Innovation and technology
In 2018, Stogit focused its attention on activities aimed at monitoring microseismicity, by upgrading its networks to standards of technological excellence. Among the operations, the development of a new automatic data management and processing system, active since October 2017, is worthy of mention; in 2018, this will be rolled out to six concessions.
For Snam Rete Gas, it is very important to apply the best available technologies to reduce the level of risk related to its activities and to restore the areas affected by the construction of new plants and gas pipelines
The continuous development of technical expertise and the constant search for greater efficiency are elements that strongly characterise Stogit’s know-how and drive the company to constantly seek new solutions for the storage sector
The Group’s strategic evolution in an increasingly complex and challenging context will require it to rely more heavily on developing innovation and on the good use of technological assets to ensure that it makes the most of what has already been achieved, as well as developing innovative solutions, as a support for and source of business development.
A sustained effort in many directions, which led to the realization of important projects in order to constantly increase the quality of the offered services: from the renewal of critical infrastructure such as the new Data Center – one of the most advanced in Europe – to the investments in hardware and software technology such as the application Gas to Go.
For the Transport sector, it is very important to apply the best available technologies to reduce the level of risk related to its activities and to restore the areas affected by the construction of new plants and gas pipelines. The key technologies used in these areas include:
for the internal inspection of large diameter gas pipelines
The natural gas transmission pipelines are one of the safest and most efficient ways of transporting energy. The underground metal pipelines are coated in a suitable insulating covering that protects them from the aggressive agents in the soil; the protective action of the covering is increased further with the addition of onsite cathodic protection.
To ensure more effective levels of protection, since the early 1980s, Snam Rete Gas has been using a pipeline inspection technique known as “intelligent pig” that allows the evolution of the pipes over time to be monitored. This method consists of inspecting the inside of the pipes using an instrument that is able to identify, locate and measure a series of data with regard to the characteristics or anomalies of the pipes.
Currently, the most widely used intelligent pigs in Snam Rete Gas are those used to monitor any absence of metal in the thickness of the pipe. The instrument is inserted into the pipeline, is extracted at specific points along the pipe, known as “traps,” and is pushed along the pipeline by the pressure of the gas being transported.
>To find out more about our number of inspections, go to the page Service Continuity.
to minimise the impact to areas of significant environmental value and to avoid surface excavations
The use of these technologies in the construction of gas pipelines has many advantages, including:
- the absence of direct interference with the ground
- the reduction of excavation volumes and construction site areas
- ensuring the integrity of pre-existing infrastructures
- limited environmental impact
- no limitations as regards pipe laying depths
- the reduction of execution times and the optimisation of routes.
to control the external conditions of the pipeline
Underwater maintenance is carried out on the five pipelines that cross the Strait of Sicily and the Strait of Messina, with a combined length of approximately 750 kilometres. Routine inspections are carried out to plan any maintenance work required and to stabilise the pipelines on the sea bed.
External checks are divided mainly into two groups, depending on the type of survey and the type of vessel used (surface or submarine):
- inspections near coastal landing sites
- offshore inspections
In addition, routine aerophotogrammetric inspections of coastal landing sites are carried out and, over time, automatic systems have been put in place for underwater repairs as part of emergency interventions.
For submarine inspections, crewed submersibles have gradually been phased out and replaced by the intensive use of ROVs (Remote Operated Vehicles), wireguided by a surface ship and used as a logistics support and aid to onboard management and maintenance, offering a secure base for data acquisition and processing.
The ongoing projects
During the course of the year, various research and development activities launched in previous years were either continued or completed. At the same time, some new projects were launched with potential repercussions in the various Snam business sectors.
- Alternative tools: During the course of 2018 the gradual introduction to the transmission network of instruments to measure the quality of gas alternative to the gas chromatograph, in order to measure the higher calorific value, relative density and carbon dioxide content of natural gas, was continued. In particular, as part of this initiative, a project for the technological adaptation of the fuel gas measurement at the storage plants was started, which involves the installation of quality analysers and the automation and remote reading of the main measurement and reserve measurement. In 2018, activities continued on the adjustment of the measures used for the quality parameters of the gas installed on the network, with the aim of guaranteeing the monitoring and remote management of the devices.
- Forecast demand: With the start of the thermal year (01 October 2018), new model s have begun applying for forecasting the gas demand, based on the use of machine learning methods th at, by improving the neural network algorithms used previously, allow for the suitable management of the large quantity of in formation available. The objective is to improve the quality of the forecast, subject to an incentive scheme by the ARERA.
- Estimation of natural gas emissions: Collaboration continued within the European research group GERG (European Gas Research Group, www.gerg.eu), involving other European natural gas transporters and distributors, with particular reference to the project for the evaluation of two methods for estimating the natural gas emissions expected at an international level and to the project for the study of potential impacts, along the entire gas supply chain, of the trace chemical components in the biomethane in order to create the conditions for the safe development of biomethane as a source of gas in the transport network. In 2018, a study was launched dedicated to the analysis of potential impacts, on the whole of the gas chain, of the chemical components present in traces in biomethane, with the aim of verifying and effectively coping with any operative problems for all operators involved.
- Remote control: In 2018, the study of the Smart Tel project continued, with the aim of analysing the requirements of the acquisition processes and the management of data relating to the control and operation of the network, of increasing its effectiveness levels and identifying the best supporting technologies of the whole remote-controlled process.
- Safety: In gas storage, following a trial conducted on site, in 2018, installation was completed of phonometric systems to record any accidental leaks at plants and to enable quick and effective blocking measures. During the year, initiatives were taken for fire protection of the control rooms, panels rooms and technical rooms of the plants, so as to install suitable fire detection and extinguishing systems. The project will be completed in 2019. The project has also been launched to replace the plant safety management systems and new SIL (Safety Integrity Level) certified electronic systems that will involve the installation of the new systems at the compression plants of Brugherio and Settala in 2019.
- Monitoring of the compression units: A system has been developed for the acquisition and display of the main operating and monitoring data of the compression units. This interface wi ll enable various operators to better manage activities, so as to improve the reliability of plants and reduce the consumption of fuel gas and gas emissions into the atmosphere.
- Electrocompressors: In 2018, a preliminary feasibility study was started for the introduction of electrocompressors into the storage sites, with the aim of improving plant management, guaranteeing greater flexibility and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
- Cogeneration: During the year, works were started for the installation of a trigeneration plant in the Gallese plant. The innovative system will allow for the production of heat, electricity and cooling for internal use.
- Collaboration with EPRG: Collaboration continued with the EPRG (European Pipeline Research Group, www.eprg.net). The EPRG is an association which researches pipeline-related topics and counts Europe's biggest gas transportation and pipeline manufacturing companies among its members, and of which Snam is a member. This group manages projects (broken down into three major areas: Design, Material and Corrosion) with the aim of constantly improving the knowledge and management of the integrity of gas pipelines throughout their life cycle (pipe manufacturing, pipeline construction and operation).
- Electrical Protection: In 2018, the project for innovating the electrical protection system continued, aimed at experimenting in the field of equipment and operational solutions based on the results of the study conducted in 2016.
- Geochemical and micro seismic monitoring: As regards storage, with regard to the new projects for the operation of deposits in conditions of overpressure and the strengthening of monitoring systems, work continues on the construction and installation of geochemical and micro seismic monitoring prototypes. In 2018, Stogit focused its attention on activities aimed at monitoring microseismicity, by upgrading its networks to standards of technological excellence. Among the operations aimed at guaranteeing high-quality performance, the development of a new automatic data management and processing system, active since October 2017, is worthy of mention; in 2018, this will be rolled out to six concessions. The automatic analysis system has also been integrated with the national seismic network, reducing uncertainty in events location. In addition to these, in the concessions of Settala and Ripalta, two surface micro seismic networks have been developed, to integrate the works for the installation of micro seismic detection equipment completed in 2011.
- Revision of maintenance processes: The execution phase of the “Gas Transportation Network Asset Maintenance System” was continued, which is aimed specifically at completely overhauling work processes and regulations related to the transportation network, compression stations, metering and remote control plants. This through identifying of the needs for the evolution of the professional model of the resources and of the technological and ICT tools used to carry out the maintenance activities. In particular, in 2017 the Roll Out of the Asset Implementation and Management systems for the network was completed and in 2018, the Pilot of the Asset Implementation and Management Systems of the compression plants continued.
- Experimentation with leak detection: The trial of a system aimed at identifying and locating gas leaks along the transport network, based on the analysis of the pressure waves and the detection of possible perturbations and their propagation time, continued.
- Experimentation on air flyover checks: For the purpose of evaluating the existence of technologies which are useful for the improvement of air flyover controls, trial operations were begun on two themes: assessment of the current satellite detection technologies available and participation in the trial operations carried out by ENAV and ENAC on the development of the flight infrastructure in the BVLOS mode of drones.
Innovative use of existing infrastructures: In 2018, a working party was launched dedicated to the sharing of information and experience on the matter of the innovative use of existing infrastructures in connection with their capacity to transport (and potentially store) gases other than natural gas, with the ultimate aim of assessing the impacts in the various business areas and identifying practical solutions to the problems encountered.
The Hydrogen working party was structured into various task forces, including the metering task force, for which, amongst others, the following specific areas of investigation/competence have been identified:
- identification of the impacts of hydrogen on the equipment used to measure volume (meters) and quality of gas (gas chromatographs, quality analysers);
- verification of the conformity of the natural gas and hydrogen mixture with the technical specifications of the quality of gas, where the source of natural gas considered and the percentage of hydrogen mixed vary.
Besides Snam cooperates with local, national and inernational authorities and takes part in the work of numerous associations and committees, playing an active role and placing its expertise at their disposal in order to promote improvements in various sectors of activity.
|Name of Association|
|A.P.C.E. - Associazione Protezione Corrosioni Elettrolitiche|
|AAPG - American Association Petroleum Geologyst|
|AEIT - Federazione Italiana di Elettrotecnica, elettronica, Automazione, Informatica e Telecomunicazioni|
|AIEE- Associazione Italiana Economisti dell'Energia|
|AIPSA - Associazione Italiana Professionisti Security Aziendale|
|ANFIDA - Associazione Nazionale fra gli Industriali degli Acquedotti|
|ANIGAS - Associazione Nazionale Industriali Gas|
|ANIPLA - Associazione Nazionale Italiana per l'Automazione|
|ANRA - Associazione Nazionale di risk Manager e Responsabili di Assicurazioni Aziendali|
|Anspen Institute Italia|
|MUSEIMPRESA - Associazione Italiana Musei e Archivi d'Impresa|
|Associazioni Industriali Territoriali|
|ASSOICIM - Istituto di Certificazione Industriale per la Meccanica|
|ASSOMINERARIA - Associazione Mineraria Italiana|
|ASSONIME - Associazione fra le società italiane per azioni|
|Astrid - Associazione per gli studi e le ricerche sulla riforma delle istituzioni democratiche e sull'innovazione nelle amministrazioni pubbliche|
|BOCCONI - Osservatorio lavori pubblici|
|Business Network - International Integrated Reporting Council|
|C.E.I. - Comitato Elettrotecnico Italiano|
|CDP - Carbon disclosure Project|
|CIG - Comitato Italiano Gas|
|CONSEL - Consorzio ELIS|
|CONSULTA - Valorizzazione dei Beni Artistici e Culturali di Torino|
|CSR Manager Network|
|CTI - Comitato Termotecnico Italiano|
|EASEE-GAS - European Association for the Streamlining of Energy-Exchange-Gas|
|EGIG - European Gas Pipeline Incident Data Group|
|Energy Infrastructure Security Network/Swedish Standards Institute|
|ENTSOG - European Network of Transmission System Operators for Gas|
|EPRG - European Pipeline Research Group|
|FIRE - Federazione Italiana per l'uso Razionale dell'Energia|
|FONDAZIONE SODALITAS - Associazione per lo Sviluppo dell'Imprenditoria nel Sociale|
|GERG - Groupe Europeen de Recherches Gazieres|
|GIE - Gas Infrastructure Europe|
|GIGNL - Groupe International Des Importateurs de Gaz Natuerl Liquéfié|
|HI CARE - Human & Infrastructure Crisis AID & Rescue in Emergency|
|IATT - Italian Association for Trenchless Technology|
|IHS - Api standard e ISO|
IGU - International Gas Union (in rappresentanza CIG)
|ISF - Information Security forum|
|MARCOGAZ - Technical Association of the European Natural Gas Industry (in rappresentanza CIG)|
|MIP - Politecnico di Milano School of Management|
|SPE - Society of Petroleum Engineers|
|The Ruling Companies Association|
|UNI - Ente Nazionale Italiano di Unificazione|
|UNIPLAST - ente Italiano di Unificazione nelle Materie Plastiche|
|Università Cattolica Sacro Cuore Milano - Osservatorio Regolazione|
|UNSIDER - Ente Italiano di Unificazione Siderurgia|
09 April 2019 - 13:35 CEST