Enbridge Gas Pipeline Integrity dig – Aerial surveys for Environmental monitoring

Enbridge Western Canadian LNG pipeline system replacement, upgrade and expansion

Over the last decade, the deployment of UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) in the planning of LNG pipelines, has increased. UAV’s are useful in providing important survey information for pipeline projects, including pipeline replacements, upgrades, maintenance and operations.

Drone technology is being deployed in every sector across multiple projects, from environmental monitoring and assessment, surveillance of flood risk zones, pipeline oil spills and seismic activity to over-seeing building construction projects, operations of critical public infrastructure operations and mining operations.

Drone technology combined with artificial intelligence (AI) possess seemingly endless capabilities including video and photographic surveillance, thermometers, humidity and pressure sensors, wind gauges, and other sensors, allowing them to collect vital environmental data.

With the help of AI, new applications include Transportation and Delivery, Wildlife Conservation, Monitoring and Inspection of Solar Panels, Wind Turbines and Oil Pipelines, as well as Sustainable Agriculture & Crop monitoring, Land Management, Reclamation, Habitat Restoration and Reforestation.

Effective deployment of UAVs helps to protect the environment.

Aerial monitoring of both built infrastructure and constructed habitat using UAVs is highly beneficial, bringing many advantages compared to traditional survey methods.

Enbridge, one of the largest energy providers and operators in North America, needed to upgrade and replace a gas (LNG) pipeline running directly under the Maria Slough, a high value protected natural habitat.

Effective deployment of UAVs helps to protect the environment.

Maria Slough has been formally designated a high value ecological habitat by multiple Provincial and Federal regulatory agencies. The habitat is also protected under the British Columbia Species at Risk Act (SARA) home to multiple animal and fish species; the Slough is particularly sensitive to construction activities. The project provided a unique and valuable opportunity to deploy UAV technology to collect arial imagery and geo-spatial data, obtain technical perspectives and dimensions, collect and geo-reference habitat, monitor construction and project activities, as well as produce multi-criteria surveys from varying angles, in a way conventional methods could not achieve.

Data collected from the drone imagery would be used to assess and monitor boulders, woody debris (roots, grasses, branches, etc.), tree lines and treetops, de-forestation, river slope stability, weirs as well Ensuring these elements are secure and stable demonstrates the ecological benefits of the new habitat.