Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Intelligent software helps Columbia Pipeline Group improve safety and integrity

Steve Rogerson
January 7, 2016
Texas-based Columbia Pipeline Group (CPG) has deployed intelligent pipeline software that helps it make informed decisions around pipeline safety and integrity.
The software was jointly developed by General Electric and Accenture and gives CPG an enterprise-wide, near real-time view of its more than 24,000km of interstate pipelines, including monitoring of pipeline threats, improving risk management and providing situational awareness.
The software is designed to let pipeline operators prioritise where resources are best applied to help reduce the potential for unforeseen events.
“We are pleased to see data integration begin to come together for improved integrity management,” said Shawn Patterson, chief operating officer at Columbia Pipeline Group. “The intelligent pipeline solution provides an integrated, geospatial view of our pipeline assets aligned with critical factors related to pipeline integrity. We look forward to the functionality that future releases will bring to our organisation.”
The software integrates data from multiple sources including geographic information systems (GIS), work management systems, control centres and one-call system, as well as external sources such as NOAA and USGS. It also integrates data such as pipeline attributes, risk scores, inline inspection findings, planned assessments, HCA locations, leak history, one-call tickets, emergency valve location, precipitation and fault lines. A set of filters and layers lets users examine data in different ways to locate areas of interest quickly and evaluate threats or remediation measures.
“The intelligent pipeline solution is the answer to the critical call from our transportation pipeline customers to address increased compliance regulations, safety concerns, maintenance and integrity management of their pipeline networks.” said Brian Palmer, president and CEO at GE Measurement & Control. “The advent of the industrial internet means we are collecting more data than ever before, and GE is uniquely positioned to make those data work for its customers. We’ve taken the first steps in delivering what will be comprehensive software that helps operators make more-informed decisions.”
CPG is strategically located within the Marcellus and Utica shale areas and operates 24,000km of interstate natural gas pipelines. CPG is the first pipeline operator to deploy the intelligent pipeline software, which is comprised of GE’s pipeline management software (industrial internet software powered by the Predix platform) combined with Accenture’s industry knowledge, digital capabilities and experience with business process and systems integration.
“The global pipeline industry spends $40bn a year to expand and maintain its network of assets,” said Peggy Kostial, senior managing director for Accenture’s North America resources operating group. “Given 60 per cent of all US pipelines were installed before 1970, safety is increasingly a driving factor for operators such as CPG to achieve real-time and remote monitoring of their thousands of miles of pipeline. We are excited about applying our industry knowledge, including our understanding of the challenges of pipeline operators, to develop a global standard that will deliver value across the industry.”
The intelligent pipeline software is the first industry software from a strategic global alliance formed by GE and Accenture in 2013 and launched in 2014. Together they are developing technology and analytics applications that help wide-ranging industries take advantage of the massive amounts of data generated through business operations.