Performance Based Earthquake Engineering Assessment Tool for Gas Storage and Transmission Systems

Develop an open-source seismic risk assessment software package called OpenSRA to provide regulators and utilities with a tool to analyze seismic risk to gas infrastructure in California

The Regents of the University of California on behalf of the Berkeley campus

Recipient

Berkeley, CA

Recipient Location

7th

Senate District

14th

Assembly District

beenhere

$4,762,394

Amount Spent

closed

Completed

Project Status

Project Result

The project, completed in March 2023, developed a seismic risk assessment software tool, OpenSRA, for gas transmission lines and storage wells. The tool was demonstrated with gas utilities for both gas transmission and storage sites. For the next steps, UC Berkeley plans to expand the geographic coverage of OpenSRA and its applications to water and electric infrastructure.

OpenSRA has the following features.
1. Free open-source software. OpenSRA can be accessed from a public website supported by PEER - Pacific Earthquake Engineering Research Center via https://peer.berkeley.edu/opensra.
2. Confidential inputs and results. Analyses of scenarios can be performed on a desktop computer – user input and results remain confidential.
3. Site-specific analyses. The user can input information about specific earthquake hazards and specific systems.
4. Risk forecasting using past earthquakes and estimated ground motions. OpenSRA is designed to incorporate information about geologic hazards due to past earthquakes and estimated ground motions, fault displacement, landslides, and liquefaction.
5. Visualize scenario results. A graphical user interface for input and analysis output enables the user to visualize scenario results.

The Issue

Current risk studies performed by gas utilities are derived from risk scoring that is highly subjective and qualitative, and they do not provide the necessary framework for proper incorporation of uncertainties in seismic demand and in fragility of gas infrastructure. For sound risk-informed decision making, the reliability of the risk assessments needs improvement through reducing uncertainties with quantitative data for seismic demand and the fragility of the gas system and its components. A new seismic risk assessment tool is required to reliably prioritize the most impactful seismic retrofits for California's gas infrastructure.

Project Innovation

Earthquakes directly impact the safety and reliability of gas utility storage and distribution systems. System operators need a way to reliably prioritize the most impactful seismic retrofits for gas infrastructure. OpenSRA is a new open-source seismic risk assessment software tool designed and developed under this project for gas utilities and regulators. The tool will enable them to strategically address challenges posed by the risk from earthquake-induced hazards.

Project Goals

Create an open-source seismic risk assessment software (called OpenSRA) for gas infrastructure.
Develop a seismic risk methodology that will provide quantitative estimates of the probabilistic seismic risks.
Develop and implement updated models and methods for the seismic demands and capacities.
Evaluate and validate the OpenSRA software’s capabilities through demonstration at four sites.

Project Benefits

The new seismic risk assessment tool will result in more reliable estimates of risk, thereby enabling regulators and owners to fully assess seismic risk and to direct mitigation efforts to the most vulnerable components. The tool thus supports prioritization of implementing appropriate mitigation efforts. Remediation and risk-based construction can increase safety by reducing vulnerabilities in the highest risk areas. This will lower costs and minimize gas release by preventing failures. The increased safety, cost savings, and environmental benefits will be evaluated at the demonstration sites through application of the tool. Consequently, the safety and integrity of gas storage, piping, and infrastructure systems will be improved. Resources for mitigation, operation, and maintenance programs will be efficiently and effectively disbursed.

Lower Costs

Affordability

The quantitative risk methodology developed by the project will enable early preventative engineering measures to prevent failure, thus lowering mitigation costs. Identification and remediation of high-risk existing infrastructure will reduce the cost of replacing and repairing infrastructure that fails. Providing the software tool freely to the public will enable system operators and their consultants to perform seismic analysis without incurring costs.

Increase Safety

Safety

When areas of high risk are identified, IOUs can prioritize mitigation measures for existing infrastructure and better plan to reduce the risk of failures in future infrastructure. Remediation and risk-based construction can increase safety by reducing the risk in the highest risk areas and the system as a whole.

Greater Reliability

Reliability

The OpenSRA tool enables earlier identification and risk mitigation of vulnerable gas infrastructure components, thus minimizing the interruption of gas delivery and improving reliability. The gas storage and transmission in California is more secure when the system is strengthened proactively against potentially disruptive seismic risks.

Key Project Members

Project Member

Jonathan Bray

Subrecipients

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Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

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University of Nevada, Reno

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The Regents of the University of California, on behalf of the San Diego campus

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Slate Geotechnical Consultants Inc.

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Match Partners

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The Regents of the University of California on behalf of the Berkeley campus

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University of Nevada, Reno

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Slate Geotechnical Consultants Inc.

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