Cathodic Protection Monitoring
Epic Energy (Epic) is one of Australia’s leading energy infrastructure companies that owns and operates over 1200 kilometres of gas transmission pipelines, delivering gas to energy retailers, power generators and industry.
Their Moomba to Adelaide Pipeline System (MAPS) was first commissioned in 1969 to bring natural gas from the Moomba basin (near the Queensland border) south to markets in and around Adelaide and Whyalla.
The buried steel pipeline is protected from corrosion primarily by application of an anti-corrosion coating, but an electrically impressed Cathodic Protection (CP) system is vital in inhibiting galvanic corrosion at the locations where there are imperfections or damage to the coating caused by age or damage.
An impressed CP system works by applying a small current to the pipeline via units known as transformer-rectifiers (TRs). These units convert AC electricity into DC and use this electricity to lower the “energy” of the pipeline. This system protects several kilometres of pipeline, provided the AC power remains connected. An ineffective CP system, if left unchecked, can and will allow the pipeline to degrade thereby affecting the integrity of the asset.
Epic has always monitored these remote TRs and other CP assets by periodic field surveys. Visiting these remote locations by 4WD is expensive, and of course there cannot be checking between the regular visits. Continuous automated monitoring would clearly be superior, but while supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) is used extensively in urban areas, the high cost of installing these systems and bringing the information back for analysis from remote areas meant that Epic needed another way to get the monitoring data quickly and cost-effectively.
Epic turned to Pervasive Telemetry, which was able to provide an affordable CP monitoring solution via its AgentCP. This dedicated device measures the various voltages and currents from the TR and on the pipe, then communicates securely over cellular networks with their web-accessible management platform.
Using a web browser or web-capable mobile phone, along with automatically delivered reports and alerts, the Epic team has continuous monitoring and immediate notification of out-of-range situations, security breaches and equipment failures. They can also process historical data for mandatory compliance reporting, and pre-plan replacement of consumables such as anode beds.
All permissioned staff have live and historical telemetry visibility in the field or back at base, using a range of devices from computers to tablets and mobile phones with no need for per-seat licences or proprietary software/hardware.
Pervasive Telemetry’s hardware devices, known as “Agents”, are built using technologies more accessible and flexible than the proprietary technologies used by traditional SCADA providers. Each Agent device comes pre-integrated for rapid installation and communicates securely across cellular and satellite communications networks with Pervasive Telemetry’s centralised cloud platform. Configuration and alert programming can be done remotely via simple web forms, and reports and alerts are sent automatically to field staff and management via email or SMS.
Hardware, communications and data management, viewing and reporting are supplied via subscription to a Managed Service.