GAIL to use drones for a purpose of secured gas pipelines

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GAIL India Ltd, the country’s biggest gas transporter, is planning to use drones on a pilot basis on its main trunk pipeline as it uses technology to secure its vast network, its director (pipelines) Ashutosh Karnatak said.

This decision has been made on the ground of the June 2014 accident at its pipeline in Andhra Pradesh that killed at least 18 people, GAIL has taken several initiatives to raise safety standards including replacing old pipelines and using advanced technology.

Mr. Ashutosh said, “We have hired a drone on a pilot basis for aerial surveillance of the HBJ pipeline in the Chambal Ravines in Madhya Pradesh. As per the performance of the drone, GAIL may decide to buy or hire more drones to monitor its 15,000-km pipeline network, he added.

These drones will be used to patrol the pipeline to detect physical abnormal activity like encroachment or intrusion on the pipeline.

For using drones, GAILBSE had to secure permissions from multiple agencies. Previously, the government had permitted Indian Railways and the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) for similar purposes.

As line patrolling is extremely difficult for pipeline sections passing through forests, rivers, environmentally sensitive areas, and other inaccessible areas, GAIL would use drones for aerial surveillance of 200 kilometers for the Hazira-Vijaipur-Jagdishpur/Dahej-Vijaipur pipelines.

The company has also started using satellite surveillance as well as PIDS or a pipeline intrusion detection system to detect any breaches.

Previously, GAIL did a pilot project on satellite monitoring on its 610 km Dahej-Vijaipur pipeline.

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