The newly released ENI58PL series incremental rotary encoder from Pepperl+Fuchs offers incredible efficiency for a wide range of applications. IO-Link enables custom configuration, making it possible to commission machinery and equipment even faster. ENI58PL boasts flexible configuration options and a wide range of use cases-from classic industrial applications to special engineering.
5 reasons why organizations are outsourcing pipeline control room services
A pipeline control room is the central nervous system of oil and gas operations - continuously receiving and processing tremendous amounts of sensory data, quickly highlighting important information requiring action and using that information to coordinate and control operations to mitigate risks and optimize performance. With heightened public attention on pipeline assets, growing regulatory oversight over operations, increased market competition amongst operators, and an ever-aging asset base, the ability to effectively and efficiently manage all aspects of pipeline operation has become increasingly difficult. More than ever there is a pressing need to ensure each pipeline is operated safely, reliably and compliant with the latest regulations.
Historically, oil and gas operators have managed pipeline control room operations internally. Yet, recent reports show an increase in outsourcing among organizations with cost as a major driver, but not the only factor. Many companies choose to outsource to augment in-house expertise, access specialty tools and processes, meet performance objectives, maintain compliance standards, manage volatile business cycles and expedite growth. There are value propositions and business cases for each of them.
Houston-based Remote Operations Center (ROC), a leader in oil & gas control room operations, provides outsourced control room services to over 6,000 miles of pipelines, spanning crude, natural gas, saltwater disposal, and refined products. With top talent, rigorous process safety, and robust infrastructure, ROC delivers safe operations, compliance with the latest control room regulations and operational cost savings. There are five solid reasons why companies are outsourcing control room services for immediate and long-term benefits:
1. Reduced Spending
Building a control center is a capital intensive project and ongoing control room operations requires significant annual expenses.
The upfront investments to consider are:
· Modifying an existing space or constructing a new space to meet control room security, reliability and fatigue management requirements
· Purchasing hardware and software applications to support SCADA infrastructure
· Configuring SCADA to incorporate specific pipelines
· Configuring network infrastructure to establish communications
· Developing compliance manuals, documentation and operating procedures
· Completing training and qualifications for control room staff
· Building an off-site disaster recovery center or backup control room
· Complete system testing prior to operation
When the control room is up and running, annual operating expenses kick in:
· Payroll for enough controllers to meet fatigue management requirements, the control room manager, the SCADA/network manager, and compliance manager
· Completing all CRM regulatory requirements (alarm management, workload analysis, system testing, training program)
· Routine SCADA maintenance and troubleshooting
· SCADA annual licenses and upgrades
· Network expenses
· Maintaining a cyber and physical security program
Outsourcing control room operations leverages the facilities, expertise, processes, and procedures for a fraction of the cost of an internal build, leaving savings that can be reinvested in a company's core asset base. It also improves the predictability of expenses with contracts specifying fixed charges and avoiding what are often hidden operating expenses such as SCADA maintenance and upgrades, training requirements, equipment upgrades, and operational downtime associated with less reliable infrastructure.
2. Accelerated Schedule
Outsourcing can be key for operators that are building or have recently purchased a new asset with a short transition period. Pipeline operators preparing to operate new assets have countless hurdles to cross before commissioning, including commercial arrangements, permitting, construction/upgrades, testing, and compliance documentation. Operators often underestimate the time and number of moving pieces that must come together to complete controls infrastructure and hire personnel to operate a control room. Given the criticality of controls for pipeline operation, interdependencies among people, processes, and technology involved, commissioning control room operations often becomes a critical path item in the project schedule.
Outsourcing to an established and reputable control room provider with proven infrastructure and knowledgeable staff gives operators a significant schedule advantage. These providers can integrate control room operations on an accelerated schedule, which reduces integration risk and gets revenue flowing much sooner than building and staffing an internal control room operation.
3. Access to Experts
When it comes to security, energy pipelines are defined as "critical infrastructure" by the National Infrastructure Advisory Council, part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. From a compliance perspective, the pipeline industry is standing on the precipice of large new regulations. In an environment of constantly changing security threats and regulations, companies are vulnerable to the risk of being caught behind the curve. Operators then find themselves spending unplanned dollars and far too many hours and resources trying to understand, catch up to and comply with the new regulations or recover from a security incident.
Because control room operations is their core business, outsourced control room providers are inherently incentivized to remain on the leading edge of compliance and security. They can attract control room experts, network with thought leaders in the space, interact with regulatory agencies across the country and make large investments in security that would be cost prohibitive for individual operators.
4. Access to Established and Tested Processes
Pipeline control room organizations are highly process driven. Failures in process adherence can contribute to catastrophic events, including the release of gas or oil resulting in major safety and environmental consequences. Every pipeline operator wants to reduce the risk of a safety or environmental failure. To properly manage the processes designed to prevent these failures operators must employ effective process controls. Control room operations are also subject to periodic regulatory audits including procedural reviews, documentation reviews, control room design assessments, employee interviews, and emergency drills. To avoid audit penalties, operators must demonstrate compliance with all aspects of control room regulations during the audit.
Outsourced control room providers have a competitive advantage in process management and compliance management over internal control room operators. Outsourced control room providers operate diverse assets for many different operators across many different geographies, which allows them to draw on and implement best practices in process management from a large knowledge base. Additionally, outsourced control room operators interact with regulatory agencies on a more frequent basis than an individual pipeline operator, which gives these providers a quicker feedback loop from regulators allowing for more rapid execution of continuous improvement initiatives.
5. Robust Infrastructure, Reduced Risk and Increased Flexibility
Maintaining a control room is expensive, and mistakes are costly. If a pipeline owner owns and operates a control room, they own 100% of the risk and 100% of the liability. Often, pipeline owners would like to make additional investments to reduce the control room risk, but these investments are either cost prohibitive or lose out to other company priorities.
Outsourced control room providers can help pipeline owners reduce risk and liability. Outsourcing facilities can use scale to invest in higher levels of reliability such as fully redundant power, communications, hardware, software and data storage. Control room service providers can also invest in advanced physical and cyber security protection with all customers enjoying the benefit.
Working with an organization that provides outsourced control room services provides flexibility for the changing needs of a company, whether that involves the need to scale up or down quickly. Accommodations are also available for a rapidly growing company that needs additional capacity or temporary projects.
In conclusion, although outsourcing services in general has always been an option in the energy industry, contracting control room services is a relatively new and growing space. Control room services offer pipeline operators the opportunity to leverage industry experts, robust infrastructure and established processes to reduce operational risk and remain in compliance while saving costs that can be captured or redeployed in other areas of the business. Outsourcing provides safer and more efficient pipeline operations - a win for the oil and gas industry.
Author: Louis Krannich, CEO, Remote Operations Center
More from Instrumentation, Systems & Automation
IntelliView Technologies Inc., a leader in AI-powered computer vision systems for industrial detection and alerting applications, has rolled out the latest software update for its IIOT monitoring platform, the IntelliView Vision System (IVS) 5.0.
In becoming the exclusive sales & service source for SpectraSensors gas analyzing technology in Canada, Endress+Hauser is filling a need for solutions-based approaches tailored to each application measuring contaminant levels in natural gas and gas processing operations, refineries and chemical plants.
Swagelok, a provider of fluid system products, assemblies, and services, has announced the release of a new low-temperature seal option. The new seal, a product expansion for the company's RHPS Series pressure regulators line, is designed to maintain a strong seal in cold climates and applications where significant cooling occurs due to high pressure drop. Comprised of low-temperature-resistant nitrile material, these regulator components are ideal for use even in environments with extensive presence of hydrocarbons, such as at large industrial gas suppliers' facilities where climate control may not be an option.
POSITAL has added a new communications interface for its innovative Dynamic TILTIX series - making it even easier to use these smart and rugged instruments in mobile machinery and heavy duty construction vehicles. Now available with either CANopen or SAE J1939 interfaces, these acceleration-compensated tilt sensors are able to deliver accurate measurement under the harshest operating conditions, including rapid motions, shock and vibration loadings.
Honeywell announced the latest release of its change management software, offering users across the process industries significant performance and time savings benefits. Honeywell Trace R130 delivers daily snapshots of control system configuration, changes and engineering anomalies that help amplify users' situational awareness, enabling optimization of system management.
Siemens sets new standards in process automation and is launching an innovative web-based process control system for all industries at the Hannover Messe. Simatic PCS neo is a brand-new system software, which offers companies in the process industry unique opportunities in the age of digitalization. Main features include global web-based collaboration in engineering and operation and intuitive handling representing all relevant information in a single workbench.
Dynatrol CL-10GH Liquid Level Detector is the latest addition to the reliable Dynatrol line of high, intermediate and low point level detectors for liquids or slurries. It has no moving parts, floats, diaphragms or packing glands to deteriorate. Successful applications in the Petroleum Chemical Industry include liquid hydrocarbons: (1) toluene hexane (2) ethanes (3) glycols (4) butadiene.
AW-Lake Company introduces its new PCU Series of Controllers that connect with Vogtlin or any thermal mass flow meter or controller to provide a local display of flow output. Serving as a single- or multi-channel mass flow controller with up to four channels, the PCU instruments support multiple unit networked operations. A large, high-contrast backlit display offers easy-to-read views of process variables and programmed setpoints for each connected device on one screen.
H. G. Schaevitz LLC, Alliance Sensors Group has released its LV-45 series inductive, contactless linear position sensor using LVIT Technology. The LV-45 linear position sensors are specifically designed for measuring applications requiring rugged devices, whether measuring position of steam turbine valves, mounted in a paper mill head box or calendar roll stand, or outdoors fastened to a building, bridge or structure. The LV-45 series was designed after identifying the wants and needs of engineers in the industrial world, so LV-45 Series linear position sensors can withstand the high vibration and severe shock environment found in steel, aluminum, and paper mills, as well as extremes of temperature and humidity found in most outdoor applications where many other types of linear position sensors cannot survive.
NewTek Sensor Solutions expanded the capabilities of its DC LVDT technology with 4-20mA output capabilities to meet the needs of industrial monitoring and feedback applications. In addition to offering 4-20 mA versions of its free-core and spring-loaded LVDTs, the company customizes 4-20mA position sensors to customer specifications.
Schneider Electric, the leader in the digital transformation of energy management and automation, has entered into a global partnership with Vericlave, a leading cybersecurity technology provider. Under the terms of the agreement, Schneider Electric will provide Vericlave's advanced encryption technology to further secure and protect its customers' critical IT and OT systems from the risk of cyberattack.
Honeywell and Wood will work together through the Honeywell Connected Plant platform to commercialize digital services that help refiners and petrochemical manufacturers make their operations safer, more efficient and more reliable.
INOR Process AB announces the INOR IPAQ C/R330 universal temperature transmitter, a modern, isolated, universal temperature transmitter developed for maximum flexibility, accuracy and reliability. Compatible with RTD and thermocouple sensors, Ω and mV inputs, the IPAQ C/R330's robust design offers high vibration resistance and noise immunity, guaranteeing reliable and accurate operation under the most demanding conditions.
INOR Process AB announces a whole new way to configure and monitor temperature transmitters without supply voltage and cables. Operators can connect to the transmitter with a smartphone or tablet using near-field communication (NFC) or Bluetooth and configure through the new INOR Connect app. Using wireless communication means operators never need to remove the signal converter from the process. Now available are the INOR 330 series temperature transmitters, and the INOR 530 series, fully compatible with HART 7.
United Electric Controls, a producer of safety, alarm and shutdown technology, has announced that it has added carbon monoxide (CO) to the list of gases detected by the latest Vanguard WirelessHART gas detector. Vanguard version 1.2 also includes new mounting flexibility and a variety of other features that enhance installation, configurability and maintainability.
Pfannenberg, a global manufacturer of thermal management and signaling technologies, highlights the availability of rugged PATROL Series Flashing Sounders for fixed gas detection alarming. Designed to alert personnel of an evacuation when there is presence of hazardous gas, these combined signaling products increase safety when used with ammonia (NH3), carbon dioxide (CO2), freon (R22), methane (CH4), or chlorine (CL2) gas monitoring systems in energy generation, wastewater treatment, landfill applications, food and beverage manufacturing, refrigeration, gas production, agricultural chemical use and storage, and other industrial applications.
ABB's new series of DC variable speed drives (VSDs) allow users with a large installed base to get better performance from their existing systems. With the new DCS880 VSDs, customers who are heavily invested in a DC system have the option to continue using DC technology while better aligning with modern AC advancements.
With the launch of its state-of-the-art ST80 Series Thermal Mass Flow Meter featuring breakthrough Adaptive Sensor Technology (AST), the process industry's air/gas flow measurement bar has been reset higher again for rangeability, accuracy, extended service life, reliability and application-matched solutions by Fluid Components International (FCI).
Aalborg Instruments' DPC series precision digital mass flow controllers provide accurate and stable control of mass flow rates, of process gases.
The National Oilwell Varco (NOV) VapR Dissolvable Frac Plug is a fully dissolvable frac plug that provides a dependable method for temporary zonal isolation during frac operations in both vertical and horizontal completions.
The PEM-ZR Economy StabiliZR gauge is now available from Winters. The StabiliZR version of the PEM economy gauges is available in 1.5" (40mm) to 4" (100mm) dial sizes, bottom and back connections from 1/8" to 1/4" NPT and ranges from vacuum to 5,000 psi/kPa. PEM-ZR is a general purpose gauge for plumbing, hydraulic and other applications where pulsation and vibration are present.
Siemens will be placing smart solutions for the industry-specific implementation of Industrie 4.0 at the heart of its Hannover Messe 2019 presentation under the banner "Digital Enterprise - Thinking industry further!" Over an exhibition space of around 4,000 square meters in Hall 9, Siemens will be showcasing these solutions with an array of new additions to its Digital Enterprise offering designed to enable the digital transformation of the discrete and process industries.
FLIR launches industry-first high-definition handheld cooled optical gas imaging camera for oil and gas inspection professionals
FLIR Systems, Inc. has introduced what it calls the industry's first high-definition (HD), handheld optical gas imaging (OGI) camera, the FLIR GF620. Designed for oil and gas industry professionals, the GF620 camera sets a new standard for detecting and visualizing invisible leaks of hydrocarbons, such as methane, and common volatile organic compounds (VOCs). With four times the pixels of previous models, the HD resolution GF620 helps inspectors survey for fugitive hydrocarbon emissions from further, safer distances than possible with lower-resolution OGI cameras.
Digital transformation has tangible benefits for businesses and organizations: Schneider Electric study
Schneider Electric has released the Global Digital Transformation Benefits Report 2019, presenting concrete evidence of the power of digitization across the spectrum of global industry, commerce and the public sector. This evidence takes the form of deep, quantifiable, business benefits derived from a repository of 230 customer projects Schneider Electric completed in the last five years across 41 countries - all employing the company's architecture and platform, EcoStruxure.
The FLIR GF77 Gas Find IR is FLIR Systems, Inc.'s first uncooled thermal camera designed for detecting methane. This handheld camera offers inspection professionals the features they need to find potentially dangerous, invisible methane leaks at natural gas power plants, renewable energy production facilities, industrial plants, and other locations along a natural gas supply chain. The GF77 provides methane gas detection capability at roughly half the price of cooled gas inspection thermal cameras, to empower the oil and gas industry to reduce emissions and ensure a safer work environment.
Bedrock Automation, the maker of the world's most secure open industrial control system (ICS), has established a partnership agreement with Wood, a globally recognized integration provider. Under the agreement, Wood's automation and control group will deliver Bedrock Open Secure Automation (OSA) to its clients in energy and industrial markets. Wood has active membership in The Open Process Automation Forum, which is focused on the development of a standards-based, open, secure, interoperable process control architecture.
The rising interconnectivity among devices in industries is opening up the market for wireless gas sensors. These sensors can be installed in smartphones and are designed to support Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, near-field communication, and other wireless connections. Their portability, low power requirements, and high-performance potential make them ideal for Internet of Things (IoT) applications, especially in critical and hard-to-reach areas in mining and oil & gas. With further improvements in battery life, ruggedness, form factor, and standardization, wireless gas sensors will find a wider application and revenue-generation potential.
The new Turbimax CUS50D from Endress+Hauser is a highly reliable absorption style sensor for measuring turbidity and suspended solids measurement in hostile environments. It has a robust polymer measuring surface ideal for aggressive media including salt water. The unique dual path length design (5 & 10 mm) ensures effective measurements through a large range of applications including very dark liquids and sludges. This special measuring surface minimizes the risk of dirt accumulating and any surface contamination can be eliminated by the sensor's optional air cleaning system.
Engineers tasked with finding a green solution to waste gas emissions from hydrocarbon storage tanks during loading and unloading operations will find the ST100 Series Thermal Flow Meter from Fluid Components International (FCI) supports tank vapour recovery systems, which help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
KROHNE, Inc. announces the availability of the new OPTISWIRL 4200 vortex flowmeter, ideal for advanced energy management systems. Used to measure both conducting and non-conducting liquids, gases and steam, the new OPTISWIRL 4200 vortex flowmeter can be used for internal monitoring of energy flows for saturated and superheated steam or hot water, and heat metering applications. It is also a perfect choice for such applications as steam boiler monitoring, burner consumption measurement, or compressed air network monitoring, including free air delivery (FAD) applications.
AMETEK has broadened its AMEVision communication and display system capabilities to include the 3050 series of moisture analyzers. Originally designed for WDG-V analyzers, the AMEVision system provides real-time moisture measurements and trend data while also detailing a variety of maintenance and troubleshooting information.
KROHNE, Inc. announces that it has begun manufacturing the OPTIMASS 6400 twin bent tube Coriolis mass flowmeter at its newly opened state of the art flow and level instrument manufacturing and calibration facility located in Beverly, MA. The OPTIMASS 6400 is ideal for standard liquid and gas applications in the chemical and petrochemical, oil and gas, pharmaceutical, food and beverage, and energy and power industries. The OPTIMASS 6400 is equipped with a new signal converter that features advanced device and process diagnostics, compliant to NAMUR NE 107.
Electro Static Technology, the manufacturer of AEGIS Shaft Grounding Rings, and specialist in low- to medium-voltage motor protection technology, has appointed Matthew Laufik as Global Sales Manager. In this new role, Mr. Laufik will be responsible for the sales of AEGIS products to motor repair shops, motor manufacturers and end users in a range of processing industries worldwide through the company's international sales organizations and distribution network. He will also manage all sales, marketing, and customer service personnel.
Barben Analytical has introduced OXYvisor, its second-generation process oxygen analyzer, which optically measures oxygen in either the gas or liquid phase.
The Dynatrol CL-10GP Proportional Level Detector is designed specifically to control liquid levels in pilot plants, processing, small vessels, or anywhere it is necessary to obtain proportional level control over a precise range. The EC-103C(G) Control Unit is paired with the Detector and can activate electro-pneumatic transducers, valve positioners, indicators, controllers or other DC current devices.
Allweiler, a CIRCOR International brand, and a worldwide supplier of pumping solutions for chemical engineering applications, announces the IN-1000, ideal for pumps in operationally critical and environmentally sensitive chemical engineering applications. With one master and up to 10 satellite modules per network, the IN-1000 lets operators monitor as many as 11 pumps at once. Built-in features include a two-level warning and alarm system, logging of sensor data, and remote monitoring with a smartphone app. The IN-1000 is available with ATEX certification for use in EX zones.
Festo's new EFSD electric stopper provides exceptional stop-and-release functionality in the movement of product from station to station in assembly and transfer systems. With benefits such as a lower installation cost, faster commissioning and operational energy savings, it is the ideal choice in stop-and-release wherever an electric actuator is preferred to a pneumatic option.
NewTek Sensor Solutions offers an extended series of spring-loaded LVDTs that provide accurate dimensional feedback for a variety of position measurement and quality assurance applications including go/no-go measurements, automotive part quality testing, roller position/product thickness control, TIR measurements and material testing under stress.