Genscape maintains acoustic monitoring devices at major natural gas depots and underground storage chambers. By measuring the sound level of a depot's rumbling pumps and applying its proprietary algorithms, it can determine how much natural gas is being stored in the chamber.
By listening to the whine of gas passing through an open exit valve, it can estimate how much natural gas is being released into distribution pipelines. "Tone tells volume," said Steve Delaney, director of data services at Genscape, in an interview Tuesday.
The combination gives Genscape a set of near real time statistics on the movement of natural gas in the market. When Genscape combines that proprietary information with publicly available information, it has a product that is valuable to energy traders and investors in energy companies, Delaney said.
Genscape stores that information in Postgres Plus Advanced Server, a relational database system with Oracle-compatible features from EnterpriseDB. It is a commercial product based on the PostgreSQL open source code system, and makes reports available in various forms for Genscape to sell as its NatGas RT service.
Energy equity and commodities traders plug Genscape information into their models and use the results to make trades or advise investors on the market, Delaney said.
The Lousiville firm spent up to six months evaluating the alternatives and testing applications before implementing Postgres Plus Advanced Server in place of Oracle last April. In one application, a SQL statement calling for natural gas data to be updated through a particular insert method needed to be changed, as did one SQL query to allow it to perform efficiently with PostgreSQL.