Cenozon’s Pipeline Integrity Software: Predicting Spills Before They Happen
Canadian pipelines are near capacity and, in the next few years, this capacity will become constrained. In the U.S., the go-ahead for oil exports has resulted in strong growth and entry into new markets.
With the backing of the Alberta and Canadian governments, new pipelines and pipeline expansion will be critical to connect supply with growing markets, particularly in Asia. However, whenever the word “pipeline” is uttered in the public realm, it’s often met with strong verbal opposition from environmental watchdogs and other critics.
The good news story is that no one is as concerned about preventing spills as producers and pipeline operators. Millions of dollars are spent every year to protect the integrity of thousands of miles of pipelines. Their reputation is on the line, as well as the welfare of people and the environment. What if you could predict a breach long before it happens or find a weak artery months or years before a leak?
Pipeline integrity software created by Calgary-based Cenozon Inc. harnesses the power of information technologies to increase the safety and reliability of pipeline operations. Operators must follow increasingly strict regulatory requirements. At the same time, advances in predictive technology, such as Cenozon’s Pipeline Integrity Risk Manager (PIRM) software, vastly improves the speed and accuracy of predicting a leak.
“Cenozon’s pipeline integrity software is unmatched when it comes to safety and environmental risk assessment and mitigation. The software can tell instantly when the integrity of a pipeline is compromised, allowing for repairs to happen before an environmental catastrophe, costly fines and reputational damage,” says Rui Wang, vice president, Cenozon. “It’s not like monitoring, which is observing a situation and then reacting to that situation. We use real-time data to identify risks so that we can prevent something, not react to it after the fact. Our competitors take weeks or months to provide the same information.”
Conditions in the field are dynamic, with the addition or subtraction of wells and flow variances. Because Cenozon’s software is integrated with real time operations data, producers can be informed immediately of usual patterns or fluctuations.
“When we detect data that indicates activity over a pre-determined threshold, our customer will receive a notification,” Wang says, noting that competitors spend so much time getting their results, that conditions in the field will already have changed.
PIRM technology is very straightforward. Cenozon clients access the software via the Internet so nothing needs to be installed on their end, which reduces hardware and infrastructure costs.
Wang points to several case studies following pipeline operators that have used PIRM for years.
“For these customers, their pipeline incident rate is 47 per cent lower than the industry average,” Wang explains. “They see the results.”
This has translated into savings of up to $3M annually in leak-remedy costs, compliance costs and chemical usage for every 10,000 km of upstream pipeline.
Another key issue in pipeline integrity management is effectively adjusting corrosion mitigation measures in response to changes in operating conditions. In a recent case study, Cenozon reported that an international energy company in Alberta was using chemicals in excess of requirements, resulting in an 80 per cent savings in their chemical program over three years.
“That’s $250,000 in just one field of more than 100 fields,” Wang says. “With our current economic conditions, companies want to produce more with less. Right now for oil and gas companies, it’s all about efficiency.”
In another case study, a large Canadian oil producer was looking for better information about their networks. They began using the software to understand connectivity of acquired infrastructure, manage corrosion in an aging network, and to identity potential risks in non-productive assets. Prior to PIRM, non-productive assets were not always easy for the company to manage in a timely manner.
With PIRM, the software syncs with production data to display flow status and the software flags pipelines that are associated with producing wells. If a well shows no production for longer than a month, the system raises a flag and that alert is repeated at six and 12 months. Knowing early that a “line” is inactive allows team members to verify no-flow and execute appropriately to remain in compliance. It also had distinct tax saving advantages.
Cenozon is currently managing 18 per cent of pipelines in Western Canada – more than 100,000 km of pipeline in Western Canada with ambitious plans for expansion in 2016 as networks grow.
For more information visit Cenozon.com