ASOG JAN22.qxp_GAB Master LEFT 10/12/2021 09:59 Page 1
AERIAL EUROPE WORK
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PIPELINE PATROL FLYING THE LINE!
PHOTO COURTESY OF AIR LLOYD
The Monitors of Aerial Work Aviation Have you ever thought you could have a large, hazardous pipeline underneath or near your neighbourhood? If you did, you probably thought “How is the pipeline industry keeping these pipes safe?” Patrick Ryan ‘unearths’ the truth of how one part of this industry, the Pipeline Patrol of Aerial Work aviation, is part of that safety net, ensuring those critical lines are safe and effective. Of all the different land, ground and sea personnel and equipment hard at work across the global energy grid, manned and unmanned aircraft are probably near the top of the list of platforms that ensure energy is delivered from the drilling rig to your home safely. Governments around the globe require oil, gas and chemical pipeline operators to conduct periodic inspections to detect risks to both the network and the general public. In addition, the possibilities of natural disasters, security threats, and product theft require even greater pipeline monitoring diligence. With more than 2,000,000 miles (3,218,69 km) of pipeline in over 100 countries worldwide, the more traditional ground methods of inspection, survey, and repair are proving to be both slow and costly. Therefore, with the unique capabilities and reach of the Aerial Work aviation sector, pipeline operators can leverage this air power to ensure their networks are flowing smoothly without worry. 32 AERIAL WORK EUROPE JANUARY 2022
The specialised group of Aerial Work aviators and aircraft dedicated to this mission is ‘Pipeline Patrol.’ Pipeline Patrol provides aerial pipeline monitoring services that focus on quality, accurate inspections with timely detailed reporting to aid pipeline operators. Their focus is to protect the integrity of the pipeline operator’s strip of land (known as ‘Right-of-Way’ or ROW) and the pipes laid there.
Pipeline Transportation 101 Starting with the big picture, the end-user of aerial Pipeline Patrol services is the Pipeline Transportation industry sector. Pipelines transport almost all the natural gas and nearly two-thirds of all hazardous liquids (including chemicals, crude oil, and refined petroleum). Most of these pipelines are underground and privately owned by pipeline companies, rather than gas and oil production companies (e.g., BP, Shell, etc.). When it comes to this, there are three significant types of
transportation structures aerial Pipeline Patrols monitor: Natural Gas Distribution — Natural gas distribution consists of pipeline networks used to ship natural gas from transmission pipelines to private and commercial customers. Natural Gas Transmission and Storage — Natural gas transmission and storage involve moving natural gas from its sources to the local companies operating the distribution network. Included are storage facilities and pump stations. Hazardous Liquid Pipelines and Tanks — Hazardous liquid pipelines and tanks entail transporting crude oil to refineries or refined petroleum products (e.g., gasoline or diesel fuel) to product terminals and airports. Because Mother Nature likes to corrode and shift both natural and man-made objects, it’s ever more critical that pipeline transportation companies track and repair the
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