Because preventing major accidents is one of the most important aspects of our Safety policy, we are currently developing a smart tool that provides safety diagnostics and remote decision support, all in real time. TADI, as the tool is known, will help us to protect people and property without ever exposing operators to the risks engendered by the presence of gas.
Digital Technologies in Support of Our Primary Value, Safety
Given the numerous risks that stem from the very nature of the energy industry, safety ranks among our highest values, above all because we feel it has vital implications but also because safety is the key to perpetuating the growth of our activities. Improving our capacity to predict major accidents before they occur is therefore an absolute priority.
To this end, we are turning to digital prevention. Developed to optimize the way we manage the risks associated with any gas leak at one of our industrial facilities, TADI (Transverse Anomaly Detection Infrastructure) constitutes an innovative approach, because it combines:
- Early fault detection (e.g., equipment failure or gas leak) thanks to new-generation sensors able to rapidly detect the presence of gas, identify it, quantify its concentration, pinpoint its origin and indicate the gas leak flow rate, with real-time 3D visualization of the hazard area in the event of the formation of the gas cloud, in the most critical situations;
- A system allowing real-time acquisition/processing/analytics of mass data so that raw monitoring data can be promptly transformed into pertinent information about the anomaly detected;
- Data transfer to control room operators in the form of a diagnostic assessment and recommendations optimized by Artificial Intelligence as a decision-support tool.
An HSE Test Infrastructure Unmatched in the World
From 2018, the TADI project has had its own base of operations for testing and qualifying innovative technologies for gas leak detection and quantification. The site is part of the Lacq Pilot Platform (PPL) at the PERL (Platform for Experimental Research in Lacq). Its equipment (pipes, valves, tanks, columns, wellheads, flares, etc.) – all “recycled” from the dismantling of our former gas plant – make the TADI facility a realistic and modular industrial “theater” in which we can reproduce a wide variety of accident scenarios derived from field experience in controlled conditions.
The TADI was conceived jointly with teams from the PERL as part of the “Major Accident Prevention” R&D project. The resulting permanent R&D infrastructure is the only one of its kind in the world, both by virtue of its location in an industrial environment subject to EU SEVESO 3 regulations on major accident hazards, and because it is currently the only facility able to reproduce such a wide range of gas leak flow rates, from 0.5 g/s to 300 g/s.
This facility will enable us to streamline our qualification program for new sensor technologies: until recently, qualification tests took place at temporary installations, but today two test programs have already been completed at the TADI:
- One in June 2018 to test low-cost acoustic technologies for the safety monitoring of installations;
- The other in October 2018 to evaluate several optical and acoustic technologies for remote gas detection-localization-quantification using various deployment systems (ground-based, airborne, robot-mounted, drone, etc.) for emergency situations and safety surveillance.
Extracting Information in A "Virtual Tadi"
These and future test programs will generate huge amounts of data, which will be transferred, stored and classified in a cloud along with the contextual data specific to each test. And then what? Big Data and Artificial Intelligence techniques will be applied to turn this mass of raw data into meaningful information to be forwarded in real time, in the appropriate format and to the right target (e.g., operator, crisis management team, maintenance department) by means of TADI “Safety Apps.” These tools are as user-friendly as smartphone apps and generate diagnostics and recommended actions.
From 2019, the development of these applications will be supported by an “Operations Center of the Future” located a few hundred meters from the test infrastructure, in the PERL buildings. An operator there will automatically receive alerts and diagnostics in the form of visual messages displayed on a large screen. By navigating through this “Virtual TADI,” the digital “twin” of the testing infrastructure itself, the operator will be able to access all the contextual data needed to understand what is happening on site, confirm the diagnostic result and deploy an action plan suited to the detected fault – all in just a few clicks from his/her remote location.
The following phase scheduled for 2021 will entail the delivery of a demonstrator unit validated on several gas leak scenarios (both single and multiple leaks) run at the TADI.
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