Around the Country – How GTS Helps a Client

GTS recently celebrated its 20th Anniversary and in doing so, we reflected on some of the major challenges that GTS has helped operator clients from across the country successfully overcome.  In reflecting on these accomplishments, a few common themes surfaced.  GTS has senior leadership and executive teams comprised of ex-utility professionals, each with over 20 years of experience, which has fostered a culture of consultants that think like an operator and “speak gas.”  This culture has helped GTS to navigate hurdles and recommend effective, value-added solutions for clients.  Building upon that, GTS utilizes its engineering and project management consultants and our ability to quickly onboard and train new consultants to capitalize on the ability to scale up as needed for urgent projects, something our operator clients truly appreciate and value.  Because of our ability to “speak gas”, understand the challenges, and quickly shift qualified resources, GTS has supported dozens of clients across the country by providing practical and cost-effective solutions.  Two successful programs of note which GTS has supported are highlighted below:

Pipeline Hydrostatic Testing

After a particularly public, pipeline safety incident, one of our clients was mandated by their Public Utilities Commission to perform a litany of hydrostatic tests on in-situ pipelines that did not have test records.  The mandate required an unprecedented 100+ miles be hydrostatically tested each year, for over 7 years and counting, and the inaugural year had only 9 months remaining.  GTS’s client was concerned that the 9 months did not allow sufficient time for adequate design, permitting lead times, and construction which was anticipated to last 3-4 weeks per hydrotest.  The initial critical path item was the engineering drawings and GTS began immediately working on a dozen projects simultaneously.  We identified tasks that could be worked in parallel and engaged stakeholders early in the designs, so they could proceed with permit applications, water discharge permits, material ordering, construction preparations, etc.  At the same time, GTS led efforts to develop the testing program procedures to gain regulatory approval and drive the necessary consistency and agreement on scope, and created a bulk material order of pipe, fittings valves and minor materials to ensure that they would be available.  A day after the first drawings were IFC’d a construction crew was ready to cut into the line.  GTS continued to enhance and streamline this process by creating drawing templates and test procedure templates that provided additional consistency and familiarity for all project stakeholders.  GTS established trust with the operator and was allowed to make decisions in accordance with the approved procedures as an asset owner representative which expedited decision-making, while properly looping in the operator at critical times through pre-established roles and responsibilities and implementation of a RACI structure. The first year, the program started with 5 engineers and ended with close to 20.  Over 65 independent drawings packages, including supplementary test reports and procedures, were created and 117 miles of pipeline were tested successfully and documented using traceable, verifiable, and complete methods.  During the period, GTS engineers also found records that removed over 50 miles from the test program saving the operator millions of dollars in avoided cost.

Pipeline Retrofits

In a similar manner, GTS supports successful programs from multiple clients to retrofit pipelines to accommodate ILI tools as a means to meet Integrity Management Direct Assessment regulations.  Drawing upon the lessons learned from the hydrotest program and implementing a similar production style with templates, processes and tools, GTS is able to efficiently and quickly develop drawings while also maintaining a diligent focus on quality.  GTS leverages its pipeline and pigging expertise to identify solutions that save clients time and money.  One example of this is when designing ILI retrofits for two different pipelines with unknown elbow radii, possible miter and wrinkle bends that all would have required field verification, GTS helped to facilitate running a highly flexible geometry tool to rule out the unpiggable features saving the client hundreds of thousands of dollars in field investigation digs.  This approach reduced months of permit lead times from the project timeline allowing the client to meet their aggressive compliance date for both lines by accelerating the complete tool runs.  Finally, GTS helps to streamline execution of the projects by creating its piggability study template to help scope, identify, and compile unpiggable features on a production level for clients so that design or construction components can be more consistently bid.  With the familiarity of scoping the lines, GTS can efficiently jump into the design work and ramp up for production level design of multiple retrofits.

While GTS prides itself of supporting projects of any size or difficulty, we stand poised to support clients with large project and program challenges that not only require a large ramp up, but with staff that is competent, thinks like an operator, and speaks gas!

Written by Colin Silla PE

Please contact Joe Medina ( for additional information.