Pipeline Energy Management Doesn’t Require Continuous Equipment Investment

Certainly, hydrocarbon pipeline pumps, compressors, and other vital transportation pipeline assets are becoming more efficient and will continue to evolve in their capabilities. High-efficiency equipment can cut pipeline energy consumption costs on a site-by-site basis, but it does not provide a solution for system-wide optimization. And, of course, continuous investment in new equipment cuts into returns.

Advanced information management technology makes power optimization practical and more rewarding for the company. It’s a sustainability strategy – also being applied by water systems and electric and gas power distribution systems everywhere – that makes the most of existing infrastructure and replaces the manual network management often applied by retiring employees who take with them a high level of network awareness.

Automation and control solutions enable responsive, even proactive, pump operations management. An automated state-of-the-art pipeline simulation not only reflects the physical network but also incorporates the complex utility contracts involved, to accurately calculate the real cost of operation at any given time.

For example: this ‘new network awareness’ considers pump performance to identify the most efficient configuration that can accommodate extra load at least cost. It sequences jobs in order of individual demands, to minimize pump starts and stops and the usage spikes that command rate penalties. It determines if it is less costly to use normal-rate pumps or use more power to drive faster pumps for priority orders.

With real-time information applied to simulated configuration options, control room operators optimize batch scheduling and realize energy management that reduces carbon footprint – without continuous investment in new equipment.

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