Making its way along Peru’s Lower Urabamba River, a jaguar’s whispery black shape easily tangles with the darkness of nearby vegetation
. Below the tree canopy, two parallel curves of the dual Camisea pipelines shoot into the surrounding Amazon, making their way through the jungle, far past where the big cat will wander and perhaps find its prey. Along the tree canopy equipment dangles from tethered lines. All of the equipment needed for this massive project is flown in and lowered from the sky onto hilltop clearings.
From underground reserves more than a mile deep, natural gas and natural gas liquid will flow through the Camisea pipelines under the control of an integrated solution, a flow computer that will help exploit the jungle’s underground resources so that much-needed natural gas can properly make its journey to Peru’s coast. For the Peruvians, the pipelines’ path to the sea will eventually see natural gas and natural gas liquid processed and sold to help create an increased standard of living. It is a long journey that will eventually lead to economic prosperity, and is one that begins with understanding the solution needs of pipeline flow control.
Facing one of the greatest pipeline challenges in Peruvian history, ISI-Solutions, the system integrators for the project, knew the project needed to rely on a cost-effective automation solution that combined the power of control and flow computers to integrate, operate and maintain pipeline control. Camisea needed an internationally recognized name brand solution with local distribution. They needed a product line that would enable complex control over a Peruvian pipeline where failure to provide much needed natural gas and natural gas liquid could mean dire consequences for the Peruvian economy.
The answer came when ISI discovered a simple solution: ProSoft Technology had a Flow Computer that was compatible with Rockwell Automation’s ControlLogix platform. As an in-rack solution, it could easily plug into the Rockwell backplane.
Fernando Dorgan, Electrical Engineer for ISI Solutions, tested Rockwell’s ControlLogix platform with ProSoft Technology’s in-rack AFC Flow Computer communicating with the backplane. He found such integration and compatibility a huge plus versus utilizing a stand-alone flow computer that might have provided a similar service.
Since ISI-Solutions is a system integration company that provides consulting, integration, and management solutions for a multitude of pipeline-related projects, finding an automation solution meant choosing a product line that they knew was going to work.
“We recommended the use of a Rockwell platform early on as we wanted to add a highly functional backplane and flow computer,” said Dorgan. “The challenges were significant. Camisea’s pipelines needed flow management control with a solution that could fit the Allen-Bradley backplane. What really made the Rockwell platform functional for Camisea was ProSoft Technology’s involvement in solving Camisea’s flow computer needs with their in-rack AFC Module.”
“Implementation of products such as these are just part of standard development,” said Dorgan. “We design pipelines, then program, then test; then we start up. This is just the way we do things. If you want professional quality on a pipeline such as Camisea, then you really have to make sure the technology fits the needs of the project.”
Such challenges also included converting protocol from the Rockwell platform to Modbus TCP/IP, where Dorgan concluded, “For that situation we found ProSoft’s MVI56-MNET module very reliable and efficient."
The Camisea project may be the most important energy-related construction project ever in the history of Peru. On a scale that rivals similar trans-Andean pipelines, Camisea is massive, with dual parallel pipelines that cross three geographic zones on a 550 kilometer journey. Its lengthy journey begins within the dense jungles of Malvinas in the Amazon rainforest. There, it soon winds its way to transverse the Andes Mountains in two parallel pipelines—one carrying natural gas and the other liquid natural gas. Both pipelines eventually hug the Pacific coastline and make their separate ways toward two destinations. Camisea’s natural gas liquid (NGL) pipeline ends in Playa Loberia whereas Camisea’s natural gas (NG) pipeline winds further northward toward Lurín, near Lima, Peru.
Camisea is no small pipeline project. Its early development phase began with the discovery of the Camisea natural gas field in the late 1980s. Years of planning and development gave birth to the Camisea Natural Gas and Natural Gas Liquid Transportation System that proposed the exploitation and transportation of the gas in those fields to processing stations and distribution markets located along the Peruvian coastline.
The NGL pipeline has one scraper launcher, one pumping station with mass metering system, three pumping stations without metering system, two pressure reduction stations and one receiving station at Playa Lobería, three scraping stations, and nineteen block valves sites. The NG pipeline has one pressure control station, five scraping stations, one receiving & measuring station at Lurín, four fuel gas modules for feed NGL pump stations and twenty-two block valve sites. Since fuel gas will be supplied to power the NGL pumps, a metering system will be installed to provide the final mass balance along the NG line. In addition, a liquid mass metering system will be supplied for each pumping station in order to cross check the leak detection system.
The pipeline SCADA system has two control centers, the primary control center will be the Lurín Main Control Center (MCC) at Lima City Gate (Lurín), and the secondary will be the Ayacucho Contingency Control Center (CCC), located in the surroundings of Ayacucho city. The latter will be used in case of a major problem at the MCC location, or interruption of communications to the MCC.
Local Control Systems will control both Camisea pipelines and bring information to the SCADA Host system at the control centers to supervise those pipelines and their associated facilities: receiving, pumping, scraping, and block valves stations.
Since both pipelines run parallel and close to each other for 550 km, in many instances they will share a common local control system (i.e.: A common RTU or PLC). Local Control Systems will be implemented with ControlLogix and CompactLogix family of programmable controllers from Rockwell Automation.
Dorgan suggested the importance of working with one vendor and one technology in an in-rack project of such a complex magnitude.
To begin with, ProSoft’s AFC form factor makes for a single point of communication, tight programmable controller and flow computer integration on a compatible backplane; which all translates into an easier learning curve for Dorgan and ISI-Solutions customers. Other benefits include: the AFC Manager is an easy-to-use software utility, as many of ProSoft customers know it takes a lot of the complexity out of the set-up that stand-alone flow computers require; three-tiered password security prevents potential pipeline disaster by eliminating non-user ability to change calculations and variables; the AFC module’s Log File capability is a primary factor in taking accurate accounts of measurements by archiving data with import/export functions. Dorgan explained that the Log File provides a very accurate account as it records volume, flow and other measurements that indicate what is happening within the AFC Module and pipeline at any given time.
When asked how ProSoft Technology might bring further solutions to such pipeline construction and development in the near future, Dorgan said he was looking at RadioLinx as a cost-efficient, wireless solution for bridging data between pipeline block stations across South American rivers and gorges. He felt wireless technology could help deter costs in constructing cables between hazardous points as well as running costly cable between pumping stations that may only be ten kilometers apart, well within the range of ProSoft’s wireless capabilities.
“A lot of projects are depending on this pipeline,” said Dorgan, while simulating pipeline measurement stations with the AFC module at ProSoft Technology headquarters in Bakersfield, California. “With such professional quality in a job, we had to ensure the technology fit the needs of the overall project.” When asked about ProSoft Technology’s involvement and dependability in the Camisea Project, Dorgan commented, “We see ProSoft as an interface provider. We can always rely on ProSoft products and have since 1995.”