SolSpec was founded in 2016 under a vision to improve environmental and public safety and to increase efficiencies for the energy industry.
SolSpec’s platform services the widespread use of aerial imagery, and while drones and other aerial data acquisition tools are an important part of the process, at SolSpec they’re one tool on the belt.
The OGM had the opportunity to interview Bryan Crowe, Chief Operating Officer for SolSpec addressing pipeline incidents and how to prevent them from occurring.
When I was leaving the military, I was looking for an opportunity that would utilize my training and provide a rewarding career. I found an operator in Georgia looking for a pipeline technician and jumped at the opportunity. I’ve now been in oil and gas for 16 years and it’s been an amazing journey. What excites me most is the immense potential that digital transformation and IT modernization can have on workflows for safer and much more efficient pipeline operations. In my current role at SolSpec, I help our customers evaluate their pipeline integrity and safety needs and help advise on recommended inspection practices and current and emerging regulations.
I believe in servant leadership. I’m here to provide my team — and ultimately our customers, with the tools and resources they need to be successful. But, this doesn’t mean blindly serving teams without challenging the status quo or avoiding the unpopular decision. I was fortunate to learn from mentors and leaders who challenged me and by doing so, gave me the confidence to question, to explore and at times, to fail. We learn from that. A leader should listen, communicate effectively, ensure everyone understands the shared vision to achieve goals and solve problems.
Incidents have increased nearly two-fold from 1999 to 2018. The costs of incidents that degrade public and environmental health and require extensive repairs are only getting higher. The most effective and efficient means of addressing pipeline incidents is to prevent them from occurring in the first place. SolSpec’s ROW Integrity Management solution helps measure, map, predict and prevent geohazard risks to pipeline right of ways. The solution encompasses drone flight plans, data collection and advanced analytics deliver high-resolution 3D models and reporting tools for visualizing and measuring slip conditions, hydrology and BMP condition assessments and slip potential. Using SolSpec, operators can continuously monitor and interact with projects from their office and gain interactive 3D maps and reports that list risks, ranked by importance and urgency. This enables operators to allocate resources to the areas that would have the largest impact, speed time to repair, save costs and ultimately and most importantly — improve safety and reduce risk.
Digital transformation is sweeping the oil and gas industry as more companies embrace technology to boost productivity, improve system efficiency, reduce resources and waste, and reduce spills and emissions. Drones and UAVs have emerged as a key process improvement for pipeline inspection. But it doesn’t stop at monitoring and mapping. Today, innovation though cloud platforms, ultra-high spatial resolution aerial imagery, AI and machine learning, predictive analytics and big data are opening up new opportunities to transform pipeline integrity management to a more proactive approach to help reduce risk and accelerate time to value.
One of the biggest areas of innovation is happening in what I call “actionable insights” and speed to which decisions are made and acted upon. Simply collecting data and creating maps does not solve problems. Transforming data into actionable, usable insight is key – and that’s where advanced analytics, big data, and AI are coming into play. Advancements in technology are reducing the amount of time it takes to process aerial data from weeks into hours, enabling near real time decision-making and predictive analysis. This allows operators to shift from a reactive to a proactive approach to pipeline integrity management, leveraging data to better prioritize and allocate resources and to help make operations safer and more environmentally friendly while driving costs down.
The advancements in technology in green energy are making the transition to cleaner energy more of a reality. However, these advances are not able to bridge the gap of consumer needs in the interim. The advances in technology and the shale revolution has made natural gas more accessible, cheaper, safer, and more environmentally friendly. It has also given us energy independence. When combined with renewable energy, natural gas can provide clean and responsible energy for the foreseeable future.
High energy costs have a negative impact on economic growth. We need to find solutions to drive these costs as low as possible. New technology has allowed for safer and more responsible use of fossil fuels. Investments in renewable energy should be increased, but regulations restricting the use of clean fossil fuels should be relaxed until the technology, economics, and scalability of renewables are competitive with fossil fuels.
You can hear Bryan talk about the use of aerial analytics for reducing risks to pipeline integrity at GITA’s Pipeline Technology Forum on October 2 in Houston, TX, and at the Technology Showcase at Shale Insight on October 24th in Pittsburgh, PA.
More info about SolSpec at https://solspec.solutions/
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