A recent review by TransCanada PipeLines Limited (TransCanada) of the commercially available pipeline simulation software indicated that much of the data management and exchange functionality that had been incorporated into its in-house simulation tool, HART, was generally not available in the marketplace. The functionality that has been provided within HART was developed in the specific context of the workflow and business processes at TransCanada. However, we believe similar benefits could also be provided to the broader pipeline simulation user community. The pipeline simulation tools and environment currently in use at TransCanada were created as a result of a number of requirements that were identified during its development and evolution. First, the system had to simultaneously accommodate many users who could work in different locations but frequently relied on the same simulation input data. Second, the complexity of the pipeline system being simulated required a large amount of input data to reasonably describe it. This volume of required input data virtually necessitated the standardization and automation of a significant portion of the data input required for simulation. Finally, an ongoing desire to extend the use of the simulation results in the organization's business processes created changing requirements for the sourcing of the input data as new applications and uses for the tool were identified. The integrated simulation environment that has resulted from satisfying the identified simulation tool requirements relies on the capabilities offered by a number of systems-related tools and concepts. The functionality inherent in using a database manager served to ensure data consistency and integrity and allow the users to focus their attention on simulation results. Further, standardized communication protocols and the application of middleware concepts (XML) have facilitated extending the data sources available for simulation and, as a result, the potential for use of simulation results across the organization. This paper first describes the specific requirements of the processes at TransCanada that shaped and influenced the tools that were developed. The technologies and concepts that enabled and supported the creation of the environment are then discussed along with the resulting functionality they have provided to the user. Finally, the portability and possible extension of the currently available functionality will be explored.

TransCanada Overview

TransCanada owns and operates one of the largest natural gas transmission pipeline systems in North America (Figure 1), connecting the Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin (WCSB) to the major markets in Canada as well as the Northern Tier and West Coast of the United States. At the end of 2003, the wholly owned portions of the TransCanada System consisted of 24,250 miles (39,027 km) of high pressure pipe with over 48 million HP (3610 MW) of compression available from 279 units at 114 different sites. During 2003, the pipeline system throughput in the Alberta portion of the system was 3.9 tcf (110 e9m3) with peak daily deliveries exceeding 12.7 bcfd (357 e6m3/d).

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