CSR Charter Ⅰ Creating Value for Customers
Safety and Security 3: Distribution Stage
- Principle and Outline
- Development of a Wide-Area Gas Pipeline Network
- Safety Measures During Supply
- Emergency Response System and Anti-disaster Measures
- Passing on Advanced Knowledge and Skills in Safety and Disaster Prevention
- Provision of Support to People and Areas Affected by the Kumamoto Earthquake
Principle and Outline
To ensure stable city gas supply, Osaka Gas has renovated the processing facilities and built gas pipeline networks in accordance with meticulously devised plans. In so doing, we have strengthened our foundation to secure a high level of gas supply.
We have established a solid emergency gas supply system that can invoke safety and security measures 24 hours a day, 365 days a year in response to any emergency. The system is designed to increase the reliability of supply facilities. In addition, we have been striving to develop human resources in the security area as a way of enhancing the skills and expertise of security staff and carrying over their skills and expertise to future generations.
Flow of city gas supply
Gas produced at LNG processing terminals is sent to a gas holder via high-pressure or medium-pressure pipes for stockpiling. Gas is then sent to a pressure governor, a device used to adjust gas pressure to a certain level, before it is delivered to customers.
Development of a Wide-Area Gas Pipeline Network
Building a wide-area gas pipeline network
Osaka Gas has a network of pipelines (gas pipes) throughout the entire Kansai region to deliver city gas to its customers. Gas is sent from the terminal at high pressure, which is then gradually reduced to medium and low pressure by gas pressure regulators installed along the pipelines. Also situated along this network of pipelines are gas holders that allow temporary storage and thus more effective control of fluctuations in demand. This system ensures that customers throughout the network whether they are in homes, office buildings, or factories get a safe and stable supply of gas.
These pipelines are constantly being expanded in line with our long-term supply plans. As part of our planned expansion, we completed the pipelines between Mie and Shiga and between Himeji and Okayama in 2014.
Improvement of supply reliability following the opening of the Mie-Shiga Line and the Himeji-Okayama Line
The Mie-Shiga Line, an approximately 60 km long natural gas pipeline connecting the Osaka Gas Taga Governor Station (Taga Town in Shiga Prefecture) and Chubu Electric Power's Yokkaichi Thermal Power Station (Yokkaichi City in Mie Prefecture) has opened. As a result, our company has been able to receive gas from Chubu Electric Power, further improving the reliability of our gas supply.
Meanwhile, Chubu Electric Power has been able to receive natural gas from Osaka Gas when securing gas for power generation becomes urgently necessary. This has helped strengthen Chubu Electric's power backup system, resulting in an increase in people's trust in their power supply.
Osaka Gas will contribute to stable natural gas supply in its service area by providing optimal energy solutions to customers in the region encompassing Himeji and Okayama cities, following the opening in April 2014 of the Himeji-Okayama Line, an approximately 86 km long natural gas pipeline connecting the Masago Governor Station (Himeji City, Hyogo Prefecture) and Okayama City, Okayama Prefecture.
Start of natural gas supply to Aioi Power Station operated by Kansai Electric Power Co.
The Aioi Line, a 3 km long natural gas pipeline connecting Osaka Gas's Aioi Governor Station on the Himeji-Okayama Line with a metering station at the Aioi Power Station, opened in April 2016. Natural gas used as a fuel for power generation is supplied to the first and third reactors of the Aioi Power Station, operated by Kansai Electric Power Co.
Further stability of the city gas supply following the full opening of a reinforcement pipeline between Taga Town and Hikone City
A reinforcement pipeline linking the 6.1 km distance between Taga Town in Shiga Prefecture and Hikone City in the same prefecture fully opened in September 2015. As a result, a medium-pressure gas transportation pipeline became duel between Taga Governor Station in Taga Town and Shiga-Higashi Office in Hikone City. This pipeline was connected to the Hikone-Nagahama reinforcement pipeline linking the Shiga-Higashi Office and Nagahama City in Shiga Prefecture, which had opened in March 2013. The connection strengthened the Osaka Gas Group's redundant gas supply system, resulting in a significant improvement in the stability of gas supply in the Hikone and Nagahama regions.
Safety Measures During Supply
Monitoring and replacing gas pipes
Osaka Gas, which delivers gas to its customers via pipelines, recognizes that it is crucial to keep these pipes safe and properly maintained. We are constantly replacing old metal pipes with pipes made of polyethylene, which is highly durable and earthquake resistant.
Security measures to prevent accidents
We also have the following security measures to prevent the occurrence of accidents.
- Regular inspection of gas pipes along the pipeline networks to ensure there are no gas leaks
- Inspection and repair of facilities including regulators, valves, and gas pipes on bridges
- Meetings with contractors who are doing excavation work for water and sewage pipes, and electrical and phone lines near Osaka Gas pipelines, as well as inspection of the work sites, before, during, and after the work
Integrated system for monitoring and controlling the gas supply
The Central Control Room of the Osaka Gas head office ensures a safe supply of gas 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
We have a gas supply monitoring and control system that keeps a constant watch on gas, from the LNG terminals to every corner of the pipeline network. The system constantly gathers data on gas pressure, flow volume, and irregularities from points around the network, providing integrated control through remote operation that controls production and supply and detects any problems.
Improving response capabilities to sand blasting
On June 20, 2011, a gas supply accident occurred due to sand blasting in Rakusai New Town, Nishikyo-ku, Kyoto City. Acting on the accident, Osaka Gas developed and installed anti-accident system called, “BRIDGE,” which is aimed at supporting response action in the initial stage of supply outage, from the receipt of a report of the incident, to identifying the areas subject to supply suspension.
Osaka Gas will continue to conduct drills against sand blasting and further enhance safety and security measures.
Emergency Response System and Anti-disaster Measures
Taking calls and responding all day, every day
It is particularly important to establish an initial response system in the event of accidents and natural disasters, and act appropriately in response to such events.
Osaka Gas has established a unified security system covering the entire supply area. Under the system, if gas leakage occurs, the Central Control Room at the Head Office will take charge of all relevant duties, including receiving an accident report and dispatching security staff to the accident site. Specifically, the Central Control Room will order the dispatch of the emergency vehicle that can reach the accident site the fastest by taking various factors into consideration, such as availability of vehicles and their locations.
The Central Control Room accepts emergency reports such as on gas leakage around the clock via dedicated telephone lines set up at the Room. After an accident is reported, emergency staff will be sent to the site immediately and work in close collaboration with local police and fire department.
Three Types of Response to Emergency Calls
To ensure that security measures are prompt and appropriate, Osaka Gas has the following three types of emergency response to a call from a customer. We carry out constant training of employees to improve their ability to handle emergencies.
- General response: When there is no danger of an accident occurring, we dispatch a service patrol car to the scene.
- Emergency response: When an accident has occurred or is likely to occur, as a rule we dispatch a team of two or more people to the scene in an emergency vehicle.
- Special response: When a serious accident has occurred that cannot be handled by an emergency response, a special three-phase response is launched to match the type of accident.
Preparing for large earthquakes
Osaka Gas has always had a range of measures for dealing with large earthquakes, such as earthquake-resistant polyethylene pipes (PE), intelligent meters that detect vibrations from the earthquake and shut off the gas supply, as well as an emergency communications network. However, the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake of 1995 prompted us to step up these measures. We have seismometers installed in 258 locations in the Osaka Gas service area, which allow us to quickly determine the seismic intensity and other information.
To prevent secondary damage from earthquakes, the service area is divided into blocks, each of which can have its gas supplies shut off separately. This is possible thanks to a system of automatic gas shutoff devices which installed seismoscope (approx. 3,000 locations in total) in case of a tremor, as well as remote shutoff devices (approx. 3,500 locations in total) that can be activated to stop gas supplies from the Central Control Room of the head office. If the Central Control Room is physically damaged, a sub-senter with a similar function, set up in Kyoto, will take over its task.
In addition, we are also making constant efforts to improve employees' ability to respond to emergencies, such as company-wide earthquake drills and education using e-learning.
In fiscal 2017, a company-wide earthquake drill and a drill in line with the Business Continuity Plan (BCP) were conducted simultaneously to identify issues arising from the execution of both response to the disaster and efforts for ensuring business continuity. About 2,300 employees participated in these drills, held under the scenario of a powerful earthquake striking in the Nankai Trough off central and western Japan.
In the training, President Honjo headed a task force set up at the headquarters to work out various measures in response to the assumed earthquake. Through the task force, the participants shared information, including the extent of the damage caused, while confirming the process of decision-making in the event of a disaster, such as how to establish a response-action system and whether to suspend the gas supply. A practical drill was conducted at each department and division.
In addition, a drill involving the simulation of a gas-supply outage was conducted, using anti-disaster blocks that had been built along coastlines to avoid secondary damage from tsunami waves. The blocks began operation in December 2015. Under the BCP drill, it was confirmed how to allot employees who are to be assigned to important business operations that are required to continue even in the event of a contingency, along with the procedures thereof.
Weather data collection system enabling Osaka Gas to grasp information on accumulated rainfall during typhoons, torrential rain and landslide disasters in an integrated manner
Osaka Gas developed a system to obtain weather information, such as accumulated rainfall during typhoons and torrential rain and landslide disasters, in an integrated manner. The system, dubbed ”the typhoon and torrential rain information system,“ began operation in July 2015.
Previously, Osaka Gas had collected weather information by separately referring to websites operated by such organizations as the Japan Meteorological Agency and the Ministry of Land, Transportation and Tourism. The new system enables the Company to gather weather data in its service area in an integrated manner and more expeditiously.
Operation of “BRIDGE” disaster recovery support system and “OG-DRESS” mobile-based reporting system for support of disaster recovery
Various in-house organizations must work in close cooperation to restore gas supply suspended because of a disaster or accident. This requires that information on conditions at trouble spots be shared immediately.
Osaka Gas developed the “BRIDGE” disaster recovery support system to centrally manage real-time information from the onset of a disaster/accident through recovery, and put this system into operation in April 2012. The system links up map information with customer information, making it possible to ”visualize“ recovery actions by centrally managing on-site progress and reducing the time needed to complete recovery work.
In addition, the ”OG-DRESS“ mobile-based reporting system aimed at supporting disaster recovery has been established, enabling reporting on completion of recovery work via mobile phone. Based on such a system, we will make our response actions in the event of a disaster expeditious.
A training session held to foster human resources who are to become key players in disaster-recovery activities
In November 2016, a training session was held following the one in the previous year to develop human resources who are to become key players in disaster-recovery activities.
Training under the latest session focused on devising a recovery plan in the event of a gas-supply outage, based on what we have experienced through our activities to support the victims of the Kumamoto earthquake.
Passing on Advanced Knowledge and Skills in Safety and Disaster Prevention
Osaka Gas is striving to nurture human resources with a high level of knowledge and skill in the areas of safety and disaster prevention. In fiscal 2008 a new human resources development system was launched by the Pipeline Business Unit's Human Resources Development Center in preparation for the mandatory retirement of veteran engineers. We are engaged in structured and systematic human resources development as well as educational efforts ”to spread know-why“ that teach the meaning and background of work procedures to build a framework (i.e. safety culture) that prevents accidents. To convey the lessons learned from various past failures, we have set up experiential-type training facilities that reproduce the circumstances at the time of these failures.
Moreover, the Human Resources Development Center of the Pipeline Business Unit has sponsored a pipeline work contest among employees with high levels of skills and knowledge in the field. The contest, started in 2015, is designed to enhance the overall safety level of Osaka Gas.
In addition, a variety of training is being offered at the Human Resources Growth Center, which provides education on safety and disaster prevention at LNG terminals, and at the respective Human Resource Development Centers of the Residential Energy Business Unit and the Commercial & Industrial Energy Business Unit, which are responsible for gas pipes and gas appliances on customer premises.
Provision of Support to People and Areas Affected by the Kumamoto Earthquake
Use of experience accumulated by Osaka Gas through the formulation of anti-earthquake measures and the undertaking of disaster-recovery activities
Before dawn on April 16, 2016, a major earthquake hit Kumamoto Prefecture in western Japan, causing a gas-supply outage at 100,884 households in the prefecture.
In response to a request from the Japan Gas Association (JGA) following the incident, Osaka Gas dispatched 857 workers and vehicles operated by them to the affected areas to support the resumption of gas services. In response to another request filed by the JGA, a total of 2,676 people, including those sent from other city gas providers, were engaged in such support activities in Kumamoto. The activities involved the deployment of 40 mobile gas-supply facilities in the affected areas.