SCADA for Surge Control

Using a SCADA Network to Handle Surge Control in Gas Suppression Systems in Pipelines

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By Ahmed Hafaifa, Attia Daoudi and Mouloud Guemana

The most efficient operation of gas and oil installations is subject to many technical and economic constraints. Certain installations cannot stop functioning without incurring enormous financial losses, but technical defects can also harm the quality of their products. The SCADA system can prioritize necessary maintenance activities to prevent inopportune breakdowns, reduce the time fixed assets are under maintenance and optimize their operational life though just-in-time intervention. SCADA systems have successfully addressed numerous industry problems [1], [13], [15], [18] and [19]. In this article, we describe how SCADA systems could be applied to maintenance challenges in facilities of the Algerian oil company Sonatrach.

To illustrate the efficiency of the proposed supervisory schema for the process control, the SCADA system has been constructed as a centralized system using a proprietary control computer and operating system. The use of a SCADA system in a gas compression plant facilitates planning, assigning, supervising and participating in the operation, maintenance and repair of the system, and related work. The disadvantage of this centralized system is that when a facility wants to improve or add some functions, it sometimes has to upgrade the existing computer’s memory capacity or replace it with a higher-grade computer.

On the other hand, a recently emerging trend in the development of computer and communication technology has been making it possible to establish open, distributed computer systems. Such technology is also being introduced into SCADA systems in gas compression plants. In this article, we give the experimental results of the use of the SCADA system in a gas compression system for supervision and control and data acquisition. We found that the high reliability, functionality, performance and high-level human interface add to the expandability and flexibility in configuration.

This paper describes tools and techniques that can and have been used to model transient flows and performance, mechanical and control responses, and time-dependent head in compressor systems. The tools used by SCADA control include finite time step programs that simulate control systems, valve actuators and the opening (or closing) rate of valves, with the resulting flows. The volumes and lengths of station piping, scrubbers and coolers, including temperature effects are accounted for. SCADA supervisory control models also track the performance of centrifugal compressors at different speeds, account for the rotation inertia of compressor trains, and evaluate the thermo physical properties of gas streams.

Industrial compression system

Compression systems are used, for example, as part of a gas turbine for jet and marine propulsion or power generation, in superchargers and turbochargers for internal combustion engines, and in a wide variety of industrial processes [4]. In this paper we focus on centrifugal compressors that are used in natural gas pipeline transportation. This type of centrifugal compressor can exhibit a variety of instabilities under different operating conditions. Moore and Greitzer in [20] developed a phenomenological model for rotating stall and surge. This pioneering work modelled the compression system with just three components:

  1. The first component is the inlet duct that allows infinitesimally small disturbances at the duct entrance to grow until they reach an appreciable magnitude at the compressor face.
  2. The second component is the compressor itself, modelled as an actuator disk, which raises the pressure ratio by doing work on the fluid.
  3. The third component is the plenum chamber (or diffuser) downstream, which acts as a large reservoir and responds to fluctuations in mass flow with fluctuations in pressure behind the actuator disk.
    In this paper, we are considering a compression system consisting of a centrifugal compressor, valve, compressor duct, plenum volume and a throttle (Figure 1). The throttle can be regarded as a simplified model of a turbine [7], [8], [10]. The system is shown in Figures 1, 2 and 3.

Anti surge valve
Figure 2. Anti surge valve
Figure 3: Centrifugal compressor
Figure 3: Centrifugal compressor

The model to be used for controller design is in the form:


pp = the plenum pressure
K = a numerical constant 
p01 = the ambient pressure
ρ01 = the inlet stagnation density
VP= the plenum volume
m = the compressor mass flow
kt = a parameter proportional to throttle opening
Al = the area of the impeller eye (used as reference area)
Lc = the length of compressor and duct
ηi = the isentropic efficiency
N = the spool moment of inertia
Δh ideal = the total specific enthalpy delivered to fluid
cp = the specific heat capacity at constant pressure,
cv = the specific heat capacity at constant volume
T01 = the inlet stagnation temperature
k = is the ratio of specific heat, Equation 2

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