SCADA system use pervasive in pipelines worldwide

A recent study of 80 pipeline operations worldwide found that more than 90% of respondents use supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems for data acquisition, volume balance, leak detection, and valve operations. Nearly one third get some related software from third parties.

By Staff June 1, 2000

Ellicot City, Md. A recent study of 80 pipeline operations worldwide found that more than 90% of respondents use supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems for data acquisition, volume balance, leak detection, and valve operations. Nearly one third get some related software from third parties.

The report—by Newton-Evans Research Co.—found the remaining pipeline operators plan to install SCADA technology over the next several years. More than 5,400 remote terminal units (RTUs) are installed among the pipeline systems, and plans for another 1,250 units are being developed. Projected spending for new or upgraded SCADA systems, RTUs, and applications are expected to exceed $250 million over the next three years.

Among a subset of 59 respondents, 91% use SCADA for remote data acquisition, 88% perform basic volume balance, 64% run leak detection applications, and 52% conduct remote valve operations. Also, 48% run pipeline fault isolation software, while 31% do batch accounting and/or pipeline modeling functions.

Nearly 75% of respondents expect to obtain application software from SCADA integrators, while 31% report relying, at least in part, on third-party software services. Another 17% use internally developed software.

Similar to many manufacturing and plant-floor systems, pipeline operators also expect data to be transmitted more often between their control centers and corporate-level systems. The report states that 50% of pipelines systems already use wide area networks (WANs), 27% use dial-up equipment, 15% rely on leased lines, and 12% use either fiber-optic, microwave, or satellite methods. For more information, visit www.newton-evans.com or www.controleng.com/freeinfo .