TUBIS is a comprehensive distribution network integrity and economic management system designed to assist gas utilities with decisions in maintenance, replacement planning, and resource allocation.

Principle Objectives

The principal objectives of the system are to help gas companies:

  • Increase public safety
  • Reduce risks to property
  • Minimize overall short and long term costs
  • Preserve the integrity of the pipeline system

Questions Answered

The central question that TUBIS addresses is, "Considering all relevant issues and factors, what is the optimal policy for each segment of the pipe network?"

To answer this question and recommend the best course of action, TUBIS considers available information, estimates the condition of the pipe and its environment, predicts its failure probability and deterioration rate and estimates the possibility of gas entering nearby structures in case of a leak. TUBIS also considers public safety, present and future economic criteria and network and corporate planning issues. TUBIS has unparalleled flexibility.

Below are some examples of questions that TUBIS can answer:

  • For each material (e.g. cast iron network) what are the pipe segments that should be replaced?
  • For each budget, what is the optimal set of pipes to be replaced?
  • What is the priority of replacing the recommended pipe segments?
  • What is the optimal way to meet externally or internally mandated minimum replacement footage?
  • What is the effect of changes in important parameters on the recommendations?
  • How should a backlog of replacement recommendations be addressed?
  • What is the effect of more accurate physical and cost information on the recommended policies?

Features

TUBIS has a variety of sophisticated data management tools that make implementation and updating of TUBIS easy. Once implemented, TUBIS is adaptive, utilizing newly collected data to change its knowledge of the pipe network to increase accuracy of predictions over time. Combining operations research, engineering, and statistical models with advanced programming to predict pipe deterioration, TUBIS:

  • Will help you meet the new integrity management regulations for distribution pipelines which will be released in the near future.
  • Provides least-cost maintenance strategy, providing specific pipeline replacement priorities that reduce maintenance expenses and risk
  • Interacts with a gas utility's leak management system and derives its information needs directly from those company records
  • Provides a sound basis for budget planning and resource allocation
  • Has comprehensive risk assessment and management capabilities which have been approved by The National Transport Safety Board and state regulatory.
  • Combines scientific, engineering, and statistical models with expert knowledge to predict pipe deterioration
  • Effectively incorporates the dynamics of multi-period decision making
  • Incorporates management and regulatory considerations in its decision making
  • Uses prediction models that are adaptive, learning and become more accurate over time
  • Has the flexibility to take advantage of "opportunities" associated with public work pavement reconstruction and restoration
  • Provides defensible results
  • Was designed to be used by non-technical personnel

TUBIS Development

TUBIS was created over a nine year period, through a collaborative approach of gas industry participants, regulators and a variety of experts in different fields.

TUBIS uses state-of-the-art methodologies derived from the fields of management science, statistics, artificial intelligence, corrosion and geotechnical engineering, and economics. The system is adaptive in the sense that it can start with a minimal amount of data, and then incorporate newly collected data to change its knowledge of the pipe network, thus learning over time and increasing the accuracy of its predictions.

Dr. Kamal Golabi, Optima's president and TUBIS's lead designer, specializes in operations research. Dr. Golabi used optimization models developed from the field of operations research to merge varied disciplines into a cohesive framework. This operations research approach is not only an integral factor of TUBIS, but is also a differentiator between TUBIS and other products in the industry. TUBIS is the only integrity and risk management system for the gas industry, which uses operations research methodologies.

Other Systems

Many other distribution integrity management systems make recommendations based on rather simplistic approaches. Some examples of elementary or simplistic approaches include attaching weights to a set of factors and ranking projects by the resultant number, or ad-hoc rules such as replacing a pipe that falls in a radius with a certain number of leaks or other variable. These methodologies are neither correct nor defensible; they are systematic procedures that produce non-optimal results and would not pass any rigorous test or scrutiny during the aftermath of a disaster.

A unique and valuable feature of TUBIS is that the replacement recommendations fulfill a set of competing objectives. These are interrelated and sometimes conflicting goals for maintaining the network, and as such cannot be fulfilled by solely focusing on individual project-level decisions. Instead, an optimal solution can only be found using complex operations research based models which other systems lack.

The Ideal Distribution Integrity Management Solution

TUBIS is the ideal tool to help you satisfy the forming integrity management for distribution regulations. TUBIS was created using advanced technology and was formed as a collaborative effort between companies and regulators. TUBIS's superior results, ease of use and minimal data requirements have resulted in a track record of satisfied clients.

If you would like to learn more about TUBIS or to schedule a free presentation, please contact us.