Energy supply is a dangerous game. The smallest failure in equipment could result in a leak of gas or oil that could have serious environmental ramifications - including explosions.
A leaky gas line was the cause of a massive explosion that occurred recently in rural Minnesota, Forum News Service reported. No one was injured in the blast, but those living within a two mile radius had to be evacuated. Witnesses say that the giant fireball was over 100 feet high and observing it "was like looking into the sun," according to Marshall County sheriff's office chief deputy Jason Bowman.
The company responsible for the pipeline, Viking Gas Transmission Co., said that many customers would be without gas for several days. The cause of the leak is currently unknown.
No spill or leak is considered a good thing when dealing with gas and oil, but when an explosion like this occurs it represents one of the worst possible outcomes. While no one was killed in this instance, others who have been too close to similar gas leaks has not faired as well.
More needs to be done in the way of prevention
The Viking Gas incident is not an isolated occurrence. According to PennEnergy contributor Anu Sood, oils leaks continue to occur several times a year. This is not positive news for anyone involved - not only do these issues threaten the environment, but they also cause the companies in question to lose money and time dealing with cleanup, forfeiting profits due to lost material and even paying fines.
"The bottom line is that energy companies need to think even harder about the short and long-term impact of pipeline incidents, and how they can be prevented moving forward," Sood wrote. She believes that proper equipment monitoring solutions are something that more of these organizations need to invest in.
Scanimetrics wants to help
Because the naked eye can often miss minute details, it is important for those tasked with energy equipment inspection to have state-of-the-art sensors and software at their disposal. With so many possible things that can go wrong and so many disastrous consequences waiting around the corner in this industry, preventive predictive maintenance has to be a top priority. It is quickly being realized that the only way to effectively accomplish this is to seek the assistance of new technology.