Method for route selection of transcontinental natural gas pipelines, F. Thomaidis

The route of transcontinental natural gas pipelines is characterized by complexity, compared to national and cross-border pipelines, since their large magnitude results in the examination of parameters that do not exist or are considered negligible for pipelines of smaller scale and that require management of more information.

didaktoriko-Foti thThe design parameters of transcontinental pipelines include the gas supply potential, the socioeconomic conditions of the transit countries, the compatibility of the countries gas legislation, the environmental impacts, the pipeline construction, operation and transit costs, the prospects of exploiting the economies of scale and the gas demand of the final markets.

The aim of the present dissertation is the development of a route selection method, able to deal with the aforementioned complexity of transcontinental pipelines. The method combines the selections of the decision maker, regarding the importance of the route parameters, with the available information and his ability to evaluate them. From this point of view, the selected route reflects the choices of the decision maker, while the scientific justification of the result is based on the validity of his decisions and the reliability of the used data.

The developed algorithm examines the validity of the conditions for economic viability of the pipeline, defines the alternative routes, selects the weights of criteria that affect the pipeline design and compares the routes, taking into consideration the available data, the experience and knowledge of the decision maker. The consistency and sensitivity of the results is examined.

The method facilitates the preliminary design of transcontinental pipelines, since it constitutes an organized procedure, allowing a complete examination of the route parameters.

The method is applied in the case of a transcontinental pipeline transporting gas from the broader Caspian Region to Western Europe. Different scenarios of criteria weights are used and discussed at the results of the application

The software tool Gas-PRS, which is described, allows quick application of the method and facilitates the decision maker in examining the consequences of different choices.

SUBJECT AREA: Energy Policy

KEYWORDS: Optimum route method, natural gas, transcontinental pipelines, Caspian Region – E.U. energy corridor.