The two-phase, U.S. $635,000 project marks the first European application of GE's new technology, which alerts operators to potential threats posed by accidental "third-party strikes," such as those caused by construction crews. When ThreatScan's (solar or battery-powered) sensors detect vibrations in a given location along a pipeline, the data is instantly transmitted via satellite to GE call centers in Florence, Italy or Houston, Texas, where the information is analyzed and the operator quickly alerted.
Under Phase One of the project, between May and November 2007, E.ON Ruhrgas is evaluating the effectiveness of five ThreatScan sensors installed on a 50-kilometer (km) section of pipeline located near a construction site in southern Germany. The ThreatScan equipment is being installed by GE Oil & Gas' PII Pipeline Solutions group, which developed the system.
For Phase Two, in conjunction with DVGW (the German Scientific and Technical Association for Gas & Water), GE and contract partner E.ON Ruhrgas is installing ThreatScan sensors on pipelines operated by DVGW members for a long-term, 12-month test. These tests are being conducted in conjunction with planned repair activities on a particular section, where a serious impact will be "allowed." These tests also will include deliberate drilling, scratching and striking of the pipeline, in addition to "support" from a vibration machine supplied by GE.
"One of the greatest priorities for Germany and countries throughout Europe is to safeguard their national and regional energy security, which includes protecting existing supplies of energy," said Claudi Santiago, president and CEO of GE Oil & Gas. "GE's ThreatScan allows operators to more effectively monitor their pipelines 24 hours a day, allowing them to immediately respond to, and investigate, potential problems as they happen."
"Because accidental, third-party strikes are a major cause of pipeline defects, ThreatScan should be included in the asset management plans of all operators," Santiago noted.
GE's PII Pipeline Solutions group already has extensive experience performing in-line inspection (ILI) work on E.ON Ruhrgas' pipelines and developing advanced electronic inspection (pigging) technology.
The deployment and evaluation of ThreatScan also is in line with E.ON Ruhrgas' asset maintenance, energy security and environmental protection priorities.
One of Europe's leading gas companies, E.ON Ruhrgas operates more than 11,400 km of pipeline, 11 underground storage facilities and 28 compressor stations. E.ON Ruhrgas is a division of German power and gas company E.ON.
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