Focusing on camera systems for safety

Piping Up For Technology Series (Part 2)

Innovation never stands still – there’s always a new advancement coming down the pipe. Enbridge is constantly testing commercially available technologies, and looking for opportunities to enhance existing technologies, in the areas of design, prevention, monitoring and leak detection to keep our pipelines safe.

Our Piping Up For Technology Series, on the @enbridge blog, offers a glimpse of various research projects we’re engaged in, and the efforts we’re making to adapt and harness technology for safety’s sake. These proactive investments in innovation are intended to add another layer of safety and security to our pipeline network – and, ultimately, to the energy transportation industry as a whole.

Nothing gets out, and no one gets in.

That’s the intent of an Enbridge pilot project currently being conducted just outside Edmonton – as we test various camera systems for their potential ability to provide both above-ground leak detection and site security monitoring capabilities at our facilities.

“It would make great sense, if the existing technology is viable,” says Jim Mason, operations manager at Enbridge’s Edmonton Terminal. “Having a common platform for both leak detection and security capabilities would be a real win.”

As part of this above-ground facility leak detection project, as it’s known, we’ve been evaluating the performance of various camera systems – including both thermal and non-thermal technologies, as well as remote-operated PTZ (pan-tilt-zoom) cameras – at Enbridge’s Kingman Station, about 45 kilometers southeast of Edmonton.

“These pilot projects provide us with invaluable information about the performance of the technologies,” says Ray Philipenko, senior manager of leak detection at Enbridge. “This information is crucial to making decisions on how they can effectively be applied.”

The leak-detection monitoring element of this project focuses on all exposed piping, such as isolation valves, and related instrumentation, while the security monitoring element focuses on entry and exit points, as well as other targets of interest.

Using 15 cameras from a pair of third-party vendors, the project team will be conducting simulated leaks, using warm water, as well as security and intrusion tests. Camera systems will trigger alarms to be sent to project team members, and also enable operators able to watch the facility remotely in real time.

The project is being carried out by our Leak Detection department, with support from security and regional operations staff.

“We’ll be evaluating the cameras into 2016, so we can assess the technologies through multiple seasons and extreme weather conditions,” says Camille Downs-Lanctot, who’s managing this pilot project for Enbridge.

“And by late 2016, we should be in a place to determine whether any of these technologies can offer reliable, long-term leak detection and security solutions at our facilities.”

Watch for upcoming posts from our Piping Up For Technology series on the @enbridge blog channel.