We are now living in what has been described as the Experience Era, where lines between the digital and physical are increasingly blurred. As such, we are just beginning to see how customized access to space will improve asset stewardship in ways that are still evolving, as customization of on-orbit technology pushes the bounds of how we receive and process information.
Specific to oil and gas operators, one technology being launched by microsatellite, hyperspectral imagery (HSI), is poised to enable unparalleled daily global pipeline leak prevention, detection and speciation, intrusion and change detection capabilities. This will replace conventional DOT pipeline patrol for compliance while contributing to our understanding of vapor emissions as regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency. This paper discusses both the evolving space marketplace and the state of the art for HSI, including current examples of hyperspectral findings regarding pipeline and terminal leaks.
Successful deployment of HSI will drive a decrease in the number and magnitude of pipeline leaks using persistent, global, high-resolution data collection, rapid and reliable analysis, and immediate reporting of actionable information.
For decades, satellite HSI technology has offered a promise of remote hydrocarbon detection and other features of interest. It is only now becoming scalable, accessible to, and cost-effective for the pipeline industry, and thus a reality for cost-effective pipeline stewardship.