Gaz de France Distributor's constant willpower is to provide security to people and assets while carrying out proper gas supply in an economically efficient manner. One of the means to achieve this is to provide its network operators with a software to help decision making process while operating networks. Gaz de France distribution networks are large and highly meshed, which renders their behavior difficult to anticipate intuitively. In order to assist the operators to make decisions on maneuvers to be carried out in the field (depending on their consequences on the network, such as the number of customers set out of gas), Gaz de France has been using for the past ten years, a software to assist the piloting of networks. The software is developed by the R&D Division (Direction de la Recherche) of the Group Gaz de France. The new version (V5) of the software (CARPATHE), presented in this paper, covers a much larger spectrum of functionalities than its predecessor, which was limited to one pressure level and design network functionalities. CARPATHE V5 simulates the behavior of multi-pressure networks and includes functionalities for both network design and network operation. The present paper only covers the network operation functionalities of the software. The purpose for network operators of such a software is twofold: anticipating the consequences of maintenance work to be done on the network (gas supply interruption for maintenance, for example), and being able to set the network in security in order to avoid damages to people and assets in case of emergency. The stakes for the software to be operational lie in its user-friendliness and its efficiency to bring answers allowing the operator to make the most appropriate decisions on what to operate in the field while making him aware of all the consequences. The specific functionalities for network operators implemented in the software correspond to actions the network operators face in their function, such as:
Search for specific points to intervene (valves, regulators), equipment that can allow to isolate parts of the network,
Operating some equipments and evaluate the impact on the rest of the network gas supply,
Take into account in network calculations real temperature conditions,
Evaluate the survival time of the network in case of decrease in gas supply and deduce the associated reduction supply plan.
The simulation tool, thru these functionalities, is a decision making software essential for network operators who need to optimize security and economical aspects for every situations faced in their function.
The Company's networks are defined and operated as entities named ‘exploitations’: which start with the transmission delivery pressure reducer to the final individual customers. These ‘exploitations’ include pressure levels ranging from Medium Pressure (MP) at 16bar1 down to Low Pressure (BP) at 21mbar. They are highly meshed and vary in size from several hundreds pipes to several ten-thousands of pipes depending on the size of the city the distribution network covers.