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Ravanusa: latest updates from Italgas

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This page contains the latest updates from Italgas regarding the events in Ravanusa. Update page. Turin, 31 December 2021 – 1:30 p.m. Ravanusa, Italgas Reti: maximum collaboration to reconstruct the exact dynamics of events Italgas Reti informs that within the investigations aimed at establishing the causes of the tragic event occurred last December 11 in Ravanusa (Agrigento), some of its employees have received notices of investigation served by the Court of Agrigento. The notices were necessary in order to be able to carry out non-repeatable technical investigations, which will take place over the next few days to reconstruct the dynamics of the events. The company, in taking note of these measures, confirms the maximum collaboration during the upcoming activities to support the investigators, as it has done from the beginning of the event. Turin, 17 December 2021 – 10:00 a.m. Programmed Search for Leaks Our Leak Detection and Repair (LDAR) activity consists in a survey via car and/or by foot of the network.

Since 2019, Italgas Reti has been using the Picarro Surveyor, a vehicle based on the most advanced technologies for methane detection, based on laser absorption spectroscopy. The Cavity Ring-Down Spectroscopy (CRDS) is based on a sophisticated technology that, compared to its traditional counterparts, offers important advantages with regards to speed of survey and magnitude of areas that can be scanned. These advantages are made possible thanks to modern vehicular systems paired with advanced software which, together, allow us to detect methane up to three scales of magnitude more than traditional techniques used in the sector. The main characteristics of this system are as follows:
  • The sensitivity of the measurements is in the order of parts per billion (ppb), which is three scales of magnitude more than systems used by other gas distributors.
  • It is also capable of identifying a gas leak at a dozen meters distance to the pathway undertaken by the survey vehicle. As shown on the graph below, this is thanks to dedicated onboard sensors (anemometer, inertial GPS) and sophisticated software

Picarro LDAR System 

Traditional LDAR system

For more information about Picarro, watch the video Legal requirements In the Regulatory Authority's Resolution n. 569/19/R/gas, article 12.2 lays out the following requirements:
  • 100% frequency of inspection for medium and high-pressure pipelines every 3 years
  • 100% frequency of inspection for low-pressure networks every 4 years
The Italian Gas Committee’s (CIG) Guideline nr. 16 recommends “the execution of programmed and localised LDAR inspections”, and in paragraph 7.2.5 indicated that “the strength of the signals for whom one must proceed to identify the source of the leak must be larger or equal to 20 ppm”. The CIG’s Guideline nr. 16, in paragraph 7.2.5 “the localisation of leaks needs to be done as quickly as possible, and in any case within 30 days of the first detection”. The CIG’s Guideline nr. 7, in paragraph nr. 6, lays out the timeline for repairing leaks based on their classification as follows:
Class Timeframe for intervention
A1 24 hours
A2 7 days
B 30 days
C 180 days
With consideration for the abovementioned obligations, Italgas, with the aim of guaranteeing the security of its network has chosen to:
  • Inspect 100% of its network every year
  • Localise, classify and repair all leaks that are also under the 20 ppm limit
  • Reduce timeframes for localisation and repair of leaks
Ravanusa The Municipality of Ravanusa counts 52,5 Km of network, which have been entirely surveyed in 2020 and also in 2021. In particular, in 2021, 3 leaks were detected, all with concentrations below 20 ppm and outside of the area of the event in Via Trilussa, and were rapidly repaired. Turin, 16 December 2021 – 13:36 p.m. An Italgas Reti’s spokesperson informs that, following the evacuation of residents from the sequestered area in Ravanusa, in order to ensure the highest level of safety, the company has decided to temporarily shut down the sections of the distribution network in the sequestered area. Therefore, to safeguard the community, Company technicians will activate specific worksites in the following areas:
  • via Savonarola, corner of via Tommaso D'Aquino
  • Trilussa corner of via Savonarola
  • via Della Pace corner of via Delle Scuole
  • via Trilussa corner of via Cicervacchio
  • via Galilei courtyard no. 202
  • via Galilei courtyard 204
  • via Galilei corner of via Della Pace
The works will be completed by tomorrow morning. Turin, 15 December 2021 – 12:30 p.m. With reference to the municipal construction site on Via San Francesco, Ravanusa, images of which were filmed by some newscasts, websites and newspapers, in order to avoid the spread of incorrect information, Italgas Reti specifies that this is work planned by the Municipality of Ravanusa and not therefore by Italgas Reti. For this construction site, the Company promptly provided the maps showing the position of its grids. In the area where work has been halted for some time, there is a short section of the gas mains (shown in the images), consisting of a steel grid. This is no longer in operation and was replaced in December 2013 by a new polyethylene pipe laid parallel to it. The Company is inspecting the site on a weekly basis to ensure that the work carried out by the companies appointed by the Municipality does not cause damage to the operating grid. During the latest inspection, carried out on 7th December last, the grids were covered by the layer of hardcore required. The fact that they are currently uncovered is probably due to the recent copious precipitation. In any case, Italgas Reti is liaising with the Municipal Administration to ensure that, as the site manager, it promptly restores the required layer of hardcore over the grid. Milan, 14 December 2021 – 8:00 p.m. With regard to the news released today regarding gas leaks reported in the town of Ravanusa, Italgas Reti specifies that it received three reports regarding Via Calabria, Via San Francesco and Via Galileo Galilei. Checks were carried out and no leaks were detected in two cases. In the third, the engineers replaced a short section of small diameter piping along the edge of the roadway. The reports were all verified by extending the checks on the network to all the neighbouring streets. Italgas Reti specifies that it has deployed a stable emergency response unit in the town of Ravanusa to ensure an even more timely response to any further reports. Furthermore, in agreement with the Municipal Administration, Italgas Reti is currently monitoring the entire city network using Picarro Surveyor technology, the most advanced leak detection system. This monitoring activity, which began this afternoon, is expected to take place mainly at night and will continue for the next few days. It is additional to the checks already carried out in 2020 and 2021, using the same technology, on the entire Ravanusa network. Italgas Reti reiterates that during the week prior to the event on Via Trilussa:
  • there were no Company work sites in the area, nor had any work been carried out;
  • no reports of any kind were received by the Emergency Services;
  • the only activities carried out by the Company involved the regular maintenance of the road valves, located in areas distant from Via Trilussa, and eight technical inspections for the replacement or activation of meters;
  • it is not aware of any other activities carried out by the operators of other underground services.
Technical characteristics of the network in the event area:
  • on Via Trilussa, the cathodically protected coated steel pipe, measuring 100 mm in diameter, was laid in 1988 (within its useful life as per ARERA requirements);
  • the secondary section along Via Galilei is made of polyethylene with an external diameter of 180 mm, laid in 2014
The Company is working closely with the authorities and deploying all the technologies and resources available to support the area hit by the tragic event. Milan, 13 December – 6.40 p.m. With regard to the event that occurred in Ravanusa, the Company reiterates its deepest condolences to the families of the victims and its support for the entire community affected by this tragedy. With regard to the news reported by several press agencies, in order to provide all the information needed for an accurate reconstruction of the events, and avoid harmful and distorted speculations, Italgas would like to point out that the Ravanusa network did not undergo any investigation or survey during the period of judicial administration imposed in 2014 by Silvana Saguto, the then Presiding Judge of the Preventive Measures Section of the Court of Palermo, who was later expelled from the Judiciary "for illegal business in the management of confiscated assets". The judicial administration was revoked in July 2015. Italgas Reti confirms its commitment to work with the Judiciary and the relevant Authorities to accurately reconstruct the dynamics of the event. Milan, 13 December – 6.15 p.m. With regard to the investigations carried out by the judicial administrators in 2014 on the gas distribution networks managed by Italgas Reti, the company reports that all the situations reported across the country were analysed with the support of independent external bodies - universities and national research centres - and were remedied where necessary. Milan, 13 December – 5.20 p.m. With regard to the news circulated today about alleged maintenance work carried out by Italgas on the Ravanusa network in the 5 days preceding the event, Italgas Reti states that - based on the records held in the company’s systems - there is no evidence of work carried out on the road network, but only routine activities carried out on domestic meters and on some road valves that are required on a regular basis. These activities took place in the town of Ravanusa, on streets distant from the place of the event. The activities carried out are scheduled maintenance operations required to check the manoeuvrability of the network valves and do not involve any work on the pipes. They consist of the following operations:
  • Inspection and cleaning of the well;
  • Greasing of the valve;
  • Checking the manoeuvrability of the valve.
Milan, 12 December – 7.20 p.m. With regard to the event in Ravanusa, Italgas expresses its sorrow and offers its condolences to the community affected by this dramatic event and in particular to the people who lost their loved ones. The Company has offered to work with and support the Municipality of Ravanusa and the Civil Protection force to provide the necessary assistance to citizens, as well as to cooperate fully with the authorities to the extent of its responsibilities. The following has emerged from an initial assessment of the event. No reports of any kind have been received in the past week by the Emergency Response Service complaining of gas leaks. Following the event, the first report was made by telephone by the Fire Brigade at 21:02 to the Italgas Reti Integrated Supervision Centre. The Company's technical staff arrived on site at 21:20. The initial network sectioning work intended to make the grid safe began at midnight after the Fire Brigade had given the respective authorisation. At 02:05 on 12/12, the Italgas Reti technicians completed the work required to isolate the section of grid that crosses the area affected by the event. The piping is made of steel with a diameter of 100 mm and is a low pressure grid. There were no Italgas Reti work sites on the grid section concerned. The Ravanusa distribution network was fully inspected in both 2020 and 2021.