A safe, reliable, and more intelligent infrastructure is critical to take advantage of abundant supplies and maintain the public’s confidence in the natural gas delivery system. New technologies under development by GTI with funding from Operations Technology Development (OTD) are preventing damage, reducing risk, enhancing operational efficiency, and increasing safety.
A breakaway fitting to enhance gas system safety is a low-cost option to reduce risk to aboveground Meter Set Assemblies (MSAs) when impacted by outside forces, such as vehicular impact. The breakaway fitting can be installed directly to new and existing meter sets to stop the flow of gas when impacted and reduce the risk of a leak, fire, explosion, and/or property damage. Field testing at several U.S. utilities received very positive feedback.
New equipment and systems that reduce third-party damage offer safer delivery of natural gas to customers and increase safety for construction workers and the general public.
Real-time GIS and sensors are being used in a tracking system to alert pipeline operators to the potential for damage from active excavations. Data streams and mapping are enhancing situational awareness of digging activities within and outside of authorized dig areas, helping to reduce risk and improve safety when digging near gas pipelines. Historical data archiving also provides key information for analysis and trend identification.
An Intelligent Shut-off Device (ISD) detects any size gas leak from very small to catastrophic line breaks and automatically shuts off gas flow. Current Lorax Line Guardian Technology is being enhanced and evaluated to be able to sense all types and sizes of line breaks and shut off the flow of gas. An alpha prototype of the ISD has been designed, manufactured, and tested, and additional lab and simulated field evaluations are planned. The technology is scalable for various size applications and halts flow of ALL gas when service line is compromised.
The Gas Line Tracer and Directional Entry Tool, available from Jameson, was developed to address the issue of locating previously un-locatable plastic gas distribution lines. The Directional Tool enables vertical insertion of tracer rods and cameras into live gas mains and services, to facilitate locating the pipe and identifying features from the inside.
GTI and 3M have joined forces to develop and test a viable solution for intrinsically locatable polyethylene (PE) pipe materials. An integral electronic marking system offers precise location without tracer wires or accurate maps. By having the manufacturer apply the marker directly to the plastic pipe, installation time is reduced and the system offers greater accuracy, integrity, and ease of use.
The system builds on existing 3M EMS ball marker locator technology currently used for path marking, which uses material resonators. The precise location of a buried electronic marker is indicated by the portable locator’s display and sound output. Marking buried plastic pipe with an electronic marker gives a unique detection signature for each utility type by frequency selection, gives near continuous location detection of the pipe path, and allows for good estimation of the pipe depth.
Learn more about issues and opportunities affecting the transmission and distribution sector by attending the 27th World Gas Conference 2018 next June. Visit www.wgc2018.com/program to filter the interactive online program by ‘Transmission, Distribution & Storage’ to view all relevant sessions.