Mahanagar Gas Limited (MGL) is one of the leading city gas distribution (CGD) companies in the country. Established in 1995, MGL is a joint venture between GAIL (India) Limited and BG Asia Pacific Holdings Pte Limited (a subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell Plc). The company is currently in the CGD business in Mumbai and its neighbouring areas such as Greater Mumbai, Mira-Bhayander, Navi Mumbai, Thane City, Kalyan, Taloja, Ambernath, Dombivali, Raigarh district, etc. It has a robust network of 4,700 km of pipelines and 199 compressed natural gas (CNG) stations. MGL caters to a wide network of 0.93 million domestic piped natural gas (PNG) connections, 3,199 industrial and commercial units, and 0.53 million vehicles.
Use of technology to sustain asset integrity
In order to ensure asset integrity in its network, MGL has deployed a geographic information system (GIS). Within this system, it implemented and operationalised “Smallworld” in 2003 and upgraded it to the latest version Smallworld 4.3 in September 2013. GIS-based maps of the entire pipeline network and key installations have been prepared. Further, “myWorld” – a web and mobile GIS application – was implemented at MGL in May 2015. The application facilitates the viewing of data on the web by all its users and allows editing by super-users. The system is used regularly within the company and has around 325 users at present.
The myWorld application has benefited the company by ensuring minimum time lag between data porting and data published on the web and mobile GIS; and text box search including Google search, with an online and offline mode available on site.
Overall, the key functionalities of GIS in MGL are asset identification and display, tracing gas leaks, locating the nearest gas station, and undertaking valve isolation analysis. Hence, using GIS, any damage or leakage in the MGL network can be viewed and identified easily.
MGL focuses extensively on asset maintenance to ensure the seamless functioning of its systems. With regard to CNG assets, the maintenance of compressors is undertaken based on running hours, while most of the other assets are maintained on an annual basis. Maintenance includes yearly calibration of instruments, dispensers stamping (weight and measurement), and earth pit testing. Meanwhile, dispenser maintenance is undertaken on a regular basis.
For PNG assets, while instrument calibration is undertaken annually, steel valve chamber and service regulator maintenance are undertaken twice a year. Besides, flow meter calibration is done once every five years.
MGL’s entire asset management is done using enterprise resource planning (ERP) ECC6, where everything is done online without any manual intervention. Some activities undertaken through the SAP-PM module are online preventive maintenance, review of compliance status of preventive maintenance, online complaint management and resolution, etc.
SCADA for monitoring assets
The company monitors its entire gamut of assets including compressors, sectionalising valves, district regulating stations, metering and regulating stations, etc., through a supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) system. The linkage between a compressor station and the SCADA control room is either through a VSAT, radio frequency or leased line. Given the growing manpower issues, monitoring stations remotely through SCADA is useful. Moreover, the SCADA system also ensures better control on operations.
Improving emergency response strategy
MGL has divided its area of operations into two geographical areas (GA) – GA 1 of around 500 square km and GA 2 of about 1,000 square km. As a part of its emergency response strategy, the company has 26 fully equipped emergency vans with an average response time of 30 minutes.
Further, the company is making extensive use of technology for reducing third-party damages including the introduction of MGL SAHAYOGI – a Dial before Dig initiative whereby the public can inform the company about any digging activity near MGL pipelines; setting up of an emergency control room; and the provision of regular and updated information through MGL’s website and mobile application.
MGL has also implemented a vehicle tracking system (VTS) to monitor its fleet of CNG transport vehicles (light and heavy commercial vehicles) and patrolman bikes. Further, the company is replacing VTS with an in-vehicle monitoring system in CNG transport vehicles to enhance efficiency.
Going forward, MGL plans to adopt global best practices to bridge the existing gaps in its network and asset management. It has plans to buy two optical gas imaging cameras for leak detection, use copper embedded polyethylene pipes; and use optical fibre along the network for accurate leakage detection. MGL’s strategies and methods of network and asset management can go a long way in setting the benchmark for other CGD companies in the country.
Based on a presentation by Srinivasan Murali, Senior VP (O&M), and Pavneet Batra, GM (O&M), MGL, at a recent India Infrastructure conference