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Proceedings of the 2012 9th International Pipeline Conference IPC2012 September 24-28, 2012, Calgary, Alberta, Canada


Randy Nickle Alliance Pipeline Calgary, Alberta, Canada Moness Rizkalla Visitless Integrity Assessment Limited Calgary, Alberta, Canada Rick Pevarski Virginia Utility Protection Service, Inc. Roanoke, Virginia, USA Richard Graham Visitless Integrity Assessment Limited Calgary, Alberta, Canada Mark Piazza Pipeline Research Council International Inc. Falls Church, Virginia, USA Paul Adlakha C-CORE St. Johns, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada

ABSTRACT The past decade has seen the continued development and the implementation of satellite-based Right of Way (RoW) encroachment monitoring as an element of the pipeline industrys toolbox for proactive prevention of mechanical damage. This paper presents a brief overview of the underlying technology, the current applied capabilities and an illustration of where the technology fits within the industrys toolbox. The early results of two ongoing studies concerning the implementation of satellite-based RoW encroachment monitoring are discussed. Both studies, sponsored by VUPS and PRCI-Alliance Pipeline respectively, were intended to further advance the technology and its delivery to the industry. The VUPS-sponsored project demonstrated the feasibility of integrating satellite-based monitoring within the operations of a utility one call to deliver the technologys benefits to several pipeline operators within the projects area of interest. The PRCI-Alliance Pipeline sponsored study investigated the potential higher resolution detection capabilities of a virtual constellation of satellites. Together the two studies demonstrate the applicability of the technology for Encroachment Monitoring and the means to deliver its benefits to the pipeline industry. INTRODUCTION This paper discusses the pipeline industrys challenges in managing third party mechanical damage and it proposes radarenabled satellite-based monitoring as a potential solution.

Included are a discussion and analysis of two recent projects delivered by Visitless Integrity Assessment Limited (via+), 1 a pipeline integrity service company, based in Calgary, Alberta. Both projects were undertaken in partnership with C-CORE, a research and development organization with world-leading expertise in Remote Sensing, Ice Engineering and Geotechnical Engineering based in St. Johns, Newfoundland. 2 The first project demonstrates a potential alternate delivery mode of third-party encroachment monitoring and was sponsored by the Virginia Utility Protection Service (VUPS). It assessed the feasibility of integrating VUPS advanced GISenabled one-call with via+s satellite-based right-of-way (RoW) Encroachment Monitoring System (EMS), a near-real time service using RADARSAT-1 imagery. The second project, sponsored by the Pipeline Research Council International (PRCI) and Alliance Pipeline, evaluates the use of a constellation of new generation Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) satellites that are now in orbit and operational. This constellation includes RADARSAT-23 (RS-2), TerraSARX4 (TSX), and COSMO-SkyMed5 (CSK). The project consisted of a field program that was conducted in Alberta to test the detection performance using both known and blind staged targets along a section of a pipeline RoW. The studies evaluate and demonstrate the delivery of a satellitebased capability that the pipeline industry can deploy to proactively prevent mechanical damage during operations. Both projects were ongoing at advanced stages at the time this paper was written.

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THE NATURE OF THE MECHANICAL DAMAGE PROBLEM Mechanical damage remains the single largest cause of on-land pipeline incidents. The following is a statistical breakdown of incident reporting for mechanical damage in North America: 6 75% are caused by third parties 90% occur immediately upon contact with only a small fraction failing later in service 70% occur in cases where unauthorized encroachment take place without any contact being made with the local First Call organizations 65% occur on pipelines with some level of signage

Footprint coverage area Frequency of monitoring (bi-weekly, daily etc.) Cost

A TECHNOLOGY-BASED SOLUTION Based on the nature of the problem, an optimal solution for addressing the pipeline industrys persistent challenge of third party mechanical damage incidents is to implement a preventative technology-based solution. The attributes of such a technology-based solution should include: Higher frequency monitoring Wider swath (several miles on either side of RoW) Independence from weather conditions Automation, (recorded due diligence process) Adaptability with one-call systems Suitability to near-real-time notification system

While there have been several demonstrations of a wide range of valuable pipeline industry applications of both optical and synthetic aperture radar (SAR) satellites, early investigations sponsored by the PRCI and leading pipeline companies have concluded that imagery derived from SAR satellites are better suited for encroachment monitoring. These investigations demonstrated and documented the capability to detect construction equipment (in blind tests) that may be potentially injurious from a pipeline integrity viewpoint. With respect to the potential monitoring frequency, it should be noted that most pipelines in North America may be monitored more than several times a day. Satellite-based Pipeline RoW Monitoring A satellite-based pipeline Right of Way (RoW) monitoring process known as Enhanced Management Service (EMS) has been developed over the past 10 years and commercially deployed in June 2008. This monitoring capability was first developed in co-operation with the PRCI along with individual pipeline companies that have funded pilot studies. Subsequent technological advances including satellite technology enhancements, image analysis software improvements, and other innovations have enabled further improvements to this capability. Based on documented field trials and pilot studies for conditions ranging from Design Class 1 to Class 3 pipelines (indicating progressively congested land use conditions), the current technical capabilities include: detection rates of 80 to 90 %, false alarm/call rates of 10 to 15% and three-hour reporting turnaround times from image capture to operator notification of detected encroachments.8,9,10,11 The incremental benefits of satellite-based RoW monitoring over conventional air patrol include: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Weather independent monitoring Higher monitoring frequency than typically undertaken by air patrol Potentially much wider monitoring swath-width Traceable and documented process, offering an incremental demonstration of due-diligence No need for equipment installations along the RoW or within the pipeline companys infrastructure

OVERVIEW OF SATELLITE TECHNOLOGY Earth Observation Satellite Technologies Earth observation through remote sensing is an established field that may be supported by either air-borne or space-borne platforms, with satellite-based capabilities belonging to the latter. In case of the satellites, and considering a wide range of industry sectors including and beyond transmission pipelines, there are likely more numerous mapping end-product applications requiring one or, at most, few image acquisitions in contrast to monitoring applications such as that described herein which require a large number of repeat near-real time image acquisitions. Currently, there are a large number of earth observation satellites in operation, with a subset of those suitable for pipeline RoW monitoring. More satellites are expected to be launched in the next decade; Euroconsult (2010) projects that 267 satellites will be launched by 2019 for earth observation by governments for both civilian and military uses of optical and SAR imagery. Additionally, almost 40 satellites will be launched by private operators for commercial optical and radar imagery. Taken together, this represents a large and growing capability for pipeline RoW monitoring. 7 The design of a satellite imagery-based monitoring program requires finding a balance between several inter-related drivers, primarily: Sensor type (depending on what is to be detected) Resolution of images (size of potential targets)

From a pipeline integrity management perspective, Figure 1, below identifies the fit of proactive prevention within the industrys mechanical damage management toolbox. Figure 2, below presents the monitoring, analysis and reporting process. An example of the cumulative results derived over a period of 1-year of a typical area of interest is presented in Figure 3, below. The elements of a sample EMS report, which are issued to a pipeline operators field staff in a confidential data-secured manner, are included in Figure 4, on the following page.

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Figure 1

Figure 2 The EMS Process

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Figure 3 Sample 1-Year Encroachment Monitoring Report

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Figure 4 Sample EMS Report

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Technology Deployment Avenues In assessing the value of the integration of the EMS service into an operators system, the following criteria need to be considered: 1. 2. Population Growth of the area under surveillance History of 3rd Party Damage incidents within the targeted area/system Pipeline class location higher benefit when monitoring is applied in Classes II and III as part of a waiver to a class upgrade Suitability of cost sharing between operators Possible delivery through a state utilities protection service provider

Approach and Methodology The pilot programs objectives were to: monitor the test area utilizing Satellite Radar; to identify potential encroachments on RoWs; to notify members of encroachment events and; to receive member feedback on identified targets The programs notification protocol was as follows: 1) VUPS notifies member if Target is inside a current Ticket Excavation Polygon, or if Target is outside a current Ticket Excavation Polygon


4. 5.

VIRGINIA UTILITIES PROTECTION SERVICE (VUPS) DEMONSTRATION STUDY Scope A logical opportunity has been recognized for some time to explore the integration of satellite monitoring detection results of near pipeline RoW activities and the utility protection service notification tickets where the former would be an extension of the latter. This demonstration study undertook to assess the feasibility of merging the advanced GIS-enabled one-call service provided by Virginia Utility Protection Service (VUPS) with the satellitebased EMS to offer complimentary benefits in detecting thirdparty encroachment activity. VUPS (also known as va-811) is a one-call communications center that contractors, property owners or those planning any kind of excavation can call before they dig in order to prevent possible damage to underground utility lines, injury, property damage and service outages.12 The study area for the project included several member pipeline company RoWs in Virginia, USA near Washington, DC. Figure 5, below, represents the satellite coverage provided by RADARSAT-1 Fine Beam images. The nominal spatial resolution of RADARSAT-1 Fine Beam images is eight meters with a coverage area of 50 x 50 kilometers. 2)

and, then send Snapshot of Area with notification Member will notify VUPS Results A sample result of the analysis undertaken by VUPS following the receipt of the satellite monitoring report is presented in Figure 6, below. Unreported activities were detected outside of ticket notification areas. A summary of the preliminary analysis of the first half of the pilot study indicated the following results: 58 target detections, of which 5 were within a ticket notification; and 53 targets not associated with an active ticket. The large number of detections not associated with an active ticket included unreported near RoW construction activities, unreported normal land use and apparent false calls. A graphic summary of the results from the entire program is presented in the Figure 7, below. If a target was found, what type of target If No target found, evidence of previous existence

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Figure 5 Area of interest coverage for RADARSAT-1 Fine Beam images in Virginia, USA

Figure 6 Comparison of Satellite Detected Encroachments to Ticket Notification Areas in VUPS Study Area

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Figure 7 Summary of VUPS Pilot Study

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PRCI-ALLIANCE PIPELINE VIRTUAL S.A.R. CONSTELLATION PILOT Scope The objective of the Satellite-Based Pipeline Integrity Management study sponsored by PRCI and Alliance Pipeline was to quantify the encroachment detection improvements using higher resolution and more frequent imaging than previously available using only the RS-1 satellite. Building in part on these developments, it was the studys objective to assess the capabilities of a new generation of Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) satellites that are now in orbit and operational, including: RADARSAT-2 (RS-2) TerraSAR-X (TSX) COSMO-SkyMed (CSK)

resolution beam modes have all shown better detection capabilities than RS-1. Detection rates as high as 95% for CSK were demonstrated. The blind staged targets were purposely selected to be smaller than the resolution of the RS-1 imagery. As such, none of the blind targets were detected by RS-1. While not likely hazardous from a mechanical damage perspective, they were selected to test the algorithms which would in-turn contribute to improved detection and reduced false calls in the operational context. While a full analysis of the entire dataset has yet to be completed, the key conclusions that can be drawn based on the analysis conducted to date: 1. In what would be analogous to metal loss defect detection by in-line inspection, encroachment detection and characterization performance is influenced by the size of the target and the incident angle used for imaging 2. Higher resolution satellites show an increased capability of target detection for pipeline encroachment monitoring 3. The virtual constellation of currently operating commercial radar satellites offer the potential of numerous daily monitoring of most pipelines worldwide.

A key capability investigated was the use of the higher resolution beam modes (3m resolution vs. 8m resolution for RS-1) available from all of these newer satellites. Together, these satellites are owned and operated by three separate organizations: MacDonald Detwiller and Associates (MDACanada), Astrium (Germany), and Telespazio (Italy), respectively. Together, they make up a Virtual SAR Constellation (VSC). Satellite monitoring using a VSC offers unique advantages to the industry in meeting the objectives of managing mechanical damage. A VSC provides for more frequent observation occurrences and timelier third party encroachment detection. Approach and Methodology A field program was conducted in Alberta from August to September 2011. The objective was to test the detection performance using both known and blind staged targets along a section of pipeline. Figure 8, below, maps out the study parameters for the PRCI-Alliance Alberta pilot. Figures 9 and 10, following, illustrate the types and sizes of test targets used in the study. This project applied the current target detection processes used by via+ and C-CORE in the operational service capability, as well as other techniques and algorithms to determine an optimized encroachment monitoring procedure. Imagery from the high-resolution satellites was collected before, during and after target staging for analysis. RS-2 data were also collected until the end of November 2011 to coincide with RS-1 data, currently used in operations, for comparison of results. Results Each of the higher resolution SAR satellites has shown an increased capability of target detection for pipeline encroachment monitoring. RS-2, TS-X, and CSK high-

CONCLUSION During the past 10 years, the pipeline industry witnessed significant improvements in image-to-image change detection methodologies and in both the number and capabilities of radar satellites. These improvements enhance the industrys capability to monitor its RoWs and contribute to the necessary proactive prevention of mechanical damage. The VUPS sponsored pilot study confirmed that satellite-based monitoring can be an effective component of a one-call utilities protection service, while the PRCI-Alliance Pipeline sponsored study demonstrated the potential higher resolution detection capabilities of a virtual constellation of satellites. In the case of VUPS sponsored pilot study, the EMS process detected a significant number of potential targets representing a potentially higher number of mechanical damage incidents that were not associated with an active ticket. In the case of the PRCI-Alliance sponsored project, newer higher resolution radar satellites detected a greater number of smaller targets. Taken together, the two studies demonstrate a significant improvement in pipeline monitoring for third party encroachment and contribute to advancing the technology and the means to deliver its benefits to the pipeline industry.

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Figure 8 PRCI -Alliance Study Area Parameters in Alberta

Smaller Blind Detection Test Targets of the PRCI-Alliance Study

Figure 9


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Larger Detection Test Targets of the PRCI-Alliance Study Alberta

Figure 10

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS The author team would like to acknowledge the PRCIs and several of its member companies support of the development of the underlying technology over the past 10 years. The technologys current state has benefited from the visionary leadership of Alliance Pipeline and Virginia Utilities who hosted the two studies presented herein. The significance of the funding support from both PHMSA and C-CORE was greatly appreciated and its importance cannot be overstated. REFERENCES 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. ml

Kiefner, J.F., Mesloh, R.E., and Kiefner, B.A. 2001. Analysis of DOT Reportable Incidents for Gas Transmission and Gathering System Pipelines, 1985 through 1997. Prepared for PRCI (PRCI Report No. PR-218-9801). 7. Euroconsult (2010) Satellites to be Built & Launched by 2019, World Market Survey. Euroconsult 2010. 8. C-CORE (2001) Near Real-Time Monitoring of Pipeline Right-of-Ways Using Earth Observation Data and GIS Technology, TransCanada Draft Final Report, C-CORE Report R-01-30-621, November 2001. 9. Via+ (2002) A Pilot Project Demonstrating Near RealTime Right-Of-Way Encroachment Monitoring Using Earth Observation Data and GIS Technology, via+ Report Number R02-010, April 2002. 10. C-CORE (2002) Automated Detection of Encroachment Events Using Satellite Remote Sensing, C-CORE Report R-02-010-108, July 2002. 11. C-CORE (2003) Detection of Third Party Encroachment Using Satellite Based Remote Sensing Technologies GRI Report GRI-00/0000; C-CORE Report R-03 12.



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