August 2023, Vol. 250, No. 8

Tech Notes

Portgas Preparing to Automate Gas Mix, New Pipeline Technologies

Special to P&GJ 

(P&GJ) — REN Portgás, one of Portugal’s leading natural gas distributors, upgraded to DNV’s Synergi Gas Automated Model Builder to boost quicker and better-informed decision-making as they prepare for the new energy mix.

With the upgrade, REN Portgás can now build gas network models in a matter of days instead of weeks, reducing the time spent on the task by over 60%.  

The organization, which serves over 400,000 Portuguese customers, has relied on Synergi Gas for a long time for network planning, made the upgrade to save time and reduce the risk of model errors and data inconsistencies as they model major scenarios for the energy transition. 

“The key to decarbonizing at scale is providing safety, ensuring energy security and optimizing gas networks efficiently,” said Glória Gonçalves, an engineer at REN Portgás. “Today, as we prepare for a future transition that is still in the early stages, the ability to make better-informed decisions based on robust, accurate models is essential.” 

REN Portgás plans to use automated network models for daily maintenance monitoring of its medium and low-pressure distribution network, citing the ability to build gas network models much faster. 

 “What would have taken us three weeks and a lot of manual iterations, we now achieve within two to five days,” she said.  

The web-based application uses available SCADA and system data to automatically build gas network models. With the enhanced tool, the engineers at REN Portgás can access validated models based on near real-time data, providing more accurate results.  

Decisions can now be based on near-live information, giving additional insights and enabling improved reporting. The system automatically updates every model and runs checks to ensure the models are accurate and valid based on correct data. 

“Pipeline operators require new technologies and smarter ways to ensure safety as the enormous task of transforming the energy system gains momentum,” said Tony Alfano, Pipeline Product Line director at DNV Digital Solutions. “There will be an increasing demand for fit-for-purpose pipeline infrastructure in the energy transition, and the software provides more accurate results and better support for critical decisions to be made.”  

The energy conversation in Portugal picked up in 2020, and the government and network operators are preparing to transport hydrogen and biomethane blends over the next few years.  

Portugal, Spain and France plan to build a sea-based pipeline to carry hydrogen and other gas between Barcelona and Marseille, substituting plans to extend the MidCat pipeline across the Pyrenees that France opposed. 

The BarMar pipeline will mainly ship green hydrogen and other renewable gases but will also temporarily allow for the transportation of a limited amount of natural gas. 

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