Efficient, cost-effective solutions for dependable oil and gas transmission

If I had to give three words to describe our Stratus experience, it would be reliability, configurability and sustainability.

Steve Adams
Lead Automation Electrical Engineer,
Columbia Pipeline Group

The global oil and gas industry is currently in a cycle of constrained economics driven by price pressure and yet it faces increased regulation. The challenge is driving efficiencies to control costs in the face of this increasing oversight, in a sustainable way. Automation systems are a key area where investment can generate rapid returns through a variety of optimizations. However, whether you’re a gathering company, a pipeline transmission company or a local gas company – when your operational systems fail, you are exposed to safety threats, compliance violations, inaccurate balancing and a host of other issues. These disruptions can have major economic, safety and societal impacts when something goes wrong.

Oil and gas industry leaders are facing pressures from all sides. Regulators have responded with tougher legislation, stricter audits and larger fines for non-compliance. Community leaders are concerned about safety and increasingly concerned about outdated infrastructure leading to near or fatal accidents. There are issues with matching supply and demand in real-time and concerns about the insufficient number of skilled people where they are needed. Operations staff feel they’re being overruled by IT and IT staff feel they’re being over tasked by operations. Worst of all, security and tampering with critical infrastructure is no longer fiction – it is now reality. Additionally, the promise of optimizing operations and maintenance through the adoption of new technologies and concepts, such as IIoT and industrie 4.0 only puts further strain on existing assets, which in many cases are at, or beyond their practical life expectancy. All of this is occurring while the importance and reliance on oil and gas as an energy source continues to be critical for the foreseeable future across the globe.

Conventional Servers Don’t Solve the Problem

The supervisory and operational layers of an oil and gas process control system are one of the most critical areas of maintaining efficient and cost effective operation. Failure of these systems, for even short periods of unplanned downtime, creates a whole host of problems with resulting economic, regulatory and even life threatening impacts. Many oil and gas companies have tried but failed to solve these problems with conventional servers running critical applications such as SCADA and historian in multiple locations. Downtime problems continually plague this approach and it doesn’t scale.

The proven solution is a virtualized platform that is always on. Virtualization allows you to run more applications on one platform. Instead of a 1:1 server to application ratio, virtualization supports a one to many server to application ratio saving you money in infrastructure costs. But the more applications you have running on any one platform, the more important that platform becomes. That’s why virtualization on its own isn’t enough. The virtualized platform needs to be fully protected from downtime.

The New Pipeline Experience

Stratus is working with leading oil and gas companies on a new approach to solve these key challenges the industry is facing. We call this approach “No Blind Moments” – a complete always-on natural gas pipeline system that eliminates downtime with a cost-effective solution that delivers the efficiencies oil and gas companies demand in today’s environment.

This approach consists of four steps:

  1. Uncompromised Compliance
  2. Dependable Gas and Oil Delivery
  3. Flexible Operations
  4. System Wide View

Stratus’ platform and software solutions deliver on this new pipeline experience with no blind moments to ensure that compressor/pumping stations, gate stations, processing plants, refineries control rooms and other critical operational systems remain up and running at all times. With simple installation, proven continuous availability, ease of service and a lifespan aligned with the needs of operational systems, Stratus’ solutions meet the needs of operational technologists across the oil and gas industry. When combined with virtualization expertise, operational system knowledge, strong partnerships, and an understanding of the increasing importance of emerging capabilities (such as analytics), this provides a holistic approach to delivering remote, virtualized applications without data loss, or the need for IT expertise. The result is cost-effective deployment, increased efficiency and the returns demanded in today’s economic environment.

When fully adopted, “No Blind Moments” will eliminate your system downtime and your blind moments.