National Grid gas pipeline costing tool

Warwick, United Kingdom - Arcadis were commissioned by National Grid to develop a pilot Geographic Information Systems (GIS) toolkit that could be used to provide early stage estimates of gas transmission line construction costs. The tool analysed proposed pipeline routes against geographical features such as roads and railways to develop an indicative cost per route option.

25%

+/- % accuracy of costing against benchmark

50

Number of variables assessed by the tool

The aim of the pilot project was to investigate whether gas transmission pipeline route feasibility costs within +/-25% of actual scheme costs could be calculated using a Geographic Information Systems (GIS). 

The pipeline costing tool was developed using data for the area surrounding the gas pipeline route between Asselby and Aberford in North Yorkshire. A gas transmission pipeline was developed here in 2008 and bench marking data was available against which the results of the pilot could be tested. 

A scoping report was produced to review the list of potential constraints for inclusion in the model and recommend a definitive scope of works upon which the development of the tool could be based.

The pipeline costing tool was designed using Python modelling scripts within GIS. Using this approach, the tool could be run and accessed through standard GIS software by National Grid staff. The tool contained three different elements:

  • Checking – This checked all input data to make sure it was ready for analysis
  • Developments analysis – This tool analysed the commercial and residential property data along the proposed route and prepared it for analysis
  • Pipeline Costing Tool – This was the main tool that calculated the pipeline cost based on the GIS data inputs.



The tool was successfully developed and delivered to National Grid together with a lessons learnt report with recommendations on how the tool could be deployed operationally. The GIS pipeline costing tool pilot project effectively proved the concept of using GIS techniques to calculate a route feasibility cost within +/-25% of actual scheme costs.

The tool also offered the following potential benefits:

  • Improved understanding: Multiple pipeline route scenarios can be easily assessed within a matter of hours by using the pipeline costing tool. This has the potential to help National Grid staff explore the geography of a potential routes in relatively high detail using desk study methods. 
  • Reduced cost: The tool has the potential to reduce the labour costs associated with undertaking pipeline feasibility studies.
  • Digital working: The tool has been developed in partnership with the National Grid GIS team to help facilitate the operational use of the tool as part of business as usual activities and work towards realising cost efficiencies on projects
  • Improved reporting: The pipeline costing tool has the potential to change the way that National Grid undertake pipeline feasibility studies in the future. For example future feasibility study deliverables could be reduced to a GIS database, a number of spreadsheet tables and graphics and a short summary report. Under such an approach, the GIS model would provide a quantitative evidence base to demonstrate why and how decisions were made based on the geography of the route options.

“The Arcadis team worked well with us to deliver this innovative project and develop our potential use of geographic information systems (GIS).”
Paul Lee, Investment Scheme Manager, National Grid 


Outcomes

25%

+/- % accuracy of costing against benchmark

50

Number of variables assessed by the tool

Significant

Savings to the pipeline feasibility process

Questions about this project

Matthew Leaver

Associate Technical Director GIS +44(0) 7725 499 274 Ask me a question
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