Oil & Gas, Research

Innovative Pipeline Consortium Marks New Highlights

An industry-led consortium program called iPIPE, or intelligent Pipeline Integrity Program (www.ipipepartnership.com), announces new milestones.

iPIPE is a novel program with a mission of assisting in the commercialization of emerging, game-changing technologies for gathering pipeline leak detection and gathering pipeline leak prevention. The program invests financial resources and physical assets in emerging technologies that may result in new tools in industry’s tool belt, and it attempts to help those technologies become commercially viable. iPIPE consortium members include pipeline operators Hess Corporation, Equinor, Oasis Midstream Partners, Goodnight Midstream, ONEOK, Andeavor, DCP Midstream, and Whiting Petroleum Corporation. The program is cofounded by the North Dakota Industrial Commission.

iPIPE Wins Williston API Industry Innovation Award
The Williston chapter of the American Petroleum Institute (API) held its annual awards dinner Friday, November 16. Several awards for outstanding industry performance and environmental stewardship were announced. These awards are peer-nominated awards, demonstrating the respect of industry peers for outstanding achievements. At this event, iPIPE was awarded an Industry Innovation Award for its unique collaborative industry approach to dramatically improving pipeline safety in the state of North Dakota.

Present at the event to accept on behalf of the consortium were representatives from Goodnight Midstream, Oasis Midstream Partners, Equinor, and ONEOK. Tone Macia, Oasis Midstream’s construction and engineering manager, touted the significance of the award, saying, “iPIPE was honored to be nominated by our industry peers for this award. We believe that this acknowledgment of innovation paves the way for more collaborative efforts that contribute positively to industry operations and public understanding of our business.”

iPIPE Holds Second Technology Selection Round
iPIPE held its second round of technology selections on October 30 and 31, 2018, in Williston, North Dakota. Of the nine proposals presented, four new technologies were selected to be pursued in 2019 through iPIPE. The technology selection process is modeled after ABC’s hit television program, “Shark Tank.”

“The coalition of businesses and partners that make up iPIPE was impressed with our latest round of submissions for new technologies and is proud to be pushing forward with these new ideas,” said Brent Lohnes, general manager of Hess in North Dakota. “It’s great to see the level of excitement for this industry-led initiative, and we hope to see even more practical applications that can help us reach our goals.”

The companies and their technologies selected for codevelopment activities in 2019 include the following:
Satelytics, Inc. – uses machine learning algorithms (artificial intelligence) to identify pipeline leaks using large sets of data from satellites, drones, and commercial aircraft. This will continue a second phase of work previously funding during 2018.
Insitu, Inc. – uses drones flying beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS), multiple sensors, and advanced analytics to identify pipeline leaks over large areas of operation.
Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) – uses commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) cameras and machine learning algorithms to instantly identify hydrocarbon leaks.
Direct-C – uses film-embedded nanocomposites to directly measure hydrocarbon and saline leaks instantly.

Direct-C Chief Operating Officer David Scharff commented on the impact of iPIPE on companies offering emerging technologies, saying, “iPIPE is a truly unique program, offering companies like ours with promising technology the opportunity to complete development of the technology and simultaneously learn about specific industry needs and desires, making us even more competitive.”

During the next 3 years, iPIPE will invest cash, labor, hardware, and other resources in collaborative projects with each of the selected companies and conduct research to progress the technologies toward commercialization.

More than 40 emerging technologies for pipeline leak detection or pipeline leak prevention were evaluated for inclusion in the “Shark Tank”-style event. Twenty-one of these emerging technologies were invited to submit proposals to iPIPE, with nine proposals invited to present their emerging technologies to iPIPE’s industry panel of experts. “iPIPE continues to push the envelope, constantly seeking new technology that shows promise, but needs a bit of guidance to complete development and become commercial,” said iPIPE program manager Jay Almlie, Energy & Environmental Research Center (EERC).

The goal of iPIPE is to develop and demonstrate cutting-edge technology that can prevent and/or detect gathering pipeline leaks in the state. iPIPE partners will do this through a process of testing and selecting emerging technologies, documenting demonstrations and results, and ultimately facilitating the adoption of the best, new technologies into North Dakota pipeline operations.

For more information or if you are interested in becoming a member, please visit www.ipipepartnership.com.

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