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Five ways AI can transform the pipeline industry

Momentum behind artificial intelligence (AI) is growing in nearly every sector; the pipeline industry is no different. Pipeline operators all over are investigating how AI and data analytics can improve their operations.   

Recently, we shared how we are helping British Pipeline Agency Ltd. (BPA) boost throughput. As a quick recap, we harnessed our AI and data analytics capabilities to optimise BPA’s pump and compressor operations (a topic we visited a few articles ago that you can read here). But how else is AI revolutionising pipeline operations? We’ve had a think and pulled together a few thoughts.

1. Predictive maintenance: enhancing reliability

Maintaining the integrity and functionality of pipelines is crucial, otherwise you risk harmful incidents including leaks. AI empowers pipeline operators to transition from more traditional preventive maintenance methods to a predictive maintenance approach. By analysing historical data and real-time sensor readings, AI algorithms can forecast potential equipment failures before they occur. This proactive approach not only reduces downtime but also avoids costly emergency repairs, leading to improved asset longevity and operational efficiency.

If you’d like to learn more, check out a previous article where we explored preventive maintenance vs predictive maintenance.


2. Anomaly detection: early issue identification

Pipeline operations generate large quantities of data, so detecting anomalies can feel like finding a needle in a haystack. However, AI-powered anomaly detection systems excel at sifting through vast amounts of data to pinpoint irregularities. This ability is invaluable in identifying leaks, corrosion, or operational deviations. By swiftly identifying these issues, operators can take immediate corrective action to minimise risks and environmental impact.

At Klarian, we can monitor machine health by tracking anomalies in vibration. Interested? Read more here.

3. Optimal routing: maximising throughput

Transporting products from A to B in the most energy efficient way possible, while not compromising throughput, is the goal of every pipeline operator. It is possible to build AI-driven algorithms that consider a multitude of factors like pressure, flow rate, and viscosity to identify the optimum route. By continuously adapting to real-time conditions, AI ensures that the energy resources are transported in the most efficient and cost-effective manner possible, ultimately maximising throughput.

At Klarian, we can even take energy prices into account when assessing optimal routing to help lower operational expenditure in the form of energy costs (it’s part of our pump and compressor optimisation service).

4. Demand forecasting: balancing supply and demand

Fluctuations in energy demand can create operational challenges. AI-powered demand forecasting models can use historical data, economic indicators, and even weather patterns to predict energy consumption patterns. Using this intelligence, pipeline operators can then ensure that energy resources are available where and when they are needed most. The result? Improved operational efficiency and reduced wastage.

5. Decision support: informed decision-making

Complex decisions are a constant in the pipeline industry. While the data often exists to help operators make decisions, it’s often not in a digestible format. AI-driven decision support systems offer data-driven insights that guide operators in making informed choices. By synthesising a multitude of data sources and considering various scenarios, AI aids in making decisions related to maintenance schedules, resource allocation, and risk management. This not only streamlines operations but also enhances the overall decision-making process.

With integrated analytics, DigipipeVision is one such system.

The pipeline industry is at a pivotal juncture, where embracing AI and data analytics can lead to transformative advancements. For pipeline operators, these five ways AI is revolutionising the industry are just the tip of the iceberg. By harnessing the capabilities of AI, pipeline operators can unlock unprecedented levels of efficiency, reliability, and sustainability. This is why Klarian has developed Digipipe. Our data analytics and AI capabilities will help you increase your operational efficiency, reduce costs, and minimise environmental impact. We’d love to discuss this with you, so get in touch.