SoCalGas completes demonstration testing of new gas detection sensors

Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas) has completed its demonstration testing of new gas detection sensors that utilise its Advanced Meter communication system.

The company plans to deploy these sensors at public places as a part of its overall pipeline safety efforts.

The sensors can quickly identify natural gas leaks near natural gas pipelines and serve as an extra measure to boost the safety of SoCalGas' system.

SoCalGas is committed to improve its infrastructure that reduces methane emission. The company also claims to have one of the lowest methane emission rates in the country.

SoCalGas deployed 12 sensors at monitoring stations within various locations in the Los Angeles basin. These sensors check methane-in-air concentration levels every five minutes and enables SoCalGas to measure and monitor natural gas levels near high-pressure pipelines.

The sensors will send an alarm within 15 minutes to a monitoring system if it detects methane.

The sensors are solar-powered and supplemented by a battery. Each unit comprises a small cabinet that can be attached to a SoCalGas pole, wall or any other structure. The sensors have performed at a satisfactory level for the past year.

SoCalGas director of gas engineering Deanna Haines said: “We're very pleased with the progress of this programme over the last year.

“As far as we know, no other natural gas utility has implemented a similar methane detection pilot programme. Wider use of methane detectors will enhance public safety.”

"As far as we know, no other natural gas utility has implemented a similar methane detection pilot programme."

The company claimed that methane sensors employed in this project are safe.

SoCalGas requires approval from the California Public Utilities Commission, following which the company plans to deploy the methane sensors from 2018.

The company currently plans to install approximately 2,000 sensors.

The methane sensor testing is a part of Pipeline Safety Enhancement Plan (PSEP), a programme that identifies various pipeline sections throughout SoCalGas' system and slates them to be pressure-tested or replaced.

Image: Methane sensor in Alhambra. Photo: Courtesy of PRNewsFoto / Southern California Gas Company.