In parallel with the design and construction of the Keystone pipeline, TransCanada and Telvent developed a fully integrated simulation environment including a dynamic hydraulic model, production SCADA system, simulated programmable logic controllers (PLCs), online leak detection, and batch tracking. This system served to test and develop control logic, the SCADA database, SCADA applications, online leak detection, and operational procedures prior to putting the pipeline in to production. Not only did this system allow Keystone to meet its regulatory training requirements, but it was able to predict interactions between field and control center pressure control systems, identify vulnerable areas of the pipeline during scenarios, verify over pressure protection systems, and allowed for initial tuning of the leak detection system prior to line fill.
Typically the development of SCADA systems, online applications, control systems, and dynamic pipeline simulations are done as separate or sequential exercises. For existing pipelines this is often a product of technological development over the life of the pipeline. For smaller pipelines or new branches on larger existing lines, it is often impractical to invest in line-specific simulation or training systems. The Keystone Pipeline provided the unique opportunity of developing a full scope training, analysis and testing system for a large-scale green field project including all of these dynamic online systems. Through the course of the project a number of unexpected advantages were gained through what has been termed "full scope simulation." The Keystone Pipeline is a 1,854 mile (2,984-kilometre) crude pipeline beginning in Hardisty, Alberta and delivering to markets at Wood River and Patoka, Illinois and in the future to Cushing, Oklahoma (See Figure 1). It utilizes approximately 537 miles (864 kilometers) of existing gas pipeline and is designed to initially carry 435,000 barrels per day, which will later be increased to a nominal capacity of 590,000 barrels per day. The original purpose of this full scope simulator was to train operators on the specific dynamics of the Keystone pipeline; however, the core advantage of the system lies in the ability to dynamically test "live systems" in an offline environment that is nearly indistinguishable from the real world. Great strides were made in pre-tuning and testing of online leak detection, batch tracking, pressure control, batch cutting, swing logic and terminal control. In addition, engineering and support staff gained hands on training and experience with "live" systems while assisting in the development of the training system. The end result is a higher preparedness for operators, shorter commissioning times for online systems, and an efficient start up process for the pipeline. In the end this translates to an operation that is safer, more efficient, and more cost effective.