Integrating Leak Quantification into Natural Gas Utility Operations

May 2017

Natural gas utilities can incorporate leak flow rate data into existing pipeline replacement and leak repair prioritization frameworks to more rapidly and efficiently reduce leakage on their system. Leak distributions typically demonstrate a “fat-tail,” where a few, large leaks are responsible for the majority of lost gas volumes. Through ranking and ordering leak flow rate data, utilities can identify a subset of the largest leaks to repair or the leakiest pipelines to replace, and capture more gas per dollar spent on leak repair or pipeline replacement. This benefits ratepayers, who pay for the cost of lost gas, and also carries broader environmental and societal benefits.

Virginia Palacios, Senior Research Analyst, Environmental Defense Fund Simi R. George, Manager of Natural Gas Distribution Regulation, Environmental Defense Fund Joseph C. von Fischer, Associate Professor at Colorado State University Kristina Mohlin, Senior Economist, Environmental Defense Fund

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