31 October 2021 - 19:00
  • News Code: 325293
Iran Gas Transmission Fitted with New GIS Generation

TEHRAN (Shana) -- A new generation of geographic information system (GIS) has been installed in the pipeline projects of Iran Gas Transmission Company (IGTC), which would facilitate data storage, display and analysis. Assadollah Qanavati, director of engineering and planning at IGTC, said: “Using the system will allow for geographical data management, combining and overlapping different information sources and receiving answers from the descriptive and geographical information along with access to a variety of geographical analyses and preparation of charts, diagrams, reports and thematic maps along with three-dimensional display of information.”

GIS is a conceptualized framework that enables us to capture and analyze spatial and geographic data. GIS applications (or GIS apps) are computer-based tools that allow the user to create interactive queries (user-created searches), store and edit spatial and non-spatial data, analyze spatial information output, and visually share the results of these operations by presenting them as maps.

Geographic information systems are utilized in multiple technologies, processes, techniques and methods. They are attached to various operations and numerous applications, which relate to: engineering, planning, management, transport/logistics, insurance, telecommunications, and business. For this reason, GIS and location intelligence applications are at the foundation of location-enabled services, that rely on geographic analysis and visualization.

GIS provides the capability to relate previously unrelated information, through the use of location as the "key index variable".

Comprehensive Databank

GIS, as a system that has proved its role in geographical information management in different specialties and different levels of decision-making and execution, could be very effective in optimizing the executive and decision-making process in IGTC.

Installation of GIS in gas companies as the infrastructure for pipeline integrated management systems dates from 1992. As it often takes 10 years to come to fruition, IGTC in 2008 decided to set up a comprehensive geographical databank containing technical data of gas pipelines. That had been required under Iran’s 5th Five-Year Economic Development Plan.

Qanavati said the first phase of the process began with the creation of a spatial information infrastructure with the aim of standardizing the processes of data preparation and storage, centralizing data management, providing multi-user access to the database, and the ability to retrieve and display data in the form of a report.

Based on this, the APDM and PODS models, which are currently used as one of the PIMS infrastructures in the world, were performed by defining 195 information layers and creating location-based software as a network in 10 operational areas. During this period, an attempt was made to complete these layers of information with the plans made. What is time-consuming and costly in this system was the data and its collection, which, based on the experience of other countries, has cost 80% of the total cost of the project. During this period, by defining 3 phases, data collection, correction and completion and updating were on the agenda. “Everywhere geographical information is discussed, the first issue is the scale of the system,” Qanavati said.

Significant Progress

Qanavati said: “The first phase began with planning to complete 48 layers and is now 90% complete. The second phase was defined by planning to complete 25 layers, which is now 70% complete. Completion of data in the third phase is also being pursued for completion.”

According to the existing instructions, the GIS scale of IGTC has been changing from 1:10000 to 1:2000 scale since 1999, he said. The implementation of this process is currently underway, he said, expressing hope for achieving the desired accuracy in a 2-year process.

Qanavati said: “With the establishment of this system, now over 400 users from IGTC and National Iranian Gas Company (NIGC) are using the system.”

Referring to some of the capabilities of this system, he said: “The possibility of quick response to at least 90% of inquiries in less than a few minutes is provided.”

In pipeline repairs, the use of this information significantly enhances the speed of identifying defective points with an error of less than half a meter, which has significantly reduced the volume of drilling and subsequent operations.

Updating Software

Qanavati said: “The ability to draw a variety of boundaries and perform base location analyses and quick access to specifications of each point of the pipeline and draw pipeline profiles based on a height base in less than a few seconds and view all intrusive buildings and cathodic protection and leakage information and pipeline-related inspections is now available.”

He added; “Currently, a software update has been prepared, which is more than 13 years old, and the existing system audit from the point of view of PIMS and GIS system deployment is defined and implemented based on cadastral notification instructions in 1:2000 scale.”

“The most important concern in implementing this system is updating and refining the existing data so that its information could be used as a DSS decision support system. This has been achieved with the courage and pursuit of active and persistent GIS experts at the regional level and the cooperation of hardworking staff in the yards and zone,” said Qanavati.

Sustainable Transmission and Monitoring

Among other projects that are underway by IGTC for sustainable gas transmission and monitoring of pipelines, the seismic risk analysis project may be highlighted, which due to the establishment of GIS, the necessary infrastructure has been provided to create different modules of the base location. Due to the seismicity of Iran and in order to identify the pipelines affected by earthquakes and to prioritize the inspection of pipelines, a project was defined by obtaining consulting services from Amir Kabir University of Technology.

In this project, by defining the creation of location-based module and compatible with the existing GIS system, to investigate the impact of each earthquake on pipelines and assess the risk of each earthquake and by entering parameters such as coordinates, the strength and depth of the epicenter were envisaged. Due to the need for geological maps and high risk areas of faults, drift, subsidence and liquefaction, these maps were prepared and digitized by relevant organizations, which can be seen as GIS layers.

GIS Database

Qanavati said: “This software module was completed in April 2021 and covers all the required capabilities and in less than a few minutes identifies and prioritizes the risks of earthquake-affected pipelines and allows it to be displayed on a map, which will be developed by 20 March 2021. The possibility of creating it online by connecting to earthquake notification systems and automating it is being explored. The system is one of the first GIS-based databases. Furthermore, with this system and based on the seismic and thrust points in the country, it will be possible to take preventive measures to secure the pipelines of the national gas transmission network to be more resilient in earthquake conditions.”

He also touched on the project investigating supports and foundations, adding:   “The project was defined with the aim of identifying and prioritizing the repairs of supports and foundations in pressure boosting stations under the supervision of Civil Engineering Unit. Due to the deployment of the GIS system, this project has provided the definition of the base location and the possibility of viewing all defective supports in the existing GIS system.”

He added: “In this project, the relevant consultant was first instructed on how to collect information and take photos at a station in each area, and based on that, the individuals identified all the defective supports and foundations in the booster stations.”

Qanavati said: “The information collected includes the type of damage, photo of the fault and the exact location of the fault based on the coordinates that could be seen in the GIS system.”

Smart Pigging, Best Choice

Referring to the project of intelligent follow-up of gas transmission pipelines, he said: “Smart pigging is one of the inspection methods of pipelines largely used in the world today and its tools are constantly growing and being upgraded regularly.”

He added that smart pigging was a “non-destructive inspection method with the advantage of undisrupted transfer of fluid in the pipeline, the best option to monitor the pipelines and determine defects as well as damaged points in the pipelines.”

According to him, today, smart pigging has gained the first place among the inspection methods available for pipelines in the field of monitoring.

In order to ensure the proper performance of their pipelines, operators perform intelligent pigging based on the time periods determined in compliance with the standard and internal policy of their company, and in order to have stable and safe pipelines (physical assets) in the shortest possible time after receiving reports.

Qanavati said magnetic flux leakage was widely used in gas pipelines.

Magnetic flux leakage or Transverse Field Inspection technology (TFI) is a magnetic method of nondestructive testing that is used to detect corrosion and pitting in steel structures, most commonly pipelines and storage tanks. The basic principle is that a powerful magnet is used to magnetize the steel. At areas where there is corrosion or missing metal, the magnetic field "leaks" from the steel. In a Magnetic Flux Leakage (MFL) tool, a magnetic detector is placed between the poles of the magnet to detect the leakage field. Analysts interpret the chart recording of the leakage field to identify damaged areas and to estimate the depth of metal loss.

There are many methods of assessing the integrity of a pipeline. In-line-Inspection (ILI) tools are built to travel inside a pipeline and collect data as they go. The type of ILI we are interested in here, and the one that has been in use the longest for pipeline inspection, is the magnetic flux leakage inline inspection tool (MFL-ILI). MFL-ILIs detect and assess areas where the pipe wall may be damaged by corrosion.

Qanavati said last calendar year, IGTC managed to conduct smart pigging on 1,600km of pipeline (IGAT-3, IGAT-4 and IGAT-7). It also signed agreements for smart pigging on another 3,500km of pipeline.

Cooperation with Knowledge-Based Companies

While referring to the cooperation with academic centers in the field of smart pigging, Qanavati said: “Acquiring technical knowledge and manufacturing of 30-inch (ILI) and 56-inch smart pigs based on high resolution technology and TFI, MFL, the process of manufacturing 30-inch smart pigs based on a research project at NIGC, as well as acquisition of technical knowhow of 30-inch pigs with high resolution technology, TFI, MFL, could be mentioned in this regard.”

Meantime, acquiring technical knowledge and manufacturing of 56-inch smart pigs and manufacturing 10 items of oil commodities are on the agenda of IGTC. These measures will definitely materialize by using the potential of knowledge-based companies, academic and research centers.

Courtesy of Iran Petroleum

By Mahnaz Mohammad-Qoli

News Code 325293

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