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Will leak detection end the oil pipeline impasse?

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Thomas Haentzschel/AP/File

(Read caption) Pipes for a gas pipeline are loaded in Lubmin, northern Germany. There is a tremendous need in the oil and gas pipeline industry for remote leak detection, Banica says.

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Pipelines used to be things that were just built without blinking. It is said that there are enough pipelines now in the US to encircle the Earth 25 times with enough left over to also tie a bow around it. Today, getting a pipeline built is not so easy - there are too many environmental concerns and the industry has become highly polarized. But here’s one thing that could bring everyone together: pipeline safety technology. And it’s something we all want, especially for those who live along the thousands of miles of aging pipeline routes that carry hazardous liquids. 

Spawned by research that started in space, remote-sensing technology designed to detect dangerous leaks in pipelines has the potential to provide the neutral ground for decisions to be made and consensus to be formed. The clincher: This technology is not only affordable -it saves money and could eventually save the industry.

In an exclusive interview with, Adrian Banica, founder and CEO of Synodon - the forerunner in leak detection systems - discusses:

• How a technology that started in space has the potential to quell intensifying protests

• Why Keystone XL will eventually be a reality - sooner rather than later

• How remote sensing technology can fingerprint pipeline leaks

• How remote sensing technology can find the little leaks before they become big leaks—at no extra cost

• Why North America’s new pipelines aren’t the problem and why the focus should be on aging pipelines that are going to experience a lot more leaks

• How this technology could bring the industry and environmentalists together

• How external leak detection can save lives in high-risk areas

Interview by James Stafford of 


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