The Braess Paradox and Its Impact on Natural-Gas-Network Performance
- Luis Ayala (Pennsylvania State University) | Seth Blumsack (Pennsylvania State University)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Oil and Gas Facilities
- Publication Date
- June 2013
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 52 - 64
- 2013. Society of Petroleum Engineers
- 4.3.4 Scale, 4.6 Natural Gas, 4.2 Pipelines, Flowlines and Risers
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- 174 since 2007
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Steady increases in natural gas transportation volumes have prompted operators to reevaluate the performance of the existing gas-pipeline infrastructure. Conventional wisdom dictates that adding an additional link or a pipe leg in a gas transportation network should enhance its ability to transport gas. Several decades ago, however, Dietrich Braess challenged this traditional understanding for traffic networks. Braess demonstrated that adding extra capacity could actually lead to reduced network efficiency, congestion, and increased travel times for all drivers in the network (the so-called "Braess paradox"). The study of such counterintuitive effects, and the quantification of their impact, becomes a significant priority when a comprehensive optimization of the transportation capacity of operating gas-network infrastructures is undertaken. Corroborating the existence of paradoxical effects in gas networks could lead to a significant shift in how network capacity enhancements are approached, challenging the conventional view that improving network performance is a matter of increasing network capacity. In this study, we examine the occurrence of Braess' Paradox in natural-gas-transportation networks, its impact, and potential consequences. We show that paradoxical effects do exist in natural-gas-transportation networks and derive conditions where it can be expected. We discuss scenarios that can mask the effect and provide analytical developments that may guide the identification of paradoxical effects in larger-scale networks.
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