Canada’s Pipeline Leaders Talk About the Latest Tech Trends for an Evolving Industry

On September 28th, many of Canada’s pipeline leaders gathered at the GE Customer Innovation Centre in Calgary to check out the latest digital solutions from multiple companies in the innovation ecosystem.

GE welcomes guests during the Pipeline Technology Day at the GE Customer Innovation Centre in Calgary, Alberta, September 28, 2016. Photograph by Todd Korol

GE welcomes guests during the Pipeline Technology Day at the GE Customer Innovation Centre in Calgary, Alberta, September 28, 2016. Photograph by Todd Korol

Gandeephan Ganeshalingam, CIO of GE Canada, opened Pipeline Technology Day event and spoke about the importance of innovation and collaboration. “Pipelines are at the heart of the national dialogue on Canada’s energy industry and the Customer Innovation Centre wanted to find solutions to help pipeline companies, energy companies and Canadians,” says Ganeshalingam. “Working with our ecosystem of innovators, we’ve been able to accelerate technology development and find real solutions to pipeline operators’ challenges.”

After the introduction, attendees circulated through a series of presentations, to see the innovations that each of these companies had created using the Predix platform. Here’s what the presenters had to say:

Steve Koles of Hifi Engineering simulates leak scenarios and responses to demonstrate the Hifi technology and GE’s Predix operating system working together. Photograph by Todd Korol

Steve Koles of Hifi Engineering simulates leak scenarios and responses to demonstrate the Hifi technology and GE’s Predix operating system working together. Photograph by Todd Korol

Advanced leak detection technology

Hifi Engineering builds fiber optic sensing and monitoring technology for wellbores, pipelines and critical infrastructure. Using acoustic, temperature, and strain sensors distributed the full length of the pipeline, Hifi’s technology essentially “solves the problem of space and time” and brings “the speed of light” to pipeline monitoring, Koles asserted in his presentation. “As soon as something abnormal happens, anywhere along the system, we know about in the control room.”
Koles then took out a drill and positioned himself over the model pipeline that his team had installed in the presentation room. As he simulated multiple leak scenarios, participants could see the Predix-powered virtual control room responding. “A minute after this has occurred, you can actually listen to the wave file of the intrusion in the control room—you can actually hear the intruders talking. That type of capability does not exist in the control rooms right now.”

Shannon Brown of Meridium Resources at Asset Performance Management describes the value of understanding inefficiencies in order to prevent them. Photograph by Todd Korol

Shannon Brown of Meridium Resources at Asset Performance Management describes the value of understanding inefficiencies in order to prevent them. Photograph by Todd Korol

Identifying failures before they occur

Meridium offers clients asset performance management software that works on premise and in the cloud, as well as with hybrid and mobile options. Meridium’s full added value lies in the expert services it delivers to reduce risk and drive predictable production enterprise-wide. “The critical component, always, is to be able to identify problems before failures occur,” Brown said in his talk.

“You can do root cause analysis on a whiteboard or with sticky notes,” Shannon Brown explained. “The value of doing it within a system like Meridium is that after you solve a problem once, then everyone in your organization can leverage that knowledge to solve a similar problem in the future.”

Scott Benesh of TrueSite View at Capital Projects Optimization explains how to eradicate rework. Photo by Todd Korol

Scott Benesh of TrueSite View at Capital Projects Optimization explains how to eradicate rework. Photo by Todd Korol

Showing how important sharing the same space can be, True Site View Inc. and Smart Mat—both Zone Startup Calgary companies—teamed up to showcase a Capital Projects Optimization solution. The sophisticated “Model of Truth” modeling ensures that a project’s design plan matches the reality of the project site, materials, and labour, resulting in substantial savings for clients.

“We have data that shows project workers in Alberta are only productive about 30% of the time,” Scott Benesh told the crowd at the GE Customer Innovation Centre. “This is usually because the right tools and the right assets are not in the right place at the same time. When you have assets in the right place at the right time, you see an immense cost reduction.”
To facilitate those cost-savings, the two companies work together to offer a comprehensive solution. “We make sure the design fits the site perfectly, that every module fits right the first time, that assets are in the right place at the right time, and that all progress is automatically tracked, and schedule deviations are pro-actively identified and solved,” Benesh said. He pointed out that a perfectly fitted design leads to incredible savings: “43% in savings for one of our clients.”

Butch Pinkham, Senior Sales Leader at Wurldtech, explains why there’s no such thing as an air gap, now that contractors have smartphones. Photo by Todd Korol

Butch Pinkham, Senior Sales Leader at Wurldtech, explains why there’s no such thing as an air gap, now that contractors have smartphones. Photo by Todd Korol

Securing the data

Wurldtech helps industrial operators and device manufacturers mitigate operational technology (OT) threats and vulnerabilities. Wurldtech provides products and services like Achilles and Opshield, which help customers design, test, certify, and secure their internet-connected devices, ICS and other critical controls, as well as their site operations. Wurldtech’s offerings recognize the unique demands of OT, and deliver solutions that can be deployed without asset downtime. “IT solutions today don’t have the physical capability of going further down into the package to see what OT is doing,” said Dwight Agriel, a Cyber Security Solutions Engineer at Wurldtech. “That’s where we come in.”

Dumitru Cernelev, co-founder of Stream Systems, discusses how pipeline operators can stop chasing bottlenecks and start addressing them proactively. Photo by Todd Korol

Dumitru Cernelev, co-founder of Stream Systems, discusses how pipeline operators can stop chasing bottlenecks and start addressing them proactively. Photo by Todd Korol

Launch day on Predix

Another Zone Startups Calgary company, Stream Systems, celebrated Pipeline Technology Day by launching its flagship product SimOpti on Predix.

In his talk, Dumitru Cernelev addressed the issue of declining oil prices: “When oil prices go down and the industry is budget-conscious, we must turn our attention to efficiency and optimization. Instead of building new projects, we need to figure out how to get the most we can from the ones we have—how to use our existing assets best.”
Steam Systems had the SimOpti solution in mind, but it accelerated to a releasable product in just six months after joining ZSC and working in the GE innovation ecosystem. You can read all about SimOpti here.

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