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Valve upgrade part of SoCalGas’ pipeline safety enhancement plan

Published by
World Pipelines,

Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas) crews have begun a US$3.4 million valve replacement and upgrade project at a natural gas valve station in Littlerock, near Palmdale.

The enhancements will include the installation of a new mainline valve with automatic shut-off and remote control capability, and upgrades to an existing mainline valve. Valves are mechanical devices that are opened and closed to control the flow of natural gas through pipelines.

The work at the Littlerock valve station is part of SoCalGas' pipeline safety enhancement plan (PSEP); a multi-billion dollar programme that is testing and updating the region's natural gas pipeline infrastructure, as well as upgrading, replacing or retrofitting hundreds of mainline valves in the system with automatic shut-off technology. Automatic shut-off valves are equipped with a control device that automatically shuts off the flow of natural gas in the event of a large pressure drop. These valves also provide routine pressure control to safeguard against exceeding the pipeline's maximum pressure. More information on these safety components is located here, and a video that explains mainline valves may be found here.

"Upgrading valves on our pipeline system with remote control and auto-shut-off valves provides natural gas control operators with greater flexibility and shorter response times if it's necessary to close a valve to quickly control the flow of gas," said Rick Phillips, Senior Director of SoCalGas' Pipeline Safety Enhancement Plan. "These safety features are an important part of delivering the safe and reliable natural gas service our customers count on."

The work is expected to continue through February. It is not expected to cause natural gas service disruptions to the local communities of Littlerock, Sun Village or Palmdale.

PSEP was designed to meet directives established by the California Public Utilities Commission to enhance public and pipeline safety. In addition to enhancing safety, the program has significant economic benefits and is expected to generate more than US$1.9 billion in economic activity based on direct, indirect and supporting services in Southern California.

SoCalGas dedicates significant resources to improving the safety and integrity of its more than 101 000 miles of natural gas pipelines. In 2016, the company plans to spend approximately US$1.2 billion on various improvements to distribution, transmission and storage systems and for pipeline safety projects.

Though no roads closures will occur during this construction project, people driving by the work site may see excavation, equipment and vehicles. Nearby communities may also hear some work-related noise and notice an occasional natural gas odour.

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