An inventive technique to capture natural gas and prevent its release into the atmosphere was used for the first time locally earlier this month, during ongoing work to test and modernize our pipelines and equipment systemwide.
The technology resulted in the capture of 81,500 Standard Cubic Feet (scf) of natural gas that would have otherwise been released into the air. In addition, 2,500scf of natural gas from the pipeline was used to fuel a generator on a job site in Chula Vista, providing power to the compressors used to capture the gas.
The work was part of the Pipeline Safety and Enhancement Plan (PSEP) effort to test, upgrade and retrofit natural gas pipelines and valves.
A First in San Diego County
For safety reasons, natural gas inside a pipe must first be released, when crews perform work. Instead of releasing that gas into the atmosphere, the technology allows us to capture, compress and reinject it back into to the pipeline system at another location for use in homes and businesses.
Our sister company, SoCalGas, was one of the pioneers of the natural gas capture technique, and they brought their expertise to our region. A total of more than 2.5 million cubic feet of natural gas has been captured by SoCalGas since it first deployed the technology two years ago.
Following its successful demonstration in Chula Vista earlier this month, we are evaluating the technique to capture natural gas for future pipeline testing and modernization projects.
Inspecting and Modernizing Pipelines
Since the pipeline upgrade project began, we have strength tested and modernized more than 23 miles of natural gas pipelines throughout our region. Where needed, we upgrade portions of our large natural gas pipelines with new ones using the latest technology and modern construction techniques.
Nine valves have also been upgraded with technology that allows them to be opened or closed remotely by our system operators. Automating these pipeline valves will enhance community safety by enabling us to control the flow of natural gas, or if necessary, shut it off in the event of an emergency.