Why Distance is No Longer a Challenge For Pipeline Surveys

pipeline development, pipeline surveyingIn the pipeline development process, collecting the data for large areas of land has always been one of the most difficult and time consuming aspects of the entire project. This is particularly true when it comes to remote areas that are difficult to reach. In the past, oil and gas companies would have to rely on land surveyors to travel to these locations over difficult terrain for preliminary data collection. This process could be very time-consuming, as the pipeline development project could not begin until the surveyors had the chance to travel all the way out to the terrain in question, complete their data gathering, and then travel back with their data.

Fortunately, new pipeline surveying technologies have made it so that building pipelines through difficult terrain and hard-to-reach areas no longer has to be an impediment to completing projects on time. In this post, we’ll review how unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), also known as drones, can help significantly speed up your pipeline development project, especially for projects that cover large distances.

Faster Pipeline Surveys

What makes UAVs so beneficial to the pipeline surveying process is the fact that they can travel quickly over long distances, bringing remote locations closer to you. They also have the ability to relay images back to land surveyors on the ground, which allows the land surveyors to begin working immediately, rather than having to wait until they return from the field. Working with a professional land surveying firm that offers aerial data collection services, you’ll be able to enjoy turnaround of ready-to-use survey documents in as little as 24 hours, regardless of the distances involved or the difficulty of the terrain. This makes aerial data collection through UAVs a much less time-consuming process than conducting pipeline surveys through traditional methods.

The surveying images provided by UAVs are taken using the latest in high-resolution cameras, offering a level of detail of one centimeter per pixel. Using these extremely accurate images and point cloud data helps land surveyors create the kind of detailed pipeline survey documents that today’s pipeline development projects require.

Safer Pipeline Surveys

In addition to making it quicker and easier to conduct land surveys in remote, hard-to-reach locations, UAVs are also beneficial because they remove the need for the land surveyors to enter dangerous areas of the field themselves. This makes the whole process of gathering land data significantly safer, especially when difficult terrain is involved. Aside from the obvious human costs that occur whenever a land surveyor is seriously injured, safety should also be a concern because of the financial costs and the delays that these accidents can bring about.

In the past, aerial data collection was often performed using manned aerial vehicles. While these vehicles can offer some of the benefits offered by UAVs, it’s important to remember that putting someone in an airplane still puts them at risk, particularly when they have to fly over remote locations and difficult terrain to gather needed data. In the end, the only truly safe way of gathering data for land surveying projects is by keeping surveyors out of the field altogether, allowing them to work from the comfort and safety of an office setting. UAVs provide this ability, making them among the safest technologies for gathering land data.

In order to gain all of the benefits of UAVs discussed here, you need to make sure that you work with a professional land surveying firm that has the knowledge and expertise to help you put UAVs to work on your pipeline development project. To learn more about how we can help with your project, view an example of our recent surveying work. Or, to get started with using UAVs to support your land surveying efforts, contact Landpoint today.

Image Source: Ryan McFarland

Unmanned Aerial Vehicle

Ways to Improve Pipeline Route Selection in the Permian Basin

pipeline routingThe recent boom in oil production in the Permian Basin has created a bottleneck situation,where the pipelines that are currently in place are not capable of moving crude to refinery locations fast enough to keep pace with the level of production. While the rate of production has increased significantly over the last couple of years, the infrastructure in place to move that oil has not increased at a similar rate, creating a situation where refiners have to pay an additional premium to acquire crude. This is especially costly with volatile oil prices.

Clearly, there is a need for more pipelines to service the region; the issue is that the pipeline infrastructure in the Permian Basin is already quite significant, in spite of the fact that it can’t keep up with the current level of demand. This fact means that pipeline right of ways in the region are already very congested, making it a real challenge to find efficient routes to lay new pipelines. An experienced land surveying company can help oil and gas companies overcome the challenges that are currently facing them in the Permian Basin by finding an efficient route that does not overlap with existing routings.

4 Ways Land Surveyors Can Help With Pipeline Route Selection In the Permian Basin

1. Identifying the Most Efficient Routing Possible For the Pipeline

It the past, developing pipeline routings depended on topographical maps. These maps were frequently incorrect and offered very little detail, but were usually good enough to get the job done.

Now, in an era where the Permian Basin is already crowded with pipelines, “good enough” no longer gets the job done. Luckily, land surveyors have developed new technologies to help overcome the current challenges facing oil and gas companies. With GIS mapping tools, land surveyors can help their oil and gas clients get a more detailed pipeline route survey than a traditional topographical map could ever offer, allowing them to identify potential issues such as terrain change and chasms.

2. Increasing Accuracy and Completeness of Information

Simply put, if you’re considering a pipeline routing project in the Permian Basin, you can’t afford to enter the game with anything less than the most complete, accurate information possible. Anything you don’t know coming into the project could come back to haunt you later on in the form of higher costs and unexpected delays.

A land surveyor can provide you with all of the studies and analyses needed to make sure your pipeline project progresses according to plan.

3. Performing Environmental and Cost Analyses

Knowing how much a pipeline will cost to build depends on a wide variety of variables, and failing to account for any one of these variables could result in unpleasant surprises down the line.

A land surveyor can help oil and gas companies account for all costs involved with a pipeline routing, and suggest alternate routes that may be more efficient uses of resources. They can also help identify environmental hazards that might lead to higher-than-expected costs.

4. Identifying Potential Legal Issues with a Proposed Routing

When it comes to a pipeline route survey, what you don’t know definitely can hurt you. A land surveyor can help oil and gas companies research legal issues such as land status, right of ways, and easements.

As a result, the company can gather all of the information they would need to feel confident about moving forward with a proposed routing, knowing that they don’t have to worry about legal challenges in the future. This is a particularly beneficial service in a very crowded region such as the Permian Basin.

To learn how Landpoint can help with your Permian Basin pipeline development project, get a free land surveying quote today.

Image Source : U.S. Geological Survey

How a Land Surveyor Can Make Pipeline Construction Projects Less Expensive

pipeline developmentWhile using pipelines is the most cost-effective way to transport oil and gas across long distances – that does not mean that it’s not important to save money on the pipeline cost per mile when you can. On the contrary: pipeline construction projects usually represents a significant capital cost for oil and gas companies, so it’s always a good idea to identify saving opportunities. In this post, we’re going to discuss why a quality land surveying company can serve as one of these saving opportunities.

What factors drive up a pipeline’s cost per mile?

In order to cut down on the cost of your pipeline construction project, you must first identify what factors lead to high costs in the first place. According to the report “The Challenges of Further Cost Reductions for New Supply Options” by employees from the International Energy Agency and CEDIGAZ, capital expenses usually account for about 90 percent of the cost of transmission pipelines. As a result, it’s very important to identify potential sources of cost before you begin your pipeline development project.

According to the same report referenced above, the key determinants of cost in a pipeline development project are diameter, operating pressures, distance and terrain. The first three factors are usually determined by circumstances that are beyond your control; however, you do have complete control over what terrain you build your pipeline through. As a result, paying attention to terrain and obstacles up front may be the most effective way of ensuring efficiency and identifying possible cost savings for your pipeline development project.

How can you find the right terrain for your pipeline construction project?

While finding the right route to build your pipeline might seem like a no brainer, it’s something that’s definitely easier said than done. As pipeline right of ways have grown more and more congested, oil and gas companies have been forced to become more selective about where they build their pipelines. In addition, things like freeway crossings and rough terrain can lead to higher pipeline construction costs. As a result, oil and gas companies need to find terrain that avoids these obstacles as much as possible.

How can a land surveying company help?

In order to identify terrain that might be a good location for your pipeline development project, you can’t rely on guesswork or intuition. You need to have actual insights about what types of obstacles might be included with a particular terrain. This is where GIS mapping tools from a land surveying company can help. These tools can help you identify and avoid obstacles such as sudden terrain changes, chasms, and other rough terrain

4 Ways a Land Surveyor Can Help You With Pipeline Routing

Land SurveyorCompanies working in the Eagle Ford Shale Formation face significant challenges including the need for accurate pipeline surveying and quick turnaround times for deliverables. Companies continue to invest millions of dollars into what is “quite possibly the largest single economic development in the history of the state of Texas.”

However, one of the problems that has emerged for oil and gas companies is finding the most efficient route through the increasingly congested right of ways. As more and more pipelines are developed and the amount of acceptable territory a pipeline can pass through decreases, it becomes even more challenging to find an efficient path for pipes. In order to see the largest gains possible from projects in the region, oil and gas companies need exact maps and pipeline survey information to find the most efficient routes for pipeline deployment in the Eagle Ford Shale.

The 4 Primary Ways Land Surveyors Can Help With Pipeline Routing

1. By finding the most efficient path to lay the pipeline
As the first step in pipeline routing, consider going with a professional land surveying company that uses Geographic Information Systems (GIS).

Using GIS mapping tools, field teams identify geographic issues like terrain changes, chasms and other geographic issues not readily apparent on topographical maps. They make recommendations based on environmental constraints, existing and proposed structures, and costs. Additionally, GIS can contain other existing and foreign pipelines and pipeline easements, ownership information, and well locations.

Before GIS technologies, surveyors used topographical maps to plan routes. These maps were not always correct and did not give the level of detail needed for pipeline surveying. Done properly, this critical first step eliminates false starts and reduces costs.

2. By helping to identify some of the legal challenges for a designated path
Land surveyors and right of way agents are responsible for researching ownership, surveys of record, federal and state land status, right of way documents, recorded easements and more. The oil and gas company receives all available information that may result in legal challenges for the proposed path.

The final survey report contains history survey information that includes all surveys performed on the property in question.

3. Byidentifying trouble spots that can lead to issues later
Land surveyors find hidden geographic issues not visible on topographic maps. They can identify whether or not the terrain for a projected path can physically handle the pipeline. They can also identify any potential environmental hazards that could cause trouble in the future. They make recommendations based on all data gathered and will often recommend the best route and alternate routes guided by costs and other considerations.

4. By Reducing Costs and Improving Accuracy
Professional survey companies offer feasibility studies, preliminary mapping for IFB and IFC proposal development, construction studies, BOM development and more. They provide environmental and land use impact studies, governmental analysis, engineering support, and high-definition scanning.

Experienced surveyors access land use records, collect geographic and spatial data, to prepare reports, maps, and surveys including:

  • Preliminary Land and Site Surveys
  • Preliminary Easement Sketches for Initial Site Planning
  • Easement and Boundary Surveys
  • Invitation for Bid (IFB) and Invitation for Construction (IFC) Support
  • Utility Location & Crossing Surveys
  • As-built documentation
Impact on Pipeline Development in the Eagle Ford Shale

Recent technological advancements such as GIS, mobile data gathering, cloud based project management, and 3D scanning allow survey companies to deliver pipeline surveys and reports at lower costs than in the past, without sacrificing accuracy and while improving turnaround times. Measurements, boundaries, layouts, sketches are much more accurate and clients make informed decisions for site selection, well locating, site layouts and pipeline deployment. This allows for better planning when building pipelines in the Eagle Ford Shale, reducing costs and speeding up development.

If you need help with pipeline routing, then get a free land surveying quote today.

Image Source : EARTHWORKS

Three Land Surveying Services That Can Speed up Pipeline Construction Projects

land-surveying-pipelineWhen it comes to the oil and gas industry, it is important that pipeline infrastructure projects are well organized to keep the various subcontracting and supervising entities up to speed. There can be significant consequences if a single pipe is placed in an incorrect location because of a lapse in communication or outdated plats. If an existing pipe were to be punctured because of ill positioning, there could be severe regulatory penalties as well as immediate health and safety hazards. A knowledgeable land surveying company has many tools at their disposal to ensure that intended work areas and techniques are compatible. The primary differentiating tool that Landpoint offers is the project management site to keep all of the subcontracting and supervising entities up to date with shared plats and GIS mapping solutions that are updated in real-time as the licensed surveyors release new information. Landpoint can combine all of the traditional services, such as construction staking and layout or as-builts, and with this proprietary tool to give your company the value added services required for modern pipeline projects.

Construction Staking and Layout

Our qualified land surveyors have a unique understanding of how the pipeline construction industry operates. Once the land group has completed the project design land surveying team can then map out the dedicated easement of the project area and the location of the pipelines’ proposed centerline. The data is then immediately available for review and re-routes.

As-Built Surveying

One of the most important services that all pipeline projects should consider is live construction as-builts.  These surveys can be completed throughout the pipeline construction phase and can be platted as a profile or overview map to show where recently-completed projects lie on a construction site. This process makes sure the construction companies are properly building the pipeline as it has been approved.

GIS Mapping

Land surveying companies should provide GIS mapping to create a database of wells, trunk lines, laterals, and other assets in order to facilitate the organization of the project. Construction workers can use this information to better understand how the site elements of a major construction project fit together. During the planning stages, GIS helps speed up project timelines by showing regulatory agencies or construction crews exactly what designers want; GIS maps are much more intuitive than a flat paper plan, especially with complex design elements. Additionally, the GIS system can link pipelines and other assets to official documentation for ease of access on any device.

Landpoint’s experienced team can help you choose the services that will get your pipeline project started and keep it moving smoothly. Contact us today to learn more about construction as-builts, staking, and the services we offer.

Image By: puttsk