New regulations addressing the integrity management of gas distribution transmission pipelines are widely anticipated.
Based on discussions in several public hearings of the Office of Public Safety (OPS) and discussions with our contacts within the regulation committees, our sense is that forthcoming regulation will pay close attention to, if not entirely focus on, analytical methods for assessing the integrity of pipelines and reducing risk to the public. Users of TUBIS are well positioned to meet the new OPS requirements as TUBIS was created with much of the functionality encouraged by these regulations.
The fact that TUBIS has been an important systems tool utilized by companies for over a decade emphasizes that it is well positioned to help companies satisfy the new integrity management requirements. This is a testament to the thoroughness and maturity of the system. While millions of dollars and considerable intellectual capital were invested in the creation of TUBIS, the last decade of usage has been equally valuable, as TUBIS has evolved into the industry's leading tool for the integrity management of gas distribution networks.
Because TUBIS can analytically show the value of additional collected information, gas companies can choose whether to collect data that would be logical, cost efficient, and contribute to better decision making. Gas companies also have the objective tools to justify their distribution integrity management decisions. As the details of the new regulations become clearer, TUBIS will be updated accordingly.
The TUBIS project was partially funded by the New York Gas Group and the Gas Research Institute (now called the Gas Technology Institute or GTI). A significant impetus for funding the project was to provide the industry with a tool to bridge the emerging gap between regulators and several utilities.
Over the years TUBIS has gone through several rigorous evaluations by state agencies, including the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). The system has not only met their expectation but at least one state agency, New York Public Service Commission (NYPSC), has been a strong advocate of TUBIS. For example, Optima has twice been invited by NYPSC to regulatory conferences, to demonstrate its methodology to the NYPSC staff, the OPS, and regulators from other states.
Though TUBIS looks at problems from the perspective of the gas industry, it has a history of impressing regulators and will remain in the forefront of meeting regulators' integrity management requirements as they emerge.