Last May, North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum met with and challenged oil and gas industry, agency officials and other stakeholders to develop best practices and improved technology for pipeline. A year later, the North Dakota Industrial Commission (NDIC) has provided a $1.6 million grant for the Intelligent Pipeline Integrity Program (iPIPE) that will focus on advancing new technologies to improve pipeline integrity and safety. Private contributions by industry partners will provide a total of $3.7 million to the project to help fund it over the 3 ½ year project period.
The iPIPE Consortium partners are Hess Corporation, Equinor, Goodnight Midstream, Oasis Midstream Partners, ONEOK, the Energy and Environmental Research Center (EERC), and other technology providers. EERC will coordinate the program and provide Bakkan education to the technology providers, while industry members will host and provide support for demonstrations.
The consortium is looking at emerging technology that may need that extra funding something to help make it commercially viable. During a think tank event May 1st, eight companies presented their technologies. Two projects were selected for testing. One technology project involves satellite and aircraft imagery and deep learning and artificial intelligence to identify leak sites not perceived by the human eye. Another project is using small sensors floating through the pipeline to submit data on the pipeline’s health and integrity in a variety of fluids.
While the consortium is concentrating in North Dakota, the valuable outcome from the grant will be a benefit to all operators.