BP Pipelines operates one of the largest networks of pipelines in the United States, transporting over 450 million barrel-miles of petrochemicals per day. Their control center in Tulsa, Oklahoma is responsible for the transport of oil and natural gas from South-Central and Midwest oil fields to locations nationwide.
Recently the management at the Tulsa control center decided to add leak detection to their SCADA system to monitor pipeline leakage. The SCADA system, by Telvent, gathers data from production systems and stores it in a Sybase database that has been modified for real-time applications. The challenge was to feed process data from Sybase database to the leak detection system, which had available an OPC server.
"We tried for months to find an OPC server that would communicate via ODBC to the real-time Sybase product," said Chuck Amsler, Team Leader for SCADA Applications at BP Pipelines. "It was an old version of ODBC, and we just couldn't get at the data. None of the applications we tried could do it."
Finally Chuck called Cogent to see if there was some way the OPC DataHub could be used to make the connection. After a few hours of consulting with Cogents technical staff, he had a DataHub script that supports a connection to the Telvent system and queries the Sybase database. With his process data reaching the OPC DataHub, it was just a matter of bridging the data to the leak detection systems OPC server. Now the data flows from Telvent to the leak detection system reliably and consistently.
"Once we saw how easy it was for the OPC DataHub to make the connection," said Chuck, "We decided to use it to log the results." With Cogents help he wrote another script to transfer the leak detection calculations back to an Oracle database for eventual re-use by the SCADA system.
The DataHub scripts give a large degree of flexibility for customization. On the Sybase side, there are actually two servers running, one hot, and the other for backup. The system can switch from hot to backup at any time. For every query, the script tests for which server is hot, and always reads from the correct server.
On the Oracle side, dynamic scripting allows members of Chuck's team to modify the logging process even while the system is running. They can add, delete, or change data points that qualify the basic pipeline data, without breaking the connection or interfering with the logging.
"We are very impressed with the overall quality of the OPC DataHub" said Chuck, "and with the level of support from Cogent. We look forward to working with them as we move from data gathering to the next stages of the project."
OPC DataHub is a trademark of Cogent Real Time Systems. Software Toolbox is a trademark of Software Toolbox, Inc.