How modern-day technology facilitates oil transportation
Digitalisation has become an integral part of industrial processes today. For many companies, this is a road from square one, transition to some sort of a new reality. For Transneft East, digital transformation is a natural path that forms the basis of its operational activity. The Company operates one of the most hi-tech facilities of the modern industry: the Eastern Siberia – Pacific Ocean oil pipeline.
Digitalisation implies the integration of existing information systems on a single platform, upgrading the network infrastructure and equipment, launching new digital products. The Company has more than 4,500 km of pipelines in service in vast areas, such as Angara Region, Krasnoyarsk Territory, Yakutia and Amur Region. This is why the matter of hi-tech data transmission and managing the obtained results is among the most important ones.
“The modern oil pipeline along with oil pumping stations is a hi-tech cluster ensuring uninterrupted and safe transportation,” says Director General of Transneft East Alexander Puzikov. “Our facilities lie far away from major industrial centres, actually in the boreal forest (Yakutia and Krasnoyarsk Territory). This does not hinder us from using state-of-the-art solutions in oil pipeline intelligent control and operation.
In this case, the integrated regional control centre serves as a think-tank that controls all process equipment of the ESPO, Kuyumba – Tayshet, Omsk – Irkutsk, Krasnoyarsk – Irkutsk pipelines, as well as the Russian-Chinese Skovorodino – Mohe oil pipeline. Every second a huge bulk of digital data comes in here: pressure in the pipeline system, speed, volumes of transported oil, external impacts. It’s impossible for a human operator to analyse this amount of data. Meanwhile, the system performing these functions rules out the risk of mistakes or data inaccuracy. Accordingly, adequate and high-precision control algorithms are exhibited.
Digitalisation is also a must when it comes to addressing practical issues, such as assessing the physical condition of the oil pipeline. The in-line inspection of the pipe is carried out using high technologies. Intelligent ultrasonic or magnetic testing tools are launched inside the oil pipeline. An inspection tool, being linked to exact coordinates of the oil pipeline, starts moving and fixing all existing defects on the way. Received digital result is then used to draw up a plan of repairs.
Another advanced industrial control solution based on digital data collection is ground and airborne laser scanning of the oil pipelines. During the aircraft patrolling, special airborne equipment scans the oil pipeline route and facilities along the route. The images obtained monitor the dynamic processes occurring in the facilities of the line part.
Like all other Transneft subsidiaries, Transneft East is included in the integrated digital space so that all business processes are automated. In 2015, Transneft East replicated the electronic document management system, then the procurement system and other corporate information products. Their use currently enables to retain and quickly utilise huge volumes of data.
Soon a similar solution will be developed to automate business processes in the commodity transportation activities.
“This new element in the IT structure is a definite upside. Our mechanisms of automatic accounting for transported crude are already effective, but expanding this system by including additional new functions will make the data management even smoother and will enhance the level of control over the process of crude oil transportation along strategically important oil pipelines,” noted Director General of Transneft East.