The gas industry is expanding. Natural gas is already an essential resource. It fuels industry, power plants, domestic homes, vehicles, and electrical power stations. In recent years, the success of extracting shale gas reserves in North America has led to many other countries following suit1 and scaling up production in their own regions including China, Argentina, and the UK.


The USA uses about 26.03 trillion cubic feet of natural gas per year2

 

Issues affecting the gas industry are:

  • Leak events
  • Rupture events
  • Pipeline vandalism
  • Capacity planning
  • Gas scheduling
  • Monitoring un-metered areas
  • Pipeline design
  • Rapid growth

 

The challenge

With expansion comes the rapid building of infrastructure to accommodate the increase in gas being transported. Gas transmission pipelines can extend for thousands of kilometres, traveling over inaccessible terrain or subsea. Distribution pipelines deliver gas to millions of homes and businesses, travelling through populated areas.

Operators need to be able to monitor the entire network with accurate information. It is essential to know that the pipeline is, and will continue, running at safe operating conditions. Gas explosions in populated areas can be devastating, as shown by the blast in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, which killed 25 and injured 2673 people. In the USA, a gas explosion brought down two apartment blocks in the densely populated Harlem area4 and in 2010 the gas pipeline explosion in a San Francisco suburb killed eight people and incurred $1.4 billion in penalties against Pacific Gas & Electric5. Small releases can be just as dangerous. A subsea gas release could sink a small boat if the density of the water becomes too low to keep it afloat.6

In the day-to-day running of transmission pipelines, operators need to be able to fulfil commitments to their customers. This includes being able to track the gas as it travels, estimate arrival time at its destination, and invoice accurately.

 

Why use an Atmos system?

 

Gassco – the world’s largest subsea pipeline operator trusts Atmos SIM to monitor its pipeline network

 

Atmos products are installed on over 130 gas pipelines and recent developments have pushed the functionality of the systems to its best level so far, which has not gone unnoticed. The company was recently shortlisted for the Energy Institute Awards in the technology category, for the implementation of Atmos SIM Online at Gassco subsea gas pipelines. Other customers in the gas industry include BP, Shell, and Essar.

Atmos can offer the following solutions for the gas industry

 

Atmos’ range of product suites are designed to integrate easily with existing systems. Leak detection can help companies locate and stop a leak event before a serious incident occurs. Atmos’ simulation products are field proven to provide accurate forecasting to operators, allowing them to respond quickly to potential issues. Operations management systems provide a dashboard view of all the business activity associated with the pipeline.

Atmos Leak and Theft Detection Suite

This suite of products provides information about the leak size, location and amount of product lost when a leak event happens on a pipeline or airport hydrant system. Atmos technologies use a variety of field tested methods including flow balance, rarefaction wave, model-based methods and pressure step to provide the most effective and efficient leak detection and location.

Atmos Simulation Suite

Atmos Simulation Suite has a range of powerful and user friendly tools to assist operators in monitoring their lines. It can provide online systems with the ability to forecast operating conditions and offline simulations for design, tuning, training and a surge analysis module.

Atmos GMS

Atmos gas management system (GMS) is a web-based management solution for transmission companies. Companies can manage business information and track transportation contracts across their network through the buying, selling and transportation processes. The main functions include contract nomination, stock account, stock management, gas balance management/reconciliation, and reporting.

Atmos Pig

Pipeline pigs or scrapers are used frequently either to maintain the efficiency of the infrastructure or inspect its integrity. Atmos Pig monitors the progress of pigs from the launcher through to the receiver. It gives accurate and up-to-date locations and estimated arrival time to intermediate stations along the pipeline. This ensures the operator can accurately plan operations as the pig passes through the pipeline.

 


References

¹ Oil and Gas Reality Check 2013. Deloitte. Page 5

² Figure from 2013: US Energy Information Administration

Taiwan gas blasts in Kaohsiung kill at least 25. BBC News.

At Least 3 Killed as Gas Explosion Hits East Harlem. The New York Times.

PG&E fined $1.4B for San Bruno pipeline blast. USA Today.

Monsma, V. et al, 2013. S31-1 Application of onshore risk criteria to an estuary crossing. 6th International Pipeline Technology Conference, Lab. Soete and Tiratsoo Technical. Wed 9 October 2013

 

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