Replacement/Upgrades Remain Priority For Gas Distribution Market

February 2013, Vol. 68 No. 2

While the replacement of mains requires a substantial capital outlay, the continued presence of older mains and services contributes to higher O&M costs associated with more frequent inspections and responding to suspected gas leaks. The pipe vintage, material and overall condition of surrounding facilities dictate the particular strategy that is likely to be most cost-effective.

The occurrence of leaks along a particular section of pipe is initially addressed through repair and subsequent monitoring. However, the number and severity of leaks along pipe segments typically accelerates over time. As a consequence, replacement eventually becomes more cost-effective than continued repair.

While some sections of pipe are addressed immediately to resolve a critical safety or reliability concern, most replacement activities can be accomplished on a planned basis. These decisions reflect several factors: pace of Replacement; geographic Approach to Replacement; outside Contractor Costs; and coordinated planning with municipalities.