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Using satellite data to detect oil, produced water leaks

Dave Thompson
Prairie Public

North Dakota’s Energy and Environmental Research center has been doing research into ways to detect oil and gas leaks, as well as produced water leaks, under its "iPipe" program.

"iPipe" stands for "intelligent Pipeline Integrity Program."

EERC's Jay Almlie said one of its successes is in the use of staellite data to detect oil, produced water and methane leaks. A company called "Satelytics" has been working on that project. Almlie said it issues "red flags" to indicate leaks.

Almlie said industry is now searching for ways to take that and roll it out commercially, basin-wide.

"It's exciting," Almlie told the state's Industrial Commission. "It's the first effort in the world to do something like this, where a number of pipeline operators are considering coming together to pay for this, to monitor basin-wide."

Almlie said EERC is helping to find regulatory pathways forward, and is working on what each individual company’s fair share of the costs will be.

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