What Makes the Pipeline Safe?
Natural gas pipelines are generally regarded as the safest mode of energy transportation in the world today. Natural gas is transported underground in high strength steel pipes. The strength and quality of the steel, the depth of the pipe and the thickness of the pipe all help to improve safety.
To ensure safety, onshore pipelines are located in designated ‘Pipeline Easements’. TGP has a field services agreement (FSA) with Zinfra to ensure the easements – and the pipes – are kept in top condition.
During construction, each joining weld is x-ray tested. Before natural gas is allowed to enter the pipe water is injected at 125-150 per cent of the maximum operating pressure to test the pipe’s integrity.
The pipeline has a protective coating to prevent corrosion and is further protected by a cathodic protection system. This system sends a small electrical current along the steel pipe and into the ground. This protects any bare steel from corroding.
The TGP is monitored 24 hours per day via the supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) system. The SCADA system scans sites along the pipeline every 10 seconds and relays the information back to a control room. The data is analysed for such things as gas pressure, temperature, quality and flow. Valves can be remotely closed to vary gas flow and pressure to ensure the pipeline is safe.
Natural gas is odourless. To make it safe an odourant is added. This odourant has a strong and unpleasant smell of rotten egg, which will be easily detectable outside of the pipeline. Should you detect such a smell near the pipeline, immediately phone TGP’s emergency number 1800 195 666. This number is manned 24 hours per day by an operator in the control room.
Flammability of Natural Gas
For combustion to occur, three things are needed: Fuel (in this case, gas), air and ignition. If you take any one of these away, the fire is extinguished.
For natural gas to be flammable it needs to be within a certain range of concentration.
The concentration must be between 5% and 15%. If the concentration is below 5%, there is not enough to support combustion. If the concentration is above 15%, there is too much gas to support combustion.
An average person can easily detect the smell of gas at a concentration as low as 1% by volume in air. That concentration is about 5 times lower than the level that will support combustion. So you will be able to smell gas in the air long before it becomes concentrated enough to become flammable.
Risk Policy Statement
TGP Pty Ltd is committed to ensuring the safe, reliable and efficient operation of the TGP. To find out more, please contact us.