Real Time Demand for a Gas Pipeline Design – Dealing with Modern Challenges – Part 1

Sidney P. Santos
- 2016

Figure 1 – Mobile applications for Gas Pipeline Design
  Go to PART 2

Real Time Demand for a Gas Pipeline Design – Dealing with Modern Challenges – Part 1

By Sidney P. Santos, At Work Rio Solutions Ltda., Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.


Those were the days, decades ago, when a gas pipeline designer would punch some cards and go to another room of his company of even to an outside office to run a gas pipeline configuration and then return at a scheduled time to get the results.

Technology development has improved dramatically and nowadays gas pipeline designer must respond very quickly to high management demands wherever he is and whenever required. In addition, companies’ CEO are more deeply involved in envisioning new business opportunities and want to check for themselves the feasibility of a prospective project and then lead the process from the start to the end promoting interaction between all departments involved in the decision making process of a gas pipeline project.

Innovative Technology

At Work Rio has designed resourceful innovative mobile applications (figure 1) that provides CEOs, managers and designers with just what they need to face the challenges of the ongoing business environment:

GasPipelineDesign: Performs cost estimate, feasibility studies with J-curves, thermohydraulic simulations an produces executive report, technical report, XML files (thermohydraulic model) and export a file to GasPipelineExpansion.

GasPipelineExpansion: Performs cost estimate for a gas pipeline expansion, add compressor stations to an existing project, does capacity ramp-up and availability studies and works with GIS information and elevation profile.

CompressorStationDesign: Performs the calculation for a compressor station and produces a report with the technical information necessary to specify the compressor station units, drivers and aftercoolers.

CompressorPerformance: Performs the detailed and accurate calculation for an existing compressor unit and support operation with a technical and economic tool to decide if and/or when a maintenance intervention will be required to reestablish optimum efficiency for the compressor unit.

These mobile applications have been developed by Sidney P. Santos who retired from Petrobras in 2012, after working for more than 25 years as a Senior Consultant and a gas pipeline design engineer. Using his extensive knowledge of the technology of pipeline design, as well as programming on spreadsheets, Visual Basic and C#, Mr. Santos lately has worked with qualified software developers to perfect his applications.

His most recent projects at Petrobras prior to retiring was the design of the Bolivia-Brazil Gas Pipeline - GASBOL and the expansion project of the gas pipeline network in Brazil. He had a key participation in many prospective projects such as the Venezuela-Brazil Gas Pipeline – GASVEN and the Integration Gas Pipeline – GASIN. He also provided consulting assistance to KazTransGas and Intergas Central Asia for the Kazakhstan section of the Trans Asia Gas Pipeline.

Driven Principle

At Work Rio’s applications rely on these key drivers: “Must be simple, practical and speed!”

Figure 2 – Design Process of a Gas Pipeline

Must be simple: Does not require any training. Companies’ CEO, managers, planners and engineers will start using the application immediately and will take advantage of it.

Must be practical: Supports the design process of a gas pipeline (figure 2) and reduces substantially the working time normally required for a conceptual design of a gas pipeline project. Pipeline modeling is done for each configuration in the case of GasPipelineDesign and GasPipelineExpansion and does not require any additional work saving time and resources.

Must be speedy: Have been designed and optimized to run hundreds to thousands of simulations in a very efficient way to get the results including the reports within seconds depending only on the quality of the internet connection.

Challenging Scenario

Imagine yourself on a meeting, a restaurant or even playing golf, and a fellow CEO ask you about a new gas pipeline or a branch expansion – but he only knows basic information such as capacity and length. Then what? Do you quickly call your commercial, planning or engineering department or you take your smart phone or tablet and run the case? By using GasPipelineDesign you can get results by yourself at that very moment! Then you can provide your fellow CEO with a reliable information that may start a promising business case.

Innovative Mobile Products

Figure 3 – GasPipelineDesign – Executive report with the 5 best configurations
Figure 4 – GasPipelineDesign – Executive report with breakdown costs
Figure 5 – GasPipelineDesign – J-Curve

With At Work Rio’s GasPipelineDesign mobile application, you only need your smart phone, tablet or notebook and a couple of minutes. With a user-friendly interface that allows you access to a solid and well-designed application running on a certified environment, you will get a feasibility study in an executive report (figure 3, 4) containing the five best alternatives for the gas pipeline project with cost break down and a very handy J-curve (figure 5 ) in just a moment!

Figure 6 – GasPipelineDesign – Technical Report

GasPipelineDesign also provides you with a technical report (figure 6) containing a detailed thermohydraulic information such as diameter, flows, temperatures, compressor station quantity, compressor station spacing, power requirement and fuel gas demand that defines the configuration of each of the best five alternatives. It may also export thermohydraulic models to a third party gas pipeline simulator if needed.

At Work Rio’s GasPipelineExpansion mobile application has two functionalities: (i) a supplement to GasPipelineDesign and (ii) an independent application. It works with elevation profile and route with GIS information. It supports capacity expansion studies for an existing gas pipeline and capacity ramp up for new ones. Precisely locates compressor stations along gas pipeline route.

GasPipelineExpansion does technical and economic evaluation and runs detailed thermohydraulic simulations in steady-state gas flow. It uses a responsive, user friendly and flexible interface that runs in a variety of mobile devices and platforms. It evaluates CAPEX and OPEX for the gas pipeline configuration. It helps selecting the best economic and strategic alternative for the capacity expansion. Allocates compressor stations for the project with accurate spacing and calculates expanded capacity power and fuel requirements. Detailed information from conceptual, basic and executive design such as diameters changes, class locations and its impacts on pipe thickness, gas supplies and deliveries, can be incorporated easily in the gas pipeline model to update the project.

Figure 7 – GasPipelineExpansion – Visualization in Google earth

It produces executive and technical reports, export XML files with a detailed thermohydraulic model and export a KML file (figure 7) for Google Earth visualization of the project.


In conclusion, At Work Rio’s innovative technology is promoting an improvement on the design process of a gas pipeline. It is multiplatform (Mac OSX, Windows, Linux, iOS, Android) based on mobile devices (smart phone, tablets and notebooks) and running the applications through the web without requiring any installation on the mobile device and by just using the web browser.

Harvard’s Michael Porter states, “Companies achieve competitive advantage through acts of innovation”(1)

At Work Rio focus in providing its clients with state-of-the-art, innovative and mobile applications that for sure will improve its productivity on gas pipeline conceptual design and feasibility studies with simple, practical, accurate and speed solutions.

1. Michael E. Porter, “The Competitive Advantage of Nations,” Harvard Business Review, March 1990,

  Go to PART 2