Satellite monitoring of gas pipeline network by GAIL

GN Bureau | December 1, 2015




GAIL India has said it has launched satellite surveillance portal to monitor its 13,000 km of gas pipeline network with a view to address security concerns.  It would use also drones and satellite imagery to map and monitor its pipeline network while expanding its Sahyogi (partner) scheme to detect/prevent encroachment and terror attack threats.

The move also follows an unnoticed corrosion in its pipeline in Andhra Pradesh causing gas leakage and a massive fire in East Godavari district in June 2014, killing at least 18 persons.

"GAIL in collaboration with National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC), a unit of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO, has launched an innovative surveillance geo-portal called 'Bhuvan-GAIL portal' utilising space technology for its pipelines," the company said in a statement.

The company believes space technology can be efficiently used for monitoring the pipeline Right of Use (RoU).  It has over 13,000-km of pipeline network wherein monthly monitoring of pipeline ROU at present is being carried out through helicopter surveys.

The portal is operated with manual as well as auto-change analysis options to monitor the changes along natural gas pipeline Right of Use (RoU). The change analysis can be made with the help of this technology within the ROU and also outside the ROU up to 1 km risk zone.

"GAIL will start live satellite monitoring of the pipeline RoU by January 2016 and is also looking for alternative methods like advance Unmanned Ariel Vehicle (UAV) which can also be integrated with this system," the statement said.

GAIL also developed an application from which the pictures taken locally from any mobile describing the actual scenario can be uploaded instantly to the portal.

"GAIL will start live satellite monitoring of the pipeline RoU by January 2016 and is also looking for alternative methods like advance Unmanned Ariel Vehicle (UAV) which can also be integrated with this system," the statement said.

GAIL also developed an application from which the pictures taken locally from any mobile describing the actual scenario can be uploaded instantly to the portal.

"A report system integrated with this Bhuvan-GAIL portal can send alerts to the relevant executives via SMS and email regarding the changes noted along the ROU and also arrival of any new satellite imagery," it said.

To establish the technical feasibility of utilising space technology for its pipeline applications, GAIL started the study with Imageries from Indian Satellites and later shifted to very high resolution foreign satellites.

Meanwhile, once successful, the drone experiment would be implemented in other parts of the country. The company's pipeline network is already monitored through closed-circuit cameras at a cost of around Rs.25 crore.

There are around 500 encroachments on Gail land at present, but 30 encroachments at different places have already been removed.

The company has built a large network of natural gas pipelines covering more than 10,900 km, apart from two liquefied petroleum gas pipelines with a total length of 2,040 km.

About laying the pipelines along the highways where security monitoring would be better compared with pipes criss-crossing through farmland.

The Tamil Nadu government and state farmers had opposed the company's plan to lay Kochi-Mangalore natural gas pipeline through farmland in seven districts of Tamil Nadu. The state government maintained that Gail could lay pipeline along the national highways and not through farmland.

With Gail pipelines having a lifespan of 25 years, the company has hired external experts for monitoring their internal and external corrosion.

In June 2014, an explosion in Gail pipeline in Andhra Pradesh due to internal corrosion killed 29 persons.  The quality of gas was monitored to prevent internal corrosion in pipelines.

The first phase of the Rs.10,000 crore Jagadishpur-Haldia pipeline has begun. The project is expected to be completed by December 2018.

The official said the company could deliver a project in 24 months, irrespective of the length of pipeline to be laid.

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