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Unlocking hidden patterns: how AI and data science can optimise pipeline pump and compressor efficiency

By harnessing the power of advanced analytics and real-time data, pipeline operators can maximise throughput, reduce energy usage, and increase overall efficiency.

We recently announced that one of the UK’s leading onshore pipeline operators, British Pipeline Agency Ltd. (BPA), is working with us to improve their pumping efficiency.

In a previous article, we gave you five reasons why pipeline operators should prioritise pipeline pumps and compressor efficiency. In this article, we thought we’d delve deeper into how artificial intelligence (AI) and data science can unlock hidden patterns and significantly improve the operational efficiency of pumps and compressors.

Real-time monitoring and predictive analytics

AI-powered real-time monitoring allows pipeline operators to capture and analyse vast amounts of data from pumps and compressors. Collecting data on variables (such as temperature, pressure, flow rates, and energy consumption) can give operators valuable insights into their operations. Operators can then use this real-time visibility for proactive maintenance and predictive analytics, identifying potential issues before they escalate into costly failures or unplanned downtime. If operators implement an AI-driven system, they can optimise pump and compressor performance to ensure consistent and reliable performance.


Performance optimisation

AI and data science can unlock hidden patterns and correlations within the collected data to optimise pump and compressor performance. By analysing historical and real-time data, operators can build AI algorithms to identify optimal operating conditions, including when is best to pump. Insights like these help operators fine-tune their equipment and operations for increased efficiency and reduced energy consumption.

By building models of ‘normal operations’, AI can be used to identify anomalies, such as inefficient pump or compressor configurations, and recommend adjustments to maximise performance and minimise energy waste. Through pump optimisation and compressor optimisation, operators can achieve energy savings while maintaining optimal throughput.


Energy efficiency

Running pumps and compressors is costly. By optimising pumps and compressors using AI and data science, operators can reduce energy usage and, in turn, reduce operational expenses. AI algorithms can analyse energy consumption patterns and identify opportunities for energy optimisation. This includes identifying the most efficient operating points, reducing unnecessary starts and stops, and optimising the equipment scheduling. By leveraging these insights, operators can achieve substantial energy savings while maintaining optimal throughput.


Asset condition monitoring

Implementing asset condition monitoring systems empowers pipeline operators with real-time insights into the health and performance of their pumps and compressors. This real-time visibility enables proactive maintenance and can even facilitate the shift from traditional preventive maintenance to predictive maintenance. You can develop predictive maintenance AI algorithms to analyse the data to identify potential issues before they escalate into costly failures or unplanned downtime. If you’d like to learn more, one of our previous articles investigates preventive vs predictive maintenance.


Risk mitigation and safety

In addition to efficiency improvements, condition monitoring through AI and data science contributes to enhanced safety and risk mitigation. AI algorithms monitor operational parameters, such as pressure levels and temperature variations, to detect potential safety risks. By identifying anomalies in real-time, operators can take immediate action, helping to prevent accidents and ensure the overall safety of the pipeline system. The integration of AI-driven solutions in condition monitoring adds an extra layer of protection and promotes a safety-first approach.


Data is everywhere. AI and data science help pipeline operators unlock hidden patterns to reveal actionable insights to maximise throughput, reduce energy consumption and increase operational efficiency. The integration of AI-driven solutions can also enhance risk mitigation and safety, giving operators confidence in the integrity of their pipeline systems.

Pipeline operators should embrace AI and data science technologies to position their operations at the cutting edge of the industry, enabling them to achieve long-term sustainability and cost-effectiveness while meeting the growing demands of the market.

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