Securing our network : 200,000 km of natural gas installation

GRDF industrial tool

As a natural gas pipeline company, we are committed to ensuring the safety of people and property and the quality of our supply of natural gas, while respecting the environment. We are therefore constantly monitoring the natural gas network, a unique and effective industrial tool.

What is the natural gas distribution network ?

It includes all of the pipelines that enable us to deliver natural gas to the homes of individuals, to companies and businesses. Today, this network is over 195,000 km in length (equivalent to five times the Earth’s circumference), with our natural gas installation serving 77% of the French population, some 11 million customers.

An industrial tool, the focus of all our attention

Responsible for the construction, operation and development of the natural gas distribution network, we ensure its economic and industrial performance.

Our concern is to supply natural gas to every customer, whatever the circumstances. A priority for which, over the years, we have developed: an industrial strategy built on a sustained level of investment over time, a rigorous monitoring and maintenance program, and partnerships with construction companies founded on sharing the objectives of professionalism and safety.

Training maintenance teams : a major issue

Since it is essential to ensure the future of the network, we work in cooperation with the French Ministry of National Education, organizing special training days for high-school technology teachers and professional educators. These training days focus on all existing good practices related to works safety and provide a means of relaying information to students likely to face these issues on sites in the future.

Certified network performance

The quality of the distribution network that we build is our pledge for safety to the municipalities and inhabitants that we serve.

Highly innovative and designed in accordance with the regulations in force, the location and condition of our natural gas installation are strictly regulated and monitored.

Our challenge : to supply natural gas to our customers and to ensure network safety on a daily basis. Our management system is therefore ISO 9001 (quality) and ISO 14 001 (environment) certified throughout all our natural gas distribution activities in France: solid proof of the quality of our actions and our desire to constantly improve.

A network designed in line with standard practice

Designing a high-quality natural gas network is a priority for us, and to achieve this our industrial policy centers on three key principles :

  • rigorous controls on technical quality and regulatory compliance of all new works received,
  • reciprocal commitments of quality and performance with providers of works,
  • development of innovative technologies.

A perfectly managed natural gas network

Our information and geolocation system allows us to precisely locate all of the networks and connections across the territory. As a natural gas pipeline company, we are investing around €130,000 each day to digitize the mapping of new natural gas installations and improve the reliability of the existing mapping system. 300 GRDF cartographers perform daily updates on the network’s status across the territory.

Dedicated action to raise awareness

Preventing damage to the natural gas network caused by local work is essential. We therefore use every resource available to coordinate our safety efforts with those of all parties involved (contractors, public works companies and network operators). Central to this approach are training programs and common conventions, mainly intended to improve the safety of employees and local residents, as well as property.

In figures…

In 2011, we organized over 1,200 awareness sessions, more than three per day, throughout France. In 2012, some 16,000 employees of public works companies underwent training related to works close to natural gas distribution networks.

Network safety is central to our corporate strategy

We invest €1 million in natural gas network safety every day. A priority expenditure item, aimed at :

  • modernizing the network (50%),
  • providing maintenance and repair services for our customers (25%),
  • monitoring the network and training professionals in their specialized areas (25%).

Enhanced monitoring

Each year, we conduct inspections on some 70,000 km of the natural gas network. This is a major task entrusted to our Network Monitoring Vehicles (NMV), which detect and locate any potential leak from underground pipelines. In addition to the NMV, preventive action is carried out on foot every day by GRDF technicians. Using a portable device connected to a suction tube, the network can be inspected even when the location cannot be accessed by a NMV. Alongside daily network monitoring, systematic controls are conducted after any event that could potentially cause deterioration.

A modern and innovative network

GRDF is integrating more and more technologies for an energy system that is greener, safer and more competitive.