maintenance plans to identify procedures to prevent and mitigate both vented and fugitive pipeline emissions, as well as replace or repair pipelines made with deteriorating material. Operators must comply with maintenance plan revisions required by the PIPES Act of 2020 to address leaks and minimize releases.
Another challenge that transmission companies face is access and ability to survey their entire pipeline infrastructure. Oftentimes their infrastructure can span thousands of miles and can go across land owned by a third party, can run below roadways, and other obstacles. The nature of these expansive pipeline assets that cover hundreds of miles makes it difficult to survey creating the potential to miss leaks.
Some transmission infrastructure was installed decades ago with old materials that are deteriorating. According to the PHMSA Advisory bulletin, materials such as cast iron, bare steel, certain vintage plastics, are known to cause a disproportionately large share of incidents involving methane leaks. Transmission companies must face significant investment to remediate or replace infrastructure to continue safe operations and to comply with PHMSA mandates.
Gas Mapping LiDAR™ Serving the Transmission Sector
Gas Mapping LiDAR provides unparalleled leak detection, localization, and quantification that makes it easier for transmission companies to reach compliance, access their sites, and better understand the current state of their infrastructure.
Compliance – Gas Mapping LiDAR has been used by transmission companies in both the US and Canada, meeting regulatory requirements in both countries, determined by PHMSA in the US and by both Canada Energy Regulator or provincially within Canada. While the frequency of patrols differs based on the class and location of line, patrols occur at least once a year and can be done via plane. Gas Mapping LiDAR can meet the requirement of both visual patrol and identify leaks to meet more stringent internal guidelines for detection and repair.
Accessibility – The nature of aerial LiDAR creates a more streamlined and efficient way to access and survey entire pipeline facilities that span many miles and may cross private land. Gas Mapping LiDAR sensitively detects emissions that visual patrols (i.e. those looking for dead grass) may miss, as well as provide a pinpoint location and quantification of the leaks.
Visibility – With deteriorating infrastructure comes more leaks. Gas Mapping LiDAR can help transmission companies identify leaks that point to high-risk or failing pipeline infrastructure and materials. Pinpoint location and quantification capabilities help transmission companies inventory assets with aerial photography and helps prioritize repair and replacement efforts based on emission amounts. The photography and other data provided with Gas Mapping LiDAR is auditable, provides aerial photography, and a scan swath.
Is your Transmission Company Ready to Streamline Pipeline Patrols?
Gas Mapping LiDAR provides the most efficient way for transmission companies to reach compliance, locate leaks, and better understand where they need infrastructure updates. Bridger Photonics provides unparalleled leak detection, localization, and quantification for our clients while maintaining a cost-effective and efficient choice. Fill out our contact form now to learn more.