A Vision for the Intelligent Pipeline System and The Role of the Intelligent Engine
According to projections by the Energy Information Administration (EIA), natural gas demand will grow at an unparalleled rate over the next 20 years. These projections indicate growth from the current level of 22 TCF to over 30 TCF by the year 2013 and 35 TCF by 2020 This comes at a time when the industry's prime mover infrastructure boasts an average age of over 40 years – an infrastructure that struggles to meet peak gas demands today. It is interesting to note that both the marketing/planning and the operational sides of the natural gas industry have both made significant progress over the past ten years, introducing technology and business processes to effectively meet many of the challenges presented by the changing landscape. From a marketing and planning standpoint, these include real-time nomination systems, forward looking demand and systems planning models, and real-time pipeline simulation and scenario models. From an operational standpoint, these include asset management programs, condition based and/or reliability centered maintenance programs, real or near real-time gas control, and advanced diagnostic and early warning systems. However, it would appear that the industry has significant (untapped) opportunities to exploit the synergies of both sides of the business to create what the authors define as the “Intelligent Pipeline”. Furthermore, the authors suggest that the core building block in creating the Intelligent Pipeline is the Intelligent Engine. It should be noted that in many of the advances mentioned above, when outlining needs and opportunities to more fully leverage the technology and business processes, site the lack of accurate and timely information regarding the actual transmission system and its key components. The Intelligent Engine addresses both the need for accurate and real-time information for marketing and planning systems, as well as the advanced controls, monitoring, diagnostics/prognostics needs of advanced asset (productivity
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