Effective Pipe Replacement Prioritization Using Advanced Leak Detection & Analytics

The Picarro solution optimizes pipe replacement prioritization by identifying where the highest leak densities are in a network. The leak density information can be used to complement the results of existing risk models based on an operator’s Distribution Integrity Management Program (DIMP). Replacement decisions are then optimized for highest risk reduction and to maximize the annual O&M cost savings through avoided leak repair. By prioritizing replacement of pipelines with the highest leak densities, leaks are eliminated before they are found through compliance leak survey and incur repair cost.

  • The number of leaks removed by pipe replacement using Picarro’s solution is on average 1.5 times greater than it is when using traditional risk (DIMP) models alone.
  • This can represent as much as $35k additional cost savings per mile of pipe replaced and is a recurring, annual savings.
  • In a typical network of 10,000 miles of pipe where 1% is replaced annually, this can represent as much as $3.5M in recurring annual O&M savings.
  • Additional benefits of effective capital project prioritization includes accelerated system risk reduction, and reduction in odor calls and fugitive emissions.

Output from Picarro’s solution for pipe replacement optimization showing the measured leak density on individual pipe sections. This data can be used to complement results of traditional risk models based on DIMP, allowing projects to be prioritized effectively to achieve the highest risk reduction and maximize the number of leaks remediated through capital replacement.

Emissions Quantification

The bulk of emissions in any natural gas infrastructure are contributed from a small population of high-emitting leaks. By using the Picarro system to measure and quantify the emissions at an unprecedented speed and scale across a gas distribution system, utilities can selectively identify these “super emitters” and target them for accelerated repair, reducing fugitive emissions and system risk.

  • Since 2018, a large US based utility has partnered with Picarro in a first-of-its kind infrastructure-wide super emitter effort.
  • This emissions quantification at scale, consisting of an annual survey of a 42,000-mile distribution system, has allowed the identification and remediation of the highest-emitting leaks – defined as emitting > 10 standard cu. ft. / hr.
  • In one year, 210 super emitters were identified, 0.4% of leaks, representing 49.7 Million cu. ft. / yr of emissions and accounting for nearly 13% of the total utility’s emissions reduced from the natural gas system between 2015 and 2018.
  • This program also showed significant safety benefits: of the 210 leaks, 91 were hazardous leaks and 74 of these hazardous leaks were identified several years before they would have otherwise been found by a compliance leak survey.

Picarro’s Emissions Quantification Analytics Dashboard

Picarro’s Emissions Quantification Analytics Dashboard

Leak Survey Enabled by Risk-Ranking Analytics

Picarro’s solution leverages the power of data analytics to prioritize leak indications by potential risk. Methane plumes from natural gas leaks have unique signatures we can measure, allowing analytics to rank indications by potential risk. These Risk-Ranking Analytics enable utilities to maximize operational efficiency by prioritizing leak indications that are most likely to be hazardous.

  • Traditional leak survey tools and processes miss 66% of hazardous leaks on average.
  • On the other hand, using advanced leak detection technologies can identify significantly more leaks, but this can dramatically increase leak repair budgets and leak backlogs.
  • Picarro’s Risk-Ranking Analytics enable utilities to maximize the yield of hazardous leak identification, finding 4 such priority leaks per 10 leaks found on average, as compared to 1 priority leaks per 10 leaks found on average by a traditional leak survey process.
  • This enables an operator to survey a larger portion of their system annually, resulting in more hazardous leaks found annually, and shifting resources from investigation/repair of non-hazardous leaks to focus on hazardous leaks based on higher-yield leak indications.
  • The key operational value ismaximizing risk spend efficiency, defined as risk reduction impact per dollar spent.

Picarro leak indications prioritized by Risk Ranking Analytics