Luis Rancé
Public Affairs Senior Director
Schneider Electric Mexico

Scada Systems and Control Room Operations

Tue, 01/22/2013 - 15:16

For over a decade, the OASyS SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) system has been the standard for Pemex’s industrial control systems. A platform designed to be both secure and open, the OASyS system allows for multiple inputs from third party data collection and control systems. Introduced in 1997 as Pemex’s gas and LPG pipeline control system, the project proved to be ground-breaking for Telvent, now the Smart Infrastructure business unit of Schneider Electric, the company behind the OASyS system. Luis Rancé, Public Affairs Senior Director at Schneider Electric Mexico, and former Chairman of Telvent Mexico, explains the trajectory of the system, the importance of Mexico as a showcase project for the company, and the history of the company after the project was completed.

“We had acquired the technology from a Canadian company, and the completion of the project in Mexico helped us become known around the world as leaders in SCADA systems. As a result of this successful project we established an international reputation that enabled us to start working on more SCADA installation projects around the world, and in 2004 the company was listed on the New York Stock Exchange.”

Rancé explains that although there were other SCADA systems available on the market at the time, Pemex favoured OASyS because of its open architecture, and the fact that any technology could integrate easily into the system. He believes that the system has maintained its popularity over many iterations for this reason.

The project for Pemex involved not only the installation of a SCADA system, but also the integration of all existing equipment on the field into the system. It was designed to monitor Pemex’s gas and LPG pipelines, and to optimize their operation and security. The system integrates data from 13,000km of gas and LPG pipelines, and brings all the information back to a central control room in the Pemex tower in Mexico City. From this control room, Pemex has access not only to the SCADA system but also to all third party monitoring and control devices, which are integrated into the platform.

Schneider Electric still maintains and updates Pemex’s SCADA system, and according to Rancé, the company’s challenge today is keeping the NOC satisfied with the level of service that they can provide. As a result of doing this for a number of years, Pemex now directly assigns new SCADA contracts to Telvent, rather than putting it to a public tender, in much the same way that SAP is the enterprise resource planning platform of choice for many companies.

Indeed, in recent years, Schneider has been charged with implementing its OASyS SCADA system for other Pemex divisions beyond gas: for the last two years, the company has been working on a program to install the system for Pemex Refining, a project which is expected to be completed by the end of 2014. The project will include installation of the system across 12,000km of Pemex Refining’s pipelines.

The company will also begin work soon on installing the system across the assets of Pemex Exploration & Production. Once the system has been installed across the upstream pipelines, it will be introduced at the division’s compression and pumping stations, and also at production assets and crude storage units. “We have already started to automate Pemex’s storage units,” Rancé says. “We have installed OASyS at 30 of Pemex’s 80 nationwide units, but this type of installation is much more complex than it is for a pipeline system: the system allows Pemex to monitor and control the volume of crude in each tank, the flow rate of the pipelines in and out of the unit, and the tankers delivering and collecting.” At Pemex’s production units, Schneider has started to install its SCADA systems on platforms at Ku-Maloob-Zaap, acting as systems integrator. Eventually, the system will be installed at all of Pemex’s production sites.

“Pemex is moving rapidly into the 21st century with regard to its monitoring and control systems, in both upstream and downstream activities,” says Rancé. “As this type of activity increases, we hope that the underlying architecture will continue to be our OASyS system.”