The Network division has two key missions:
- To operate the gas pipeline network in Western Switzerland
- To develop the network to meet growing demand from clients
The Operations department is responsible for running the network, which comprises a variety of tasks.
The Control Centre (dispatching) monitors the gas pipeline network and the associated installations, such as delivery and block valve stations, right round the clock.
The control center
Managing gas movements
The dispatching operators ensure that the volumes of gas ordered upstream to meet customer requirements are delivered, via the transportation network, in the expected quantities and on time.
Maintaining the installations that make up the transportation network, i.e. the gas pipelines, delivery stations, block valve stations and customs posts.
Monitoring the route of the gas pipelines and any third-party work nearby. The gas pipelines are checked regularly from a helicopter, motor vehicle, using a drone or on foot. The purpose of these regular checks is to head off any unannounced work near to the installations. Building work carried out near to gas installations requires the approval of the competent body.
Click here to view a video showing how a drone is used to check a gas pipeline route (in French)
Drones can be used to check the integrity of gas pipelines
The development of the network is carried out by the Engineering department, which oversees the design, planning, construction and commissioning of all new installations linked to the gas network. The role of the Network division is similar to that of an engineering firm with specific experience and expertise in the area of high-pressure natural gas transportation.
In order to fulfil its various missions, the Network division consists of a team drawn from a number of different fields: mechanical engineering, electricity, industrial computing, telecommunications and geomatics, mechanics, electrotechnics, specialist mechanical and electrical drawing, software development and dispatching operators.
The Engineering division deals with the following in particular:
- The construction of new gas pipelines
- The construction of delivery stations
- The work necessary for network operation
The division's employees work together closely to carry out the tasks entrusted to them while ensuring the safety of people and property and providing a high level of security of supply for our clients.
Safety is of paramount importance when working with gas. Our safety measures are based on the directives of the Federal Pipelines Inspectorate (IFP) and the Swiss Gas and Water Industry Association (SSIGE), as well as Gaznat’s internal safety regulations.
A damage control exercise is conducted each year. This enables the emergency teams to improve their performance regularly.
Gas pipeline safety
In addition to the exterior insulating cladding, active cathodic protection is used to ensure that steel gas pipelines do not corroded.
Furthermore, an internal check is conducted every ten years to monitor the gas pipelines for damage. Smart pigs are used to record dents or irregularities in thickness.
Smart pig used to monitor the gas pipelines for damage
An odorant is added to help reveal leaks (since gas is an odourless substance), so the presence of gas can be detected well before it reaches dangerous levels. If a smell of gas is detected, the operator of the installation concerned must be contacted immediately.
The presence of gas pipelines is identified by marker posts carrying an emergency telephone number and identification code.
Marker post identifying the route of a gas pipeline