GTI’s focus is on technology and information development geared toward improving integrity management, reducing risk, preventing damage, and enhancing operational efficiency.
GTI is driving a number of initiatives to assist operators in complying with regulations and reducing risk. See Managing Infrastructure Integrity for more details on how we are creating actionable knowledge to help the industry make informed decisions on risk management, resource deployment, and mitigation measures.
To enhance the level of understanding of threats to infrastructure and allow operators to predict asset performance, calculate system risk, and maximize safety, research on potential threats and development of probabilistic models is needed to ensure that the current body of knowledge is leveraged and transferred into a useful set of tools.
GTI is using advanced modeling and analysis tools to meet this need. A dedicated team is building, organizing, and maintaining applications that combine sound science with applied models to drive informed decision making. The focus is on better integration of field data and risk assessment methods to provide better results. GTI is working with key stakeholders in helping to support integration of these results into industry guidelines, standards, and regulations.
GTI is creating a software tool to assist the pipeline industry in developing a strategic plan for developing and selecting inspection technologies. This inspection technology selection tool (in the form of a relational database) will assist operators in selecting the most appropriate inspection technology for a specific pipe segment to address the unique threats based on the pipe’s vintage, known material properties, and construction techniques. The industry will also be able to quantify the potential market for new inspection technologies based on the gaps identified by the software tool.
The tool will combine the results of two current research projects to provide a method to optimize the use of integrity management resources. It will recommend the use of inspection technologies based on their ability to detect defects and threats most likely to occur on specific pipe segments based on mill and construction practices and other material and environmental characteristics. The tool will identify pipe configurations and threats that current technologies cannot address, thereby optimizing new technology development and allowing the industry to focus R&D efforts toward the highest priority applications.
GTI’s hydro-testing alternatives program will identify and ultimately validate technologies that can provide an inspection that is equivalent to, or superior than, a hydro-test. The first phase of this program will characterize and quantify pipe that has not been subjected to a construction hydro-test to allow the selection of inspection technologies that could provide an assessment that regulators accept as equivalent to a hydro-test. The second phase of the program will perform validation studies of inspection tools to demonstrate their hydro-test equivalence and to obtain regulatory acceptance.
GTI is providing a comprehensive solution to support asset tracking and traceability of piping and appurtenances of gas distribution systems. In 2011, OTD contractors developed a unique identifier that has evolved into the new ASTM F2897-11a standard. The 16-digit alphanumeric code contains key standardized information about each specific component that utilities can collect, store, and access for their asset management programs.
To facilitate compliance with the new standard, a web-based application (www.componentid.org) was developed for registration of unique manufacturer ID numbers and is being managed by the Plastics Pipe Institute.
Ongoing efforts of the GTI research program will provide tools and practices for the industry to use in implementing the new system. GTI is demonstrating a prototype system to use barcode scanning, tablet computers, GIS-enabled software and high accuracy GPS to automate the process of collecting new installation data, including specific asset attributes.
For nearly 60 years, GTI has been providing expertise regarding plastic pipe and piping products. Legacy developments include new equipment, tools, instruments, techniques and guidelines for safe and efficient installation and maintenance of plastic pipe. GTI has published more than 300 reports, technical papers, and studies on plastic pipe topics.
GTI has a history of helping manufacturers reduce costs, enhance their products, and improve the safety of their systems, and newly established master service agreements are building on these achievements.
We can leverage our expertise in field failure analysis to investigate the root cause of pipe and component failures and offer a comprehensive menu of ASTM tests and custom testing procedures.
Ongoing initiatives are looking at ways to introduce plastics into new safety-related systems and enhancing heat fusion processes in order to reduce long-term system risk. We’re also developing unique approaches to lifetime prediction and plastic pipe system modeling. GTI is working on several projects that utilize dynamic testing methods for polymeric materials and is acquiring sophisticated new equipment that will ultimately provide more detailed material behavior models at less cost to the end users.
GTI is the industry’s source for the development, testing, and introduction of innovative keyhole technologies for utility system repairs and renovations. Excavation and restoration expenses cost U.S. natural gas companies more than $1 billion annually. GTI’s Keyhole Consortium—comprised of over 30 members from manufacturers and utilities—promotes the use of trenchless techniques that substantially decrease excavation and restoration costs while reducing public inconveniences and increasing safety. Some of GTI’s most significant keyhole developments include information on the establishment of keyhole standards, a keyhole pipeline inspection camera system, tooling database, and “how to” videos.
In 2007, the City of Toronto established the first comprehensive keyhole coring and reinstatement standard in North America, the result of keyhole activities by local utility Enbridge Gas Distribution, including several efforts with GTI.
In 2008, the Consortium’s activities included the creation of a technical reference guide to support the acceptance of coring and reinstatement procedures by local jurisdictions governing roadway repairs. Nicor Gas used this documentation, along with research analysis, to gain official approval for keyhole coring and reinstatement on state right-of-ways from the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT).
More recently, Maricopa Association of Governments (Phoenix and the surrounding area) implemented a keyhole coring and restoration construction standard.
A vision document, Natural Gas in a Smart Energy Future, sponsored by the American Gas Foundation, APGA Research Foundation, Canadian Gas Association, the INGAA Foundation Inc. and the Natural Gas Supply Association, was created by a GTI/Navigant Team in 2011. The report defines the ‘smart’ and ‘strategic’ roles of natural gas in a smart energy future and serves to ensure that natural gas is part of the conversation in policy and infrastructure planning discussions between industry, regulators and policy makers. It identifies key tools and steps—as well as a number of action items for both policymakers and the industry—that will make the energy system more reliable, safer and better able to manage peak demand.
GTI worked with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to initiate the creation of the Gas Technology Working Group (GTWG), the first natural gas industry-related standards development group under the Smart Grid Interoperability Panel (SGIP).
GTI has established a Gas Quality Resource Center (GQRC) to provide a common understanding and knowledge base about gas quality and interchangeability issues. The GQRC provides information related to gas quality, analysis of current flowing gas supplies in North America, constituent trends across identified regions, analysis of current technical regulatory trends associated with pipeline tariff and identification of research needed to help fill information gaps ultimately aimed at maximizing supplies while balancing the needs of pipeline integrity and end use concerns.
The system is under development with an anticipated launch in early fourth quarter 2013. Modules will include information on pipeline tariffs, a FERC summary, gas quality profiles, a technical publication library, current research, research opportunities, gas quality analysis, a calculator toolbox, and gas quality management planning. Once the system is live, additional companies will be allowed access based on an annual subscription service.
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