Vegetation and Methane and Leaks, Oh My!

• Oil & Gas,Power Utilities,Pipeline

Vegetation and Methane and Leaks, Oh My!

One set of data, many benefits with Satelytics.

  • Problem: Detecting subsurface leaks.
  • Solution: Monitor surficial indicators.
  • Benefit: Multiple solutions from one dataset.

Small subsurface leaks are difficult to detect — if you don’t know where to look. In addition to looking for evidence of crude oil leaks that may or may not reach the surface, Satelytics also monitors vegetation health, our “canary in the mine” for detecting subsurface leaks. How do we do this? Let’s break it down:

While monitoring for liquid leaks, an August 2023 Constant Vigilance™ alert showed a vegetation change in the right-of-way (ROW) of a customer’s gathering line. In the example below, a circle of dead or distressed grasses within a ROW is tagged as a surface disturbance. When the field operator arrived at the provided alert coordinates, they were able to quickly confirm the decline in vegetation health.

Satelytics identified a subsurface leak as it caused a decline in the health of vegetation cover.

Satelytics identified a subsurface leak as it caused a decline in the health of vegetation cover.

The underlying reason for the vegetation change usually is uptake of leaked hydrocarbons or methane through a plant’s root system. The result is chlorosis, where vegetation pales in color as it is choked of needed nutrients. When plants change in color/health, the spectral signature of the vegetation is altered — a change our vegetation algorithms are trained to identify.

Vegetation Growth and Tree Height

In this instance, these gathering lines carry liquids and gas, so field crews immediately checked for both the presence of oil and scanned for methane with a handheld gas analyzer. Thanks to Satelytics’ early detection, those in the field were able to confirm the cause of the vegetation health decline was a methane leak.

Satelytics solves multiple business challenges with a single set of data, just like in the above example. Whether related or not, a multitude of threats can be monitored across entire asset territories. What are you missing? Avoid surprises with Satelytics.

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