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Alarm Rationalization

Solutions for the Common Issues Facing Pipeline Controllers

We understand that pipeline controllers play a critical role in pipeline operations. Yet, controllers are often overlooked when solutions are crafted or new technology is implemented.

Not with EnerSys. We believe it is vital to gather input from all stakeholders in pipeline operations before we implement a software solution to support operations. By understanding the unique issues and challenges for each role, we help operators achieve excellence throughout operations.

Solutions for 5 Common Issues Facing Controllers

From our conversations with pipeline controllers, we have identified five common issues that affect a controller’s ability to perform critical tasks.

1. Logging. The process of keeping accurate and complete logs can be burdensome if your operation still uses a pen and paper process. The process can also be burdensome if you use a digital approach in your control room, but the software is not easy to use.

– Regardless of your situation, we understand the challenges of trying to log notes during normal operating conditions and log notes when an incident occurs. That’s why we built capabilities into our POEMS CRM Suite to make it easy for pipeline controllers to create logs and for your control room manager to easily access the logs.

2. Alarm Floods. As technology has improved to be able to capture a massive amount of data from the field, you may be presented with an excessive number of alarm notifications. It can be difficult to know how to react to each alarm and properly evaluate the risk associated with each alarm.

– Within our CRM Suite, we offer an alarm management tool called ALMgr to reduce alarm frequency and floods, plus create alarm response sheets to guide a controller’s response. This software tool enables you to achieve situational awareness and take the appropriate action in response to each alarm.

3. CRMP Access. The Control Room Management Plan (CRMP) should be easily accessible in every control room. However, we have heard from controllers about their challenges finding pertinent information to help with response time — whether the CRMP is printed out in the control room or available digitally (and difficult to navigate).

– When we implement a software solution for pipeline operators, one of our objectives is to help update the CRMP. After we gather information from each stakeholder, we update the CRMP and use the software to link activity to the CRMP. This way, controllers can easily match up their activity to the plan to optimize response time.

4. Shift Handover. PHMSA has strict requirements for shift handover (SHO), as outlined in the CRM Rule. However, because not every pipeline operation is the same size or has the same number of controllers in the control room, each operation will need to prove on an individual basis how they achieved compliance. This means controllers play a critical role by following protocol to ensure compliance.

– Within our CRM Suite software is the CRMgr tool that helps achieve compliance through a structured shift handover process and proper recordkeeping. The key elements of the software tool are (a) to create a consistent SHO process for controllers to follow and (b) support control room managers to better manage SHO and generate reports that demonstrate compliance.

5. Compliance Support. Proper shift handover is just one area where controllers support compliance. You are also responsible for supporting point-to-point verification between the field and the control room.

– Our PointMgr software tool helps controllers communicate with field technicians, create proper documentation, and generate compliance logs that can be easily accessed to verify compliance. One of the features of the tool is capturing point-to-point verification across multiple controller shifts or even when multiple controllers are involved. This helps keep all records in one place, eliminating the common “lost record” problem.

Your Turn to Express Pipeline Controller Concerns

Our goal is to help resolve issues for pipeline operators — including controllers — through the features and capabilities of our Control Room Management (CRM) Suite.

As part of our commitment to continual improvement, we want to hear directly from controllers about the five issues we identified or additional issues you may experience in the control room so that we can grow the capabilities of our software.

We have created a simple, anonymous form to let us know what challenges you are facing in the control room. Please complete the form to help us optimize our software support for the control room.

Additionally, if you would like to speak directly with our team to discuss your challenges in the control room or to find out how we can help you get a software demo scheduled with your control room manager, please contact us today. You can complete our contact form, email our team at sales@enersyscorp.com, or call us directly at 281-598-7100.

Russel Treat

Russel Treat is an industry leader, software entrepreneur, podcaster, and trusted subject matter expert specializing in oil and gas pipeline operations, custody transfer measurement, leak detection, and automation. Russel’s extensive knowledge of pipeline and control room operations gained over 30 years of projects led to the creation of a complete software suite known as POEMS ™ (Pipeline Operations Excellence Management System) delivered through EnerSys Corporation.

As CEO of EnerSys, Russel is committed to delivering the highest value to pipeline operators by addressing their greatest needs and concerns, especially operational efficiency, safety and government regulation.