Oil Detection Canines

A proven technology to locate surface and sub-surface hydrocarbons. Tested in both robust research and field deployments supporting spill response and pipeline integrity/leak inspections.

In response to current shortfalls in technology and techniques, the oil industry and environmental groups have sought alternative detection methods. The most recent advances in oil detection are the result of controlled field trials and participation in an oil spill response operation using professionally trained canines and handlers. This combination of recent experience demonstrates the value, reliability, effectiveness, and efficiency of Oil Detection Canine support for high confidence and low-risk detection of both surface and sub-surface oil.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, 1.3 million gallons (4.9 million litres) of petroleum are spilled into U.S. waters from vessels and pipelines in a typical year. This statistic demonstrates both a significant need for improvement and a significant opportunity for support of oil detection and pollution prevention within the oil industry.

  • Shoreline Cleanup Assessment Technique is methodical and slow:
    Specialized SCAT Teams spend the majority of their time assessing areas that contain no oil.
  • Digging pits to locate sub-surface oil is manpower and time consuming:
    Digging pits every 10 meters is a slow process and does not ensure 100% coverage of the search area.
  • An Oil Detection Canine is trained to search for and alert the presence of target hydrocarbons, either surface or sub-surface. For shorelines, lakeshores, river banks and terrestrial environments, K9-SCAT teams can:
    • Conduct an off-leash Wide Area Search (WAS) to “clear” areas for No Detectable Oil (NDO)
    • Cover large areas efficiency and efficiently to locate surface and/or sub-surface target oil saving manpower and costs
    • Delineate subsurface oil with on-leash search patterns if the oil is located by a WAS, and
    • Operate in wetlands and scrubland, where aerial or ground observers may not be able to detect surface or subsurface oil, or on difficult terrain such as vegetated bedrock, boulders or rip rap.

    For onshore and shallow underwater pipelines, oil detection canines have the proven potential to support pipeline integrity management, particularly in the following areas:

    • Routine inspection, as part of an integrity management plan
    • Situations, where corrosion has been identified by In-Line Inspection (ILI) and verification of ‘no leak’, is required
    • Situations where coating problems have been identified by above-ground surveys
    • Pipelines that cannot be “pigged”
    • Cases where there are suspected ‘illegal taps’ and theft

    They integrate into SCAT operations and can be deployed by all forms of transportation (vehicle, foot, boat, ATV, helicopter).

How do we know they are a proven technology?

Because I have been in the field handling an Oil Detection Canine as well as the Technical Advisor and Subject Matter Expert! I have located surface and sub-surface oil targets with a canine. I have located over 3500 alerts on target oils with confirmed amounts from stain to sub-surface mats. I have completed independent field research trials and detected targets at 15′ (5m).

  • 99.7% detection rate in scientific field research trials
  • Faster and more efficient than SCAT Teams without canines
  • Over 10,000 recorded finds in field deployments
  • Saves manpower and time and therefore costs

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