SeekOps Announces Closing of $14M Series B Financing

AUSTIN, Texas–(BUSINESS WIRE)–SeekOps Inc., a Texas-based technology company, announced the closing of its Series B funding. SeekOps provides best-in-class sensors and actionable analytics to support both traditional and renewable energy sectors in their decarbonization efforts, delivering reliable, timely and accurate methane Leak Detection and Quantification (LDAQTM), facilitating increased ESG reporting transparency, and enabling verification for Responsibly Sourced Gas certification standards.

“The transparency created by accurate methods for detection, localisation, and quantification is essential to reducing emissions.”

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The funding round was led by Schlumberger, with the support of existing investors Equinor Ventures and OGCI Climate Investments (OGCI CI), and new investor Caterpillar Venture Capital Inc. (CVCI).

Iain Cooper, SeekOps CEO said, “The funding and strategic alignment with our new investors, Schlumberger and CVCI, and the continued backing of our initial investors, Equinor and OGCI CI, enables us to not only assist our investors in their decarbonization initiatives, but with their support, scale our services onshore and offshore directly with customers via our global drone service partners, and enable the energy industry to cost-effectively assess its progress to net-zero.”

“Reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and methane in particular, is an imperative for our industry. It demands solutions that deliver more precise methods of emissions detection and measurement,” said Kahina Abdeli-Galinier, Emissions Management Business Director, Schlumberger. “Our participation in SeekOps will accelerate the deployment of sensitive and accurate measurement techniques.”

“We are pleased to support SeekOps’ unique offering that can measure emissions from both onshore and offshore operations,” said Pratima Rangarajan, CEO of OGCI Climate Investments. “The transparency created by accurate methods for detection, localisation, and quantification is essential to reducing emissions.”

Equinor, a member company of OGCI CI, has been an early adopter of SeekOps technology since 2017. “Equinor is excited about the company’s expansion and continues to support its growth. We have been very pleased by their recent offshore quantification surveys for us in the North Sea,” said Gareth Burns, Vice President of Equinor Ventures.

About SeekOps

SeekOps globally deploys its industry-leading sensor technology with enterprise-grade drones to provide field-proven measurement systems for methane Leak Detection and Quantification (LDAQTM), through repeatable, consistent and cost-effective automated workflows. For more information, please visit

About Schlumberger

Schlumberger (SLB: NYSE) is a technology company that partners with customers to access energy. Our people, representing over 160 nationalities, are providing leading digital solutions and deploying innovative technologies to enable performance and sustainability for the global energy industry. With expertise in more than 120 countries, we collaborate to create technology that unlocks access to energy for the benefit of all.

About Caterpillar Ventures

Caterpillar Venture Capital Inc. assists entrepreneurs around the world to grow and scale their businesses to build today for a better tomorrow by leveraging Caterpillar’s industry expertise, supply base and independent dealer network. Caterpillar Venture Capital’s focus areas of investment include robotics, energy, advanced materials, and digital solutions that help its customers be successful. Caterpillar Venture Capital is a wholly owned subsidiary of Caterpillar Inc., the world’s leading manufacturer of construction and mining equipment, diesel and natural gas engines, industrial gas turbines and diesel-electric locomotives. For more information, visit

About OGCI Climate Investments

OGCI Climate Investments LLP is a $1+ billion fund investing in technologies and business models which lower the carbon footprint of the energy and industrial sectors and their value chains. The Fund was created by the CEOs of the Oil and Gas Climate Initiative to take practical action on climate change. We invest in innovative companies that are ready to be commercialized. We collaborate with global co-investors and industrials to achieve speed and scale. For more information, please visit:

About Equinor Ventures

Equinor Ventures supports small and medium enterprises (SMEs) with exciting new technologies in oil and energy – and in turn, helping Equinor be the world’s most carbon-efficient oil and gas producer with a developing renewable business. For more information, please visit:


SeekOps Inc.
Paul Khuri
VP Business Development
Phone: +1 713.962.6146

Sky-Futures partners with SeekOps to support global expansion of drone-based fugitive emissions detection service

Austin, TX, United States – Hayes, United Kingdom:  Sky-Futures, an ICR company, one of the world’s leading drone inspection and survey providers, has signed a global service delivery partnership with SeekOps Inc to provide methane detection, localisation, and quantification services to customers around the world. 

With a global footprint in 9 countries and operations in over 33 countries to date, Sky-Futures will deliver a SeekOps-certified service to customers both onshore and offshore. The partnership will enable SeekOps to rapidly scale the delivery of its methane emissions detection services globally to customers across multiple sectors, including the oil and gas and biogas industries. 

Established as best-in-class for methane detection and quantification, the drone-mounted SeekIR® sensor enables cost-effective comprehensive emissions inspection in a fraction of the time required by traditional ground surveys, resulting in significant cost savings for operators.

Working together, Sky-Futures and SeekOps will provide customers with an end-to-end service including data capture, data analysis and reporting. The SeekOps drone-based sensors operate in concert with their custom data analytics software, to rapidly localise point source emissions and quantify emissions rates. 

Iain Cooper, CEO of SeekOps said, “The world is changing fast and there is an increasing market demand for dependable leak detection technologies. SeekOps provides technologies that can be used to detect, locate, and quantify leaks, and the technology is highly accurate, lightweight, and field-proven. 

“We are delighted to be partnering with Sky-Futures, to bring our highly-effective leak detection and quantification abilities into the global marketplace. This partnership enables us to provide rapid, robust, reliable and repeatable quality solutions to our customers’ emissions needs anywhere in the world and in all aspects of oil and gas – upstream, midstream and downstream, as well as to the nascent but rapidly expanding biogas and landfill monitoring markets”.

Sky-Futures delivers a range of services across multiple sectors with significant experience in the onshore and offshore oil and gas market. This experience is a fundamental piece of the partnership between the Sky-Futures and SeekOps and will support the rapid roll out of the technology and service to customers around the world.

Chris Blackford, CEO of Sky-Futures said: “As a company with significant experience using drone technology to provide survey and inspection services to the oil and gas industry, we are always looking to partner with companies providing new, innovative and value adding technology. SeekOps tick all these boxes and more. Their drone-based fugitive emission detection technology is class-leading and meets a need that is ever more important in a world where emission monitoring is becoming more regulated.”

A drone fitted with the SeekOps SeekIR® sensor ready to deliver a fugitive emissions detection service.

About Sky-Futures 

Sky-Futures (an ICR Integrity company) provides drone-based inspection and survey services to the industrial markets. With 10 years of experience in over 33 countries, we are one of the leading drone-based inspection and survey service providers globally.

We support a range of industrial markets including: oil and gas; engineering; bridges; renewables; solar; utilities; telecoms and more. Our solution is powering drone-based inspections globally and changing the way data is collected, analysed and used to make better inspection and maintenance decisions.

About SeekOps Inc.

SeekOps Inc. provides advanced methane emissions solutions for the energy sector to detect, localize, and quantify methane emissions through integrated drone-based systems.  SeekOps’ unique SeekIR® sensor design and proprietary algorithms eliminates false positive readings and quantifies emissions sources to provide actionable data to oil and gas and biogas operators globally.  SeekOps provides best-in-class technology to meet increasingly stringent environmental, sustainability and governance (ESG) reporting requirements, and enables producers worldwide realize their goal to reduce methane intensity from operations.

SeekOps Inc.
Paul Khuri
VP Business Development
Phone: +1 713.962.6146

Nick Beattie
Head of Sales
Phone: +44 (0) 207 148 7002

Flylogix lands strategic partnership with SeekOps

Flylogix, the full-service unmanned aviation company, has entered into a strategic partnership with SeekOps Inc. for offshore remote methane sensing and data interpretation in the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS).

The partnership with SeekOps, which manufactures gas detection sensors to localize and quantify emissions – will enable offshore beyond visual line-of-sight (BVLOS) emissions measurement surveys to be conducted safely and cost-effectively. This specific application comes at a time when energy companies are increasingly looking to monitor visit, assess and reduce emissions to meet regulatory requirements and pursue net-zero. 

The partnership will accelerate Flylogix’s transformation of remote operations and stand-off sensing, already working with companies including BP, Total and Chrysaor. 

Offshore methane emission measurement is extremely challenging, especially in environments such as the North Sea. Flylogix’s and SeekOps are developing a unique approach which is transforming how it is tackled how much do movers cost. Their pioneering use of unmanned aircraft and integrated sensors allows them to fly routinely and deliver an efficient and cost-effective solution with minimal risk and extremely low environmental impact. The enabling technology is the SeekIR gas sensor, manufactured by SeekOps, which provides ultra-sensitive emissions measurements in a custom payload for the Flylogix Fixed-wing aircraft. SeekOps’ data analytics ultimately deliver reliable measurements of emissions from offshore installations.

Recent industry testing proved SeekOps’ methane sensing technology to enable the detection of extremely low emission rates. Detect this work of an extreme quality at Flylogix have successfully integrated their sensor into its FX2 unmanned aircraft, and alongside its in-house developed software, AI and SatComms it delivers a unique solution to remote, stand-off emissions monitoring.

The Oil and Gas Technology Centre (OGTC) is backing the development of this new technology and aligning techniques with the broader UK Continental Shelf (UKCS) community.

Charles Tavner, Executive Chairman at Flylogix, said: 

“This partnership between Flylogix and SeekOps is fantastic news as we continue to pioneer the use of full-service, over-horizon unmanned aviation in support of the energy industry. 

“Integrating SeekOps’ world class methane sensor with our UAVs offers energy companies the opportunity to transform how they conduct emissions monitoring in remote locations and realise significant benefits to cost, safety and the environment.”  

SeekOps Senior Vice President, Andrew Aubrey, said: 

“We recognize the position that Flylogix has secured as a leader in Beyond Visual Line of Sight flight operations offshore in the United Kingdom. SeekOps is excited to expand our applications in partnership with Flylogix to satisfy the needs for offshore emissions measurement using our ultra-sensitive gas sensors and actionable analytics.”

For more information please contact:

Chris Adams, Flylogix Business Development Director, on +44 (0)7779 696 833 or

Andrew Aubrey, SeekOps SVP Strategic Partnerships, on +1 512-852-8102 or

Additional Information is available on our websites or

Follow us on Twitter: @FlylogixUAV and LinkedIn: Flylogix

SeekOps Onboards New Chief Executive to Implement Global Growth

New CEO brings decades of International Technology Commercialization Experience

September 10, 2020 – Austin, TX: SeekOps Inc. develops and deploys advanced sensor technology for the energy sector to detect, localize, and quantify methane emissions through integrated drone-based systems. SeekOps’ unique sensor design eliminates false positive readings and localizes emissions sources to provide actionable data to oil and gas operators in the United States, Canada, Europe, and the Middle East. Backed by funding from the Oil and Gas Climate Initiative Climate Investments (OGCI-CI), and Equinor Technology Ventures (ETV), SeekOps provides best-in-class technology to meet increasingly stringent environmental, sustainability and governance (ESG) reporting requirements, and enables producers worldwide realize their goal to reduce methane intensity from operations.

In order to address the expanded global market demand for its products while positioning the company for increased growth, SeekOps has strengthened its leadership team by adding a new Chief Executive Officer to guide it through this critical next step.

SeekOps is pleased to announce Iain Cooper as its new CEO. Iain, who previously led technology development, strategy and investment at Schlumberger, brings 30 years of experience in the energy sector and brings a full cleaning checklist. His experience will not only lead SeekOps through effective international scaling of its technology and services, but also expansion beyond traditional energy-sector business into other major industrial verticals, such as biogas, waste management and mining, monitoring broader range of chemical species.

Iain comments: “SeekOps actionable data products have been demonstrated in rigorous oil and gas environments, and while we will continue global growth to support upstream operations, SeekOps will also translate its capabilities to meet the needs of the midstream and downstream Gustave A. Larson sectors. Furthermore, there are similar environmental and sustainability pressures across other industries that must be validated using accurate and reliable technologies, as typified by SeekOps.”

This move strengthens the current executive team as the company’s Founder and CEO of three and a half years, Andrew Aubrey, transitions to a new role as Senior Vice President of Strategic Partnerships. These strategic partnerships will be a key component of SeekOps’ future growth.


Methane Detection & Flaring

What is Methane and why do we need to detect it?

Methane (CH4) is a naturally occurring gas with an atomic structure that makes it a very potent greenhouse gas (GHG). Methane is released from five primary sources: fermenting plant matter, digestive gasses from livestock, the burning and processing of carbon-based fuels (both “fresh” fuels like wood, or fossil fuels like gas and oil) and industrial processes like fracking for natural gas.

On average, natural gas is composed of 87% methane, find more info at In some cases, this number rises to 90%, depending on the source. In the United States, the oil and gas industry has become the largest emitter of methane gas, both from intentional flaring, and in large part, from fugitive emissions.

Other industries including agriculture and landfill management sectors also contribute to global methane emissions and must take steps to detect and prevent fugitive emissions through careful maintenance, preventative measures, and the development of a thorough incident response plan.

Methane detection forms the backbone of any Leak Detection and Repair (LDAR) program, an essential part of any oil and gas operation. There are many leak detection methods and technologies on the market, but SeekOps offers a compelling platform to quantifiably detect leaks and provide concentration and flow rate measurements from a drone-mounted sensor.

With any leak detection method, the goal is to localize and quantify any leaks. Discovering the precise location and severity of any inadvertent methane emissions is critical to being able to triage incidents and create response plans and to keep your home clean, safe and comortable with, as well as to take effective preventative steps against future leaks.

What is Methane Flaring?

If a source of methane off-gassing is discovered, it can usually be captured and processed into its less harmful counterpart, carbon dioxide (CO2). When an industry is producing large amounts of methane gas, the excess methane that cannot be used or sold is burned off in a process known as flaring.

Oftentimes, excess methane produced as a byproduct of other industries can be sold once captured, but if a facility does not have the means to store, transport, or process the methane flaring is preferred over releasing excess methane gas into the atmosphere, as this process converts the methane to its relatively less harmful counterpart CO2

Flaring, however, is not looked upon favorably by environmental agencies or legislators as flared gas is considered wasted gas. Many countries have established legislation aimed at flare reduction and improvements in the re-use of captured gas. Outlined within this same legislation are demands for industries to improve efficiency and reduce overall emissions where flaring takes place.

How has Methane Detection Technology Evolved?

Over the years, methane detection technology has rapidly evolved. Leak detection has moved  from simple manual inspection techniques to a wide variety of technology assisted methods tailored to the different types of facilities being monitored.

As the smart pigging techniques predominant in the 1970s have faded out of use, leak detection systems have evolved to include everything from fiber-optic sensors on the exterior of pipes to complex computational methods based on acoustic events in the stream of flow.

Still other methods are focused on aerial inspection over pipelines or at major processing and power production facilities. Drone-based “sniffer” platforms that rely on today’s sensor miniaturization technology, such as the methane detection solution from SeekOps’, are one of the fastest growing detection technologies aimed at offering better cost, value, and flexibility in methane detection programs.

How has Gas Flaring Technology Evolved?

Originally, gas flaring structures involved a simple gas jet fueled flame, venting gasses directly into the atmosphere. Though these structures still exist, recently policies have placed more emphasis on reducing gas emissions overall and flaring practices have come under scrutiny. The World Bank’s Global Gas Flaring Reduction Partnership (GGFR) is just one example of an organization working to reduce gas flaring around the world.

Gas flares are split into two categories – the traditional open gas flare, and enclosed flaring, a more modern technique with carbon recapture built in to help reduce emissions. Though enclosed ground flares vastly reduce the amount of light, noise, and smoke emitted when compared to a traditional “candlestick” flare, the energy is still wasted.

In efforts to eliminate wasted energy, innovators are developing ways to convert waste gas into liquid fuel. Other approaches include one company successfully developing a gas flare combustor that uses the wasted heat to produce electricity while capturing the released waste gases.


As the world has become increasingly more aware of the potential impacts methane gases may have on the environment, developments in methane detection and leak prevention have become an essential part of any industry that produces methane.

Methods like SeekOps’ drone-based methane detection platform are ideal for leak detection in both the oil and gas industry as well as in situations like landfill monitoring. Any industry that needs to detect methane should focus on their method’s ability to detect, localize, and quantify any methane leaks.

Once sources of methane are detected steps can be taken to repair and salvage equipment, capture and process fugitive gas, and take preventative actions to prevent future incidents.

With flaring increasingly under scrutiny, companies taking action to minimize the amount of excess and fugitive methane will be more competitive in a rapidly changing legislative environment.

If you need an accurate methane detection method to help you with your methane management initiatives, SeekOps provides a highly accurate drone-based detection platform. Flexible enough to be deployed in a variety of situations, the SeekOps platform provides truly actionable data that is both localized and quantifiable. Our engineers are on hand to advise you on how to implement the SeekOps solution and get ahead of the curve, with cutting edge methane management technology.

Methane Emission Compliance and Regulations

Methane regulation and compliance issues play a major role in shaping the way businesses operate. Emissions regulations vary around the world, but methane emissions in particular tend to be one of the strictest internationally, with harsh penalties for falling out of compliance. Discovering methods to effectively and efficiently meet regulatory and compliance guidelines is an essential business practice for any company dealing with methane products or byproducts.

Methane and The Nature of Methane Regulations

Methane gas is produced in a variety of industries, from the energy and the oil and gas sector, to agriculture and solid waste management. Methane’s chemical structure makes it a highly potent “greenhouse gas”, about 30x more so than carbon dioxide. Because of this, methane has been put into the spotlight for environmental regulators as a critical emission to control.

Controlling methane emissions and complying with these strict standards is an expensive and resource-intensive proposition across industries. The oil and gas sector faces particularly tough challenges in meeting these regulations throughout the storage, transportation, and use cycle.

Another challenge to methane emission compliance is the instability of regulatory benchmarks. Because of Methane’s propensity to act as a “greenhouse gas”, regulations have varied drastically with the tides of political control and policy direction within the EPA. To keep up with the moving target of methane emissions compliance, businesses must have flexible solutions to deal with fugitive emissions that can be scaled at a moment’s notice.

Methane Gas Regulation – A Historical Perspective

In the last few decades methane emissions compliance has become a major business consideration across industries. As “greenhouse gases” have moved into the public spotlight, and gained significant attention from environmental agencies and regulators, strategies for the control of methane byproducts and fugitive emissions have become critical for long term viability.

The EU has maintained a database of methane gas emissions for every country from 1990 to 2015. These records show that methane emissions have remained fairly steady since 1990, despite a steady increase in the amount of greenhouse gas producing industries. This is in part due to the strict nature of regulations and severe fines for business that fail to meet compliance standards. In fact, in the United States, natural gas production has doubled since 1990, yet methane emissions have dropped by 15%.

In October 2010, The Global Methane Initiative (GMI) was launched. This initiative seeks to standardize methane emissions regulations across borders, seeking to solve the issue of patchy compliance benchmarks, which make it difficult for multinational organizations to manage emissions effectively. But with Allied Experts from Cherry Hill you can breath clean and fresh air. Though this initiative has made giant strides in standardization, there is still a large amount of variance between geographies and over time. Companies must stay ahead of the regulation curve to remain competitive globally.

How do we Ensure Compliance with Methane Emissions Regulations Today?

In the United States, the requirements for the oil and gas industry to measure atmospheric releases of methane only started to come into effect in 2015. Prior to this, regulations were limited to the monitoring of pipelines for breaches or leaks.

With most countries now trying to adhere to strict emissions targets, there has been a paradigm shift from incident response, to incident management and prevention and to find out what is the difference between oriental and persian rugs. An increased focus has been placed on  measuring how much methane and other GHGs are actually released, both from deliberate industrial activity (burning or flaring), and from losses due to pipeline leaks and fugitive emissions. By looking at methane emissions from a resource management perceptive, business are able to make informed decisions on how to effectively manage compliance risks.

Additionally, with methane compliance increasingly being a potential threat to investors and the bottom line, being able to quantitatively show emissions, and emission reductions over time, is a competitive advantage for businesses in the energy and oil and gas sector.


In industries dealing with methane products and byproducts, the containment and management of methane emissions will only continue to become a more integrated part of business operations. Business leaders have a choice to either manage this reactively, as new legislation and policy comes into play, or to proactively use this as an opportunity to create a competitive advantage.

With our drone mounted sensor solution,  SeekOps is looking ahead and creating a platform for intelligent emissions management. The ability to quickly and quantifiably identify leaks with concentration and flow rate measurements, makes the SeekOps solution a flexible and powerful platform for seamlessly adding methane gas measurements to your overall business intelligence.If you work in an industry where methane emissions monitoring is important, get in touch with SeekOps team of engineers today to see how we can help you meet your emissions targets.

Understanding Fugitive Emissions

What Are Fugitive Emissions?

The term fugitive emissions refers to accidental emissions. These are gasses, vapors, or evaporations that escape from a pressurized apparatus or system, or are not properly caught by a storage tank’s capture system. Due to a number of environmental factors like wind disturbances and evaporation, fugitive emissions can be extremely difficult to detect and rectify. The term “fugitive emissions” implies just how difficult it can be to find the source of these leaks. 

Because it is so difficult to trace and resolve these emissions, they can end up accounting for a notable portion of direct and indirect greenhouse gas emissions for many countries. Regulators are becoming increasingly less tolerant of emissions, fugitive or otherwise, so it’s essential that businesses take every action to detect and resolve current sources of these emissions while protecting against new ones. 

The vast majority of fugitive emissions in the oil and gas industry come from:

  • Equipment leaks
  • Process venting
  • Evaporation losses
  • Disposal of waste gas streams, such as by venting or flaring
  • Accidents and equipment failures

Additional sources can include leakage from refrigeration and electronics equipment, methane from wastewater handling, and land disposal of solid waste. 

Fugitive emissions aren’t limited to just the oil and gas industry. They affect any industry where VOCs and other harmful chemicals are dealt with on a regular basis – especially in bulk. 

How Has Fugitive Emissions Prevention Technology Evolved?

The traditional method for detecting and stopping fugitive emissions is to implement a LDAR (leak detection and repair) program. This manpower-heavy solution does work, but can be expensive and time consuming. Additionally, the equipment that’s susceptible to leaks is not always easily accessible by maintenance staff.

The addition and installation of gas detectors at critical points of a site when used in combination with manual inspections yields better results. Even still, a high number of gas detectors is required to completely protect a large site. For more information visit It also will take time for maintenance staff to pinpoint the exact location of a leak once it’s been detected. These gas detectors are usually fixed as well, which can limit both their range and effectiveness.

When using these systems, because of their inherent limitations, bottom-up estimates of emissions are typically used for reporting purposes which are rarely accurate or indicative of actual emissions for a given site.

What Technologies Are Used to Detect and Prevent Fugitive Emissions Today?

Differential absorption LIDAR (DIAL) can detect the concentrations of atmospheric gasses a few hundred yards from a facility. This data can then be analyzed and used to pinpoint where leaks are coming from. 

DIAL however isn’t cheap, and it’s very much a remote sensing technology – better for monitoring whole sites at a macro level so long as they aren’t too large. The resolution for detecting sources of emissions isn’t great, and the effective maximum detection distance varies widely depending on atmospheric conditions. The system itself is also quite large, with its experimental set up taking up a whole truck bed.  That said, it has a lot of potential to form part of an advanced monitoring and maintenance program in the right situations. 

The advent of drone technology has greatly progressed the fugitive emissions detection space. Drones allow inspectors to attach gas sensors and other detection modules and then remotely operate the vehicle around a facility detecting leaks in real-time.

Drones have evolved to use Forward Looking IR cameras (FLIR) and reflection-based systems, but these have proven not to be very sensitive. Reflection-based systems, for example, need the right kind of background surface, resulting in both types leading to a lot of false negatives and positives. Both of these methods also can only produce binary data, so there’s no way to quantify the size of the leak. 

SeekOps has developed a UAV-based natural gas leak detection platform that solves both these issues, check out By using miniaturized, ultra-accurate methane sensors, combined with GPS guidance and customized algorithms, their drones can pinpoint leaks and provide concentration and flow data to quantify the severity of leaks and allow operators to triage them accordingly. 

With their detection, quantification, and localization solution, it’s possible to detect leaks as low as 1 standard cubic foot per hour from distances up to 300 feet. This makes it possible to fly over your facilities and delivery pipelines quickly and accurately pinpointing problem areas. This can be both by a remote pilot flying manually or through a fully automated flight plan. 

The SeekOps platform is very affordable compared to some of the methods mentioned above. Access to a high-tech, accurate solution for detecting fugitive emissions saves on maintenance costs and helps operators comply with stricter emissions regulations, while leak grading helps prioritize maintenance response plans and prevent future problems.   


Regulating fugitive emissions is an essential function of any business in the oil and gas industry and continues to become more critical as compliance standards relating to emissions continue to tighten. By adopting technology like SeekOps’ drone-based leak detection platform, companies can cut maintenance costs while capturing more accurate and actionable data. Get in touch with SeekOps today to discuss how quantifiable and localized emissions data can help you reduce costs and comply with even the most stringent compliance standards.

Pipeline Leak Detection

Pipeline leak detection is a crucial piece of any oil and gas company’s incident management workflow. Pipelines cover hundreds of miles and usually rely on a combination of manpower and advanced leak detection equipment to monitor for potential problems.

Pipeline Leak Detection & Pipeline Leak Detectors

The phrase ‘pipeline leak detection’ covers a range of activities aimed at discovering current or preventing future leaks anywhere in a system. Some of these detection methods require more manpower than others, and involve simple observational techniques such as manual inspections using experienced personnel, trained dogs, helicopters, or drones. Other methods require measuring input and output pressure and flow to determine if any leaks or losses exist within the system.

Climate variations, political and regulatory environments, and locale play a large part in how companies determine which methods of leak detection are viable for a given pipeline installation. Due to the vast variety of pipeline types and locations, in many cases these basic methods simply aren’t enough to accurately detect leaks – even if the required manpower was cost-effective at this scale.

There has been a call for a technological solution to the leak detection problem since the first pipeline delivery systems were built. As a result, specialized Leak Detection Systems (LDS) have developed to include a wide range of differing technology types to help engineers detect and even predict pipeline leaks across a variety of systems without requiring teams to actively be out in the field.

Leak detection technology can be split into three main categories:

  • Visual/Biological leak detection methods: These are the non-technological methods listed above that involve ground-based manual inspection, aerial inspection using helicopters or drones, and the use of trained dogs. Smart pigging is also included in this classification.
  • Exterior-based leak detection methods: Includes methods like ground-penetrating radar, acoustic emission sensors, capacitive sensing, vapor sampling, and exterior fiber optics.
  • Interior/Computational leak detection methods: Includes methods like mass-volume balance, negative pressure wave detection, digital signal processing, and dynamic modelling. 

The History of Pipeline Leak Detection

Historically, visual and biological leak detection methods were the first to evolve, with a simple ground-based visual inspection of the pipeline being the primary method. While on-the-ground inspection is the least equipment intensive technique, it is also the most time consuming, tedious, and requires the most manpower. Considering the thousands of miles of pipeline that exist and the various social and environmental conditions they travel through, this method very quickly becomes impractical.

This impracticality led to the development of various methods to increase both the speed and efficiency of inspections. One of these methods utilized pipeline detector dogs to speed up on-the-ground inspections, however, detection dogs fatigue after 30 to 120 minutes and face some of the same challenges in terms of terrain and cost that exist with manual inspection.

Flyovers using helicopters and drones equipped with thermal imaging and other camera filter technologies drastically speed up pipeline inspection activities and negate many of the terrain challenges of ground based methods. The specialized camera payloads can spot “sheen” resulting from leaks or other visual changes, while Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs) can be used to visually inspect underwater pipelines.

 “Smart” pigging is a relatively old in-line inspection method that’s been around since the 1960s. This method uses devices, or “pigs”, that are inserted into specially designed valves within the pipeline. These pigs, who received their name due to the squealing noise they make when inserted into the pipes, are used while traveling along the pipeline with the flow of fluid. They simultaneously clean and inspect the pipeline and can be sized to match any pipe configuration without affecting the normal flow of the product.

As technology has advanced, so have the sensors included in a smart pig. Mapping and pipeline geometry tools that have been around since the 1970s have evolved as well with more recent additions to include tools that measure metal loss, inspect wall thickness, and detect cracks.

How Has Pipeline Leak Detection Technology Evolved?

With an industry-wide goal of zero leaks, and continually stricter regulations across the industry, leak detection technology has continued to evolve and utilize more advanced technological solutions. Numerous exterior and internal detection methods are available to meet the needs of virtually any different installation environment.

Internal and computational detection methods have come a long way since their development. Stripped to their most basic use case, mass-volume balance checks detect the inflow and outflow at each end or segment of a pipeline. Any discrepancy is indicative of a leak. Negative pressure wave detection on the other hand, is a highly responsive detection method that relies on the principle that leaks will cause variations in pressure, flow, and speed around the leak location, affecting the flow within the pipe.

In contrast, pressure point analysis, another popular computational method, uses pressure measurements at different points in the pipeline to detect leaks, while various other methods rely on digital signal processing, dynamic modeling, or a combination of the two.

External methods of detection fall into one of two main categories – those that involve sensors directly in contact with the outside of the pipe, and those that can work from a short distance away. Make sure to visit this site to get more detailed information. Falling into the former category are systems like acoustic emission sensors, the method of attaching accelerometers or fiber optic sensors to the outside of the pipeline, or vapor sampling tubes that are externally attached. On the other hand, infrared thermography cameras can help to detect leaks from a short distance away, much like ground penetrating radar, methane sniffing sensors, and capacitive sensors that utilize the ground saturation of various hydrocarbons.

Most recently, a study conducted by Stanford/EDF resulted in no false positives and the confirmation of the most accurate methane detection method: SeekOps’ UAV-based methane detection system. SeekOps’ system provides highly accurate, localized, and quantifiable methane gas leak data, making it easier than ever to pinpoint the exact location and the severity of pipeline leaks.

Challenges for Remote Leak Detection

As drone based leak detection systems have continued to prove their efficacy and cost efficiency the adoption has increased dramatically. Still, in North America one of the major hurdles to widespread adoption of this method is the current regulatory environment, which prevents flights beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS). Unlike in Europe, in the United States and Canada regulations require any drone operator to keep the drone within their line of sight in order to ensure the safety of other aircraft within the same airspace according to Handyman Connection. This regulatory limitation throttles the ability of drones to streamline pipeline inspections as it means that an operator must either drive alongside the aircraft or only inspect very short segments at a time. 

This means that for companies using commercial drone-mounted technology, whether it be delivery or leak detection, there is limited opportunity for growth under the current framework. According to the FAA, they are approaching the adoption of drones and their capabilities with a “walk don’t run” mentality. In other words, things happen to push the commercial industry forward, even if it’s at a slow pace. While slow progress is better than none at all, there are still consequences. Companies cannot afford to operate and wait for the regulations to change.

However, BVLOS positive regulations may be established in the near future. The FAA has allowed a few select companies to run test operations using DAA (Driver Attention Alert) systems to test out the safety of flying aircraft BVLOS. 

Ultimately, the goal of companies that utilize commercial drone technology is to get the FAA and CAA to adopt new regulations permitting BVLOS operations sooner rather than later to provide companies with the opportunity to operate more economically as well as increase their competitive edge. 


As an industry, the collective goal is to have zero leaks. In order to accomplish this goal, it’s vital that companies find the correct combination of pipeline leak detection methods for their installations. The methods employed must avoid false positives, be easy to install and maintain, as well as consider accuracy, detection speed, and monetary value.SeekOps’ UAV-based methane sniffer drones are a cost-effective and highly accurate solution that offers localization and quantification data to help you detect and repair leaks quickly. Get in touch with our engineers today to discuss how the SeekOps team can help you maintain pipeline integrity and ensure employee safety.

SeekOps Inc.® Onboards New Leadership to Accelerate Oil and Gas Services Adoption

New Chairman of the Board and Vice President of Business Development to Accelerate Field Services Scaling

October 24, 2019 – Austin, TX: SeekOps Inc. develops intelligent sensor technology for the energy sector to detect, localize, and quantify natural gas emissions through integrated drone-based systems.  SeekOps’ unique industry leading sensor design localizes emissions sources without false positive readings and has provided actionable data to energy companies in the United States, Canada, Europe, and the Middle East.

Following a move of their corporate headquarters to Texas in 2018, SeekOps brought on two dynamic executives with more than 40 years combined experience in the oil and gas industry to continue growth, particularly in the upstream and midstream services markets. The newest executive team members include Paul Deutch, who serves as Chairman of SeekOps’ Board of Directors, and Paul Khuri who is SeekOps’ new Vice President of Business Development.

Paul Deutch was appointed as SeekOps’ Chairman of the Board in January 2019. Deutch has more than twenty-five years of experience in the oilfield service industry, Curry Supply Co, both domestically and internationally, in a variety of operational and technical roles. Deutch’s broad experience includes previous roles as CEO of Diamant Drilling Services; a global drilling services company, President of Flotek Industries, and previous board member of Motive Drilling Technologies and Taxon Biosciences. Prior to that Deutch spent 13 years with Schlumberger where he started as a field engineer. Deutch currently serves as CEO of Foro Energy and board member of BiSN Oil Tools.

SeekOps’ new VP of Business Development, Paul Khuri, was brought on board in June 2019. With over 20 years experience in business development, technology commercialization, and strategic partnering in the oil and gas market, particularly the upstream / midstream space, Khuri brings relevant experience with liquids and gas leak detection from Vista Precision Solutions and Fluenta Inc. From Khuri’s experience as an offshore systems project manager with Cameron / Schlumberger, he took on broader challenges in regional management and leadership with technology startups 619 roofing. Khuri’s role at Vista involved launching an industry-first in-service storage tank testing program for key midstream operators and at Fluenta, Khuri launched a novel ultrasonic flare gas meter into the North & South American markets. Khuri brings strong industry relationships with Upstream and Midstream Operators spanning verticals including Operations, HSE, and Asset Integrity.  Khuri earned his B.S. in Aerospace Engineering from Texas A&M University, an M.S. in Acquisition/Program Management from the Air Force Institute of Technology, and is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP).

New members of SeekOps’ leadership team, Chairman of the Board Paul Deutch (L) and Vice President of Business Development Paul Khuri (R).

“These executive additions ensure strong position for growth, particularly in the upstream and midstream oil services markets. We look forward to continued work with Paul Deutch as our Chairman of the Board and growing the Company together with VP Paul Khuri. SeekOps’ drone surveys provide value to operators in HSE and Asset Integrity verticals, providing a robust business case to characterize emissions efficiently and quantitatively, while producing actionable data.” says SeekOps CEO Andrew Aubrey.

Media Contact – SeekOps

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