Infrastructure reliability

The Dispatching Centre

The Dispatching Centre provides to the monitoring and remote controlling of the transport network operations, receiving data from around 3,800 plants located along the transport network, with more than 1,600 of them controlled remotely.
Through the use of a specific software application, the data collected, also on the basis of historical consumption and weather forecasts, makes it possible to formulate short-term forecasts for the gas demand and to simulate and optimise the gas flows in the network, guaranteeing the best arrangement for the compression stations to thereby reduce their consumption and containing in this way the emission levels.
The network operations and the physical balancing of the system are constantly guaranteed by an operations room staffed 24/7, which, based on the programming defined by customers and in coordination with Italian and foreign infrastructure operators connected to the transportation network, ensures the correct movement of the gas from the injection points to the withdrawal points.
In addition to that, the dispatching Centre remotely controls more than 9 storage plants, planning and carrying out the operations for the surface treatment plants, shaft and compression area, guaranteeing a secure execution in ordinary, irregular or emergency operating conditions.

The infrastructure reliability is central to the design and management of the gas network. During the design phase, the routing of the gas pipelines is chosen from various alternatives based on considerations involving the reliability of transportation, technical and economic feasibility and the environmental impact: specifically, it is necessary to ascertain that the routing shall not interfere with the existing ecosystems’ balance, avoiding passing through areas of significant natural, cultural, or archaeological interest or at least keeping it to a minimum and through geologically unstable or man-made areas.

During the construction phase, in accordance with the technical feasibility, advanced excavation and installation procedures and technologies which interfere as little as possible with the surrounding environment are used: reduction of the width of the work zone, minimisation of the infrastructures and construction site vehicles, trenchless techniques (tunnels and micro tunnels) as an alternative to traditional excavation methods.

When the installation is complete a thorough environmental restoration is carried out to return the area to its original morphological and vegetation conditions keeping the pre-existing natural balances. During the operations, the network infrastructures are monitored by the dispatching centre, using simulation and optimisation programmes that guarantee the optimum arrangement for an efficient and secure transport service, with the goal of reducing fuel consumption for the gas thrust and therefore containing emission levels.

The reliability of the natural gas pipelines is guaranteed in various ways, through their regular inspection carried out on foot, with vehicles and helicopters to detect potentially dangerous situations caused, for example, by the work of third parties near the pipelines or by potential instability that has occurred along the track. Geological inspections are also conducted and any landslide in specific areas of the pipeline layout is kept under control with the help of the most suitable and sophisticated equipment. Periodically, a smart device equipped with sensors runs inside the network; this so-called “pig” makes it possible to detect the presence of any faults or irregularities with the material and even the slightest movement of the pipeline.

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Monitoring and inspecting the network





network inspected using smart pigs (km)




network inspected by helicopter (km)




network subject to geological inspection (km)




In addition to the drills required by the Seveso Directive, in 2018, at the Panigaglia regasification terminals, Snam conducted monthly safety drills simulating accidental leaks of LNG. A joint Security and Safety exercise was also carried out with the Port Authority, the local fire department, the national police, and the emergency medical services.

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