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Russel Treat Published in Pipeline & Gas Journal: New Approach to SCADA

EnerSys Corporation CEO Russel Treat authored an article on a new approach to SCADA for modern pipeline operations that was published in the February 2020 edition of Pipeline & Gas Journal (P&GJ).

In addition to the article being published in the trade journal, the article was given top billing in a recent edition of the P&GJ Digital Newsletter.

The article was written for mid-sized pipeline operators and emerging midstream companies that face a unique challenge related to their implementation of SCADA.

The challenge revolves around the question of how to most effectively implement SCADA to support operations: take the costly, historical approach or take a cost-efficient, modern approach?

The Historical SCADA Approach: Build a Team; Build a System

Historically, the approach to building out SCADA in pipeline operations has been to hire a SCADA manager who oversees the selection and acquisition of a SCADA platform.

Then, the SCADA manager hires technical staff and may engage contract integrators to implement the pipeline SCADA system, including the pipeline HMI. The SCADA manager also coordinates with IT as required for the hardware and network portions of building the SCADA system.

This historical approach may have been the best-available option in the past. However, this “build a team, build a system” approach can become quite costly and inefficient for pipeline operators operating, especially in today’s environment where there is increased demand for the remote management of pipelines and growing pipeline networks.

The Modern SCADA Approach: Pipeline SCADA Toolkit

Many operators have historically relied on SCADA systems that are built for general purpose use (water, wastewater, irrigation, traffic control, and oil & gas pipelines). A SCADA platform requires development for the platform to become a tool useful in a pipelining context. This includes extensive and costly customization to achieve desired functionality.

Operators no longer have to settle for this historical approach to SCADA system set-up. Thanks to advances in technology and new approaches from vendors, operators have a new option to implement off-the-shelf SCADA toolkits that support each specific needs of pipeline operations. These toolkits allow operators to implement their pipeline HMI at a fraction of the cost and time of the historical approach.

A pipeline SCADA toolkit is the result of development effort applied to a SCADA platform. In the case of regulated pipelines, this includes the creation of features and graphics to conform to the regulatory requirements of control room management. Specifically, the implementation of API 1165 (Recommended Practice for Pipeline SCADA Displays).

Off-the-shelf SCADA toolkits include all of the standard features and required points of integration, leaving only configuration to the pipeline operator’s needs. This approach provides a rugged, reliable, easily-configurable toolkit that is simple to maintain. The benefit for operators and midstream companies is the ability to minimize development cost and lead time.

Groups That Benefit from a Modern Approach to SCADA

An off-the-shelf SCADA toolkit benefits multiple groups in pipeline operations.

  • Control Room: Pipeline HMI displays facilitate the ability for the pipeline controller to maintain situational awareness, while having an enhanced ability to identify abnormal operations and to effectively respond.
  • SCADA Team: Allows the SCADA team to quickly respond to the anticipated new version of API 1165 that will call for more contextualized data to be presented to pipeline controllers.
  • Measurement: The daily management of critical measurement tasks is simplified to provide accurate, timely data for operational decisions and managing measurement.
  • Communication: Includes components for both communications monitoring and alarming. Additionally, displays are made available to both the control room and to the support personnel responsible for maintaining effective communications.
  • IT: Pipeline SCADA toolkits are easier for the IT team to maintain, update, and manage. For example, when the revised API 1165 RP is released, the IT team can accept updates from the off-the-shelf vendor rather than taking away resources from ongoing maintenance and management.

Now is the Time to Implement Off-the-Shelf SCADA Toolkits

The forthcoming update to API 1165 will usher in a new, modern era of pipeline SCADA HMI. Small-to-medium operators and emerging midstream companies have the opportunity to get out ahead of the industry by implementing pipeline SCADA toolkits to address each critical need of pipeline operations.

We appreciated the opportunity to present this information to readers of Pipeline & Gas Journal in the February 2020 edition of the trade journal.

Our company is currently working with operators and midstream companies to utilize reliable and nimble pipeline SCADA toolkits to optimize pipeline operations for every operating group. Now, we would appreciate the opportunity to discuss the new approach to SCADA with you and your team.

Contact us today to schedule an educational discussion about the modern approach to pipeline SCADA software. Complete our contact form, email, or call us directly at 281-598-7100.