The 2003 IBC EU SCADA Conference held in London this month was attended by a broad church of engineers and IT folks from several industries. SCADA—the remote monitoring and control of production and other assets—is growing in importance with the emergence of the e-field concept. The linkage from upstream oilfield models to the ‘plumbing’ of valves, meters and controllers is a hot topic in oil and gas, water and waste management. Everyone wants to ‘drive’ assets harder and to assure safe, auditable operations. Web access to multiple data sources is seen as a great leap forward from the isolated distributed control mechanisms of the past. Data mining is a growth area as is the coupling of SCADA data with ERP (financial) data. This introduces new ways of managing assets—along with a few new problems.

Chris Morse (Honeywell) traced the history and differences between Distributed Control Systems (Honeywell’s specialty) and SCADA. Today it is possible to build hybrid DCS/SCADA systems and benefit from reduced hardware costs . In an integrated DCS/SCADA system all points, displays and alarms can be viewed anywhere. Information can be subscribed to and published to all users. Web technology is ‘taking the Control and Acquisition out of SCADA’. Morse showed data query of the Forties Pipeline System—an on-line historian holding pipeline data from the past two years. This provides desktop users with access to trend data and historical data of past engineering configurations. Such integration offers asset managers enhanced equipment monitoring, predictive maintenance, demand forecasting and leak detection. OLE for process control is an important enabler. The biggest benefit of web technology according to Morse is more and more accurate information.


Steven Mustard (LogicaCMG) believes that SCADA (in use for thirty years) should be integrated more tightly with corporate IT. Common off-the-shelf (COTS) hardware and software can be economically rolled into solutions, reducing costs and maintenance. Standards encourage competition between vendors—further driving down costs. Standard development tools can be used and acquired data can be distributed more widely across the enterprise. COTS components can also positively impact system availability, reliability and safety. A range of internet security tools (firewalls, encryption etc.) can be used to secure such integrated systems.


Folke Dahlfors (ABB) vaunted the merits of open systems, citing IEC 61968 from the International Electro technical Commission along with other generic IT standards such as the W3C, and more vertical standards like OPC and the OMG CCAPI TF. ABB has developed a suite of power control IT building blocks—Aspect Objects— which leverage standards to link enterprise IT with SCADA.


Francesco Cammarata (Invensys) notes that the SCADA arena is experiencing rapid change due to evolving technology, deregulation and new ways of working. The future lies in integrated systems which encompass field automation, advanced SCADA, CIS/CDR and distribution/optimization software. Cammarata argues that SCADA incumbents are best placed to manage these changes. Invensys offers a vertical solution from ‘plant to portal’, or from ‘data source to information store’. Invensys vision for 2005 is for ‘completely integrated’ e-business, ERP and Automation business solutions. This is to be achieved through Invensys’ ArchestrA integration platform.


Peter Götzen (Ruhrgas AG) described the Ruhrgas Dispatching Application and Information System (DAISY), built by Berlin-based software house PSI. The PSI SCADA system captures data from different domains into an Oracle database. Messaging leverages the EDIGAS (GASDAT) standards as well as import through XML data files. The system uses gas grid simulation software SIMONE from LIWACOM and Simone Research. An in-house developed application handles transport and trading contracts.

Click here to comment on this article

Click here to view this article in context on a desktop

© Oil IT Journal - all rights reserved.