Pipeline Open Data Standard (PODS) 1st EU meet—Vienna

BP on PODS—‘close to universal acceptance.’ Adco’s GIS-based construction management. CEO on PODS evolution. PODS/ESRI spatial model. Nova Chemicals and Cylo Technologies team on PODS shrinkwrap CyloPipe. TIGF’s Vigie project. OMV’s vision for pipeline management system.

The inaugural EAME user group meeting of the pipeline open data standard (PODS) association was hosted by OMV in Vienna earlier this year. There were over 60 attendees at the conference, from 14 different countries.

BP’s Ian Neilson provided the keynote presentation on the current role of PODS in the industry. For Neilson, PODS is ‘probably the only common standard in the pipeline industry with close to universal acceptance.’ While pipelines have a good safety record compared with other transport modes, recent spills have put the industry in the spotlight. This has led to increasingly proactive regulation in the US and elsewhere with demands for the implementation of pipeline integrity management systems supported by accurate data on pipeline routing and condition. The US Pipeline research council international (PRCI) organization has identified data integration and decision support tools as key. And access to ‘traceable, verifiable and complete data’ (read PODS) underpins all these efforts.

Abdelrahman Saad (Adco) teamed with Abhay Chand (Petro IT) to show how a GIS-based construction management system was key to the Shah-Asab-Sahil project’s success. Adco elected to develop a GIS-based operations and maintenance system for its pipeline network based on the PODS data model. The plan was to capture accurate detailed as-built information during construction and to develop a data management system which would become the foundation of an O&M/business intelligence system post handover. In the event, a proprietary system was developed by Petro IT, using elements of the PODS data model. The system has extended the basic PODS model into the areas of construction and materials management. Capturing granular data such as welding inspection reports has meant that O&M systems are fully populated with detailed historical data. Saad concluded noting the joint PODS/IPLOCA effort on data standards for new construction.

PODS director Janet Sinclair led a workshop that provided an informative look back at PODS evolution. Pipeline modeling, rather like seismic, involves a sometimes complex interplay between data as measured (along a pipe route) and as displayed on a map or geographic information system (GIS). While PODS does not need a GIS to function, it was designed with spatialization in mind and will work with any GIS.

The main event for 2013 has been the release last May of PODS V6.0. This release sees the PODS standard broken down into 31 modules which can be implemented separately. With some restrictions (some core modules are mandatory), operators can select which parts of the model are key to requirements and only implement modules applicable to their operations.

On the topic of PODS and GIS systems, Craig Hawkins described an implementation of the PODS/ESRI spatial data model at BP. While early deployments of PODS at BP were relational (sans GIS*), a ‘strategic decision’ was made in 2013 to implement a PODS/ESRI spatial version. While the relational version of PODS remains the canonical standard, the ESRI spatial edition implements the PODS model in an ESRI geodatabase. The geodatabase stores and manages pipeline data in an Oracle or Microsoft SQL Server database that contains the PODS tables. BP’s implementation, the ‘Golden Build,’ is an ‘enhanced standard version’ of the PODS/ESRI Spatial. BP is planning to share its Golden Build enhancements with the PODS Association for incorporation into the standard. The PODS association is ‘committed to maintain consistency’ of future enhancements to the relational standard and the ESRI geodatabase implementation.

Al Tudhope presented Nova Chemicals’ use of the PODS data model. Nova uses its system to manage the integrity of some 2,000km of pipeline including some densely populated parts of Alberta. Nova wanted a system that offered a quick turn around from receipt of corrosion data that included a display of corrosion severity along with history data of previous repairs. To ensure that the system was engineering company vendor independent, Nova chose to develop its own system with help from Cylo Technologies of Calgary. The system supports the full lifecycle of the inspection process. Comprehensive asset models are built by reverse engineering from in-line inspection data. A set of selection criteria (maximum allowed operating pressure, high consequence areas etc.) are evaluated to prioritize inspection. Google Earth displays are leveraged as a GIS. The resulting tool, CyloPipe has been productized and is available from Cylo Tech.

Jean Alain Moreau and Yves Giraud made a joint presentation of French utility TIGF’s PODS-based data infrastructure. TIGF Manages 5,000km of natural gas pipelines in south western France along with two large underground storage facilities. Recent French legislation has mandated deployment of pipeline GIS and technical databases and TIGF has responded with a PODS database coupled to an Intergraph GIS. Under its ‘Vigie’ project, these tools have been linked to a project planning tool and a separate in line inspection database. PODS relational running on Oracle has been extended with Intergraph’s Geomedia tools to provide 3D spatialization. The speakers provided some informative metrics on project costs. It took a year to develop data loading tools and populate the initial instance of the database from Microstation V8 at a cost of some €2 million. Ongoing maintenance and development costs are estimated at around €200k. TIGF has put considerable effort into marketing the tool internally. One key add-in is an ‘update flag’ which users can set when they spot a shortcoming in the database. Data managers are encouraged to react quickly to such update requests to keep the user base onboard. The authors conclude, ‘It has never been easier to share information between people who are located in different places.’

Achim Kamelger presented OMV’s own pipeline management system—or rather systems, as the company has acquired several, built on Autocad, ESRI, Valis and Smallworld GIS and for one unit, leveraging PODS. Naturally, multiple systems make for problematical data consolidation with the risk of errors and complex interfacing issues. Enter OVM’s vision for a new PMS—based on a technology stack of a PODS database, ESRI ArcGIS Server and ArcSDE supporting a variety of endpoints.

Read the PODS presentations here.

* BP bridged the GIS gap with a data link from PODS coordinate tables to ESRI.

Click here to comment on this article

Click here to view this article in context on a desktop

© Oil IT Journal - all rights reserved.