Migrating Control and Maintenance of a National Gas Pipeline Network
Mexico City, Mexico – CENAGAS is a governmentowned company created in 2014 to operate the Mexican National Gas System (NGS), which is Mexico’s largest gas pipeline network, consisting of nearly 9,000km of interstate pipelines. CENAGAS is also the Technical Manager of the Integrated National Transportation and Storage System. CENAGAS’s mandate is to ensure the safe and efficient transportation and storage of natural gas, as well as ensuring adequate capacity and supply of gas to users throughout Mexico.
Ownership of the National Gas System was transferred from PEMEX to CENAGAS in 2016. PEMEX continued to operate and maintain the system under contract with CENAGAS until 2018, when CENAGAS began to assume operational control of parts of the system. The process of migration of operational control from PEMEX to CENAGAS will continue through the end of 2019.
Seeking a Standardised SCADA Solution
At the onset of network migration, CENAGAS’ focus is to efficiently migrate existing configuration and data from PEMEX, and connect to the existing industrial devices, while supporting new features and functionality in a standardised way that requires no product customisation. The focus on a standardised product is to improve the stability and maintainability of the system. This also helps to improve security, and it allows systems to be patched and kept up to date more frequently.
Very few (if any) SCADA solution providers are capable of providing all of this “out-of-the-box” without custom development. However, AVEVA was able to provide CENAGAS with a state-of-the-art pipeline management system and gas measurement accounting system based on recognised international best practices and standardisation.
CENAGAS required a demonstrated track record of success with systems of similar size and complexity. Since AVEVA-based technology had already been successfully used for over 10 years on this same pipeline network, the choice to continue with SCADA Pipeline Edition (powered by OASyS) was simple.
“We sought AVEVA’s solution with our minds set on what’s coming for the future: digital technology. In that sense, AVEVA offered us the ultimate solution, we saw their roadmap to the future, and we saw that it will continue growing in the following years, incorporating new versions of their products.”
– José Miguel, Chief of Operational Technologies and IT
But CENAGAS also recognised the need for IT and technology standardisation, and made a conscious decision (not only for SCADA but for all corporate IT systems) to push for standards and not risky customisation projects. Hence CENAGAS required a system that would not just be a copy of PEMEX, but could meet the very same complex needs (of both the large pipeline network and requirements for technical management oversight) with a standard product.
It was the combination of a proven track record with an enviable list of references, and a very complete product suite, that allowed CENAGAS to assign the project to AVEVA.
A System Architecture That Doesn’t Require Customisation
The SCADA system selected by CENAGAS is based on AVEVA’s OASyS (SCADA Pipeline Edition), Pipeline Operation for Gas, Measurement Advisor, and Gas Day Adviser. Cisco hardware is used for servers and networks, Dell EMC for Storage Area Networks, and Dell for user workstations. Consoles are provided by Evans. OASyS and its applications, and all of the brands making up the complete solution are considered best in class for Enterprise systems.
“More than a migration of the solution, we sought to implement our solution from scratch. Where there was an information exchange was in the leveraging of their historical information, some graphs, obviously some configuration of all the equipment we have in the field, over 400 stations where we received equipment; we needed to leverage all that.”
– José Miguel, Chief of Operational Technologies and IT
The architecture consists of highly available and geo-redundant control centers and associated data centers. It is segmented into different zones to allow for the necessary isolation for cybersecurity protection. The production zone communicates with over 600 remote locations over an industrial telecommunication network. These remote locations include block valve sites, metering stations, and compressor stations. A decision support zone receives a live replica of the production data, making real-time and historical information instantly available to business and operations users for engineering, accounting, and regulatory reporting.
What’s the value of establishing standards without customisation? Part of it comes from the fact that CNAGAS is a very young company. At only 4 years old, over half of the people working in CENAGAS are millennials. CENAGAS views this as a position of strength in the long run, as employees starting now will have access to the tools and technologies that empower them with a very favorable environment for professional development. And by establishing operating and maintenance standards early on, the midstream gas transporter is better positioned to quickly reach its efficiency goals.
Partnering with AVEVA to Centralise Control of a Nation’s Pipeline Network
The AVEVA solution allows CENAGAS to safely and efficiently monitor and control their nearly 9,000km network from a central control room. It also gathers and processes accounting data for gas custody transfers, ensuring accurate and timely billing for services. The solution includes planning tools for forecasting gas supply and demand and monitoring gas supply throughout the day with projections that allow for early detection of supply problems (or reactive opportunities with over supply). The system is instrumental in daily operations, monthly accounting close, and compliance with regulations.
“The quality of the people from AVEVA has always been spectacular. We’ve had very good people with a very good disposition to execute a crystalclear project within CENAGAS.”
– PDr. David Madero, Director General
The project allows CENAGAS to monitor and control its pipeline network in a safe and efficient way, and enables decision makers with information for the efficient management of the larger integrated system.
From an engineering perspective, AVEVA’ssystem-agnostic approach and securearchitecture allowed CENAGAS to build secure interfaces with engineering systems. Operationally, existing monitoring and control and measurement administration interfaces weren’t just maintained, they were also modernised. This allowed coordinators and analysts that were familiar with the old system to quickly understand it with minimal training, while providing new capabilities for control room management and measurement.
During commissioning and deployment, SCADA Pipeline Edition allowed for listen-only, so that the SCADA system can passively listen to telecommunication traffic between SCADA and field. This allowed CENAGAS to access a realtime stream from PEMEX that was mapped to the industrial I/O addresses, without affecting current operations. Thus a level of point to point verification was possible without the time and cost of extensive field coordination and system downtime.
With regards to standardisation, system displays were automatically converted to a format that better reflected consistency and best practices. Software was feature rich enough that no customisation was needed, despite very complete enterprise-grade pipeline requirements.
From a security standpoint, the system architecture and software has enabled CENAGAS to comply with international best practices for cybersecurity protection of industrial control systems.
In terms of IT, the entire system is based on bestin-class COTS hardware and software, allowing for easier and more secure integration with IT systems.
And finally, the AVEVA solution enables CENAGAS meet environmental control room standards, such as API, PHMSA, and more.
“AVEVA has supported us a lot. Our people have been able to unwind and get to know the tools necessary to develop the operation of the system. From the point of view of forecasting, control, calculations and administration, it has allowed us to reach a high level in very little time.”
– Juan González, Chief of Unit Transportation and Storage