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Three of North America’s largest pipeline operators - Enbridge Pipelines Inc., TransCanada Corporation, and Kinder Morgan Canada - have signed a Joint Industry Partnership (JIP) agreement to conduct research into aerial-based leak detection technologies, in the interest of enhancing across-the-board pipeline safety.

Evaluating pipeline anomalies remains a vital task in the pipeline industry. Properly identifying, assessing, and repairing defects is crucial in ensuring public and environmental safety. Recent technological advancements have automated this process and drastically increased its overall efficiency.

Quorum Business Solutions, Inc., a leading provider of business information technology solutions for the energy industry, announced completion of its acquisition of Fielding Systems, LLC. Fielding provides cloud-based applications for the oil and gas sector, including field data capture, production reporting and remote SCADA monitoring. The acquisition expands Quorum’s product suite and advances the company’s strategy to deliver industry-leading software and services which enable clients to better manage data across their organizations.

After 25 years of covering the oil and gas industry, I can still find time for a good laugh; either that or shake my head in frustration, yank out some gray hairs and ask, “why”? The other day I was perusing emails when this grabbed my attention. “Poll: Key Primary Voters Support Arctic Drilling, Say Energy is Important Issue in 2016 Race.”

The Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) published a new final rule amending the pipeline safety regulations for both gas (§192) and liquid (§195) in multiple subject areas. The final rule also made several editorial changes in the regulations. The changes are effective Oct. 1.

The need for major changes to the nation’s energy infrastructure is why President Obama initiated a quadrennial cycle of energy reviews to provide a multiyear roadmap for U.S. energy policy. The result is the recent release of the initial installment of the first-ever Quadrennial Energy Review 2015 (QER) prepared by the White House task force.

The Caspian region of Central Asia is one of the world’s most important oil and gas-producing regions. Until recently, Caspian gas traveled thousands of miles via largely Soviet-built pipelines to eastern Russia where a portion of it was re-exported to Europe at two and even three times the purchase price.

Since 2010, however, newly built pipelines have carried natural gas east to China, which receives about 50% of Caspian gas exports, surpassing Russia and Europe’s share 26% and Iran and Turkey take of 24%.

Today, let’s imagine that we are a company producing oil and gas in the Eagle Ford Shale, the Permian Basin, and the Denver-Julesburg Basin in Colorado. We own and operate well pads, pipelines flowing from wells to facilities treating those flows, and bigger pipelines which take our products to sales points and “ring the cash register.”

(Editor’s note: This is the second article of two articles.)

Pipeline controllers work in an environment with continuous interruptions and distractions. With every new SCADA upgrade there is the potential to increase the amount of information presented on the displays, causing the amount of distraction to grow side by side with industry innovation.

Such distractions can become “noise,” confusing or distracting a pipeline controller from making timely decisions that affect the safe operation of the pipeline.

Integrity assessment has always been a part of operations and maintenance activities. As plant piping and pipeline infrastructure has aged, industry first developed basic tools, and as their importance became apparent, these tools improved to meet those increasing needs.

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