This paper describes a computer-based system for training pipeline operator-dispatchers. It works with existing SCADA hardware and software to provide a realistic learning environment. In addition the detail of interactions between the hydraulic and controls system are modeled. The responses are high-fidelity, so the trainee can realistically learn upset A recovery techniques and the system can be used to test and learn possible innovations In operating strategy before introducing them In the field. A system based on these principles has recently been installed for a major pipeline.


The training of pipeline dispatcher-operators is a lot like the training of airplane pilots. Each must be well trained to recognize and avoid dangerous situations. For each, the point of no return on the road to disaster may not be perceived soon enough. Developing a quicker perception comes from experience, but experience is difficult to transfer from an operator to a trainee. Learning through such an apprentice situation is slow, and therefore tends to be costly. For some decades the airlines have made extensive use of flight trainers, mock-up cockpits with the instruments driven by simulation. The pilot-trainee's actions are sensed and analyzed by a computer program to drive the instruments. Extensive attention is paid to detail, even to presenting visual simulations of motion in relation to the surroundings using television.

Purpose of this Work

The purpose of this paper is to examine the possibilities in building a computer-based operator trainer for gas pipelines, and to describe one implementation of a trainer for an oil pipeline. In this introduction we shall discuss several choices in providing a training environment, and indicate the approach which seems appropriate in a particular case. This approach is intended to provide a realistic simulation for the case of a pipeline with a typical, modern SCADA system exercising field control through a system of RTU's (Remote Terminal Units). Finally we shall present some details on how such ideas are being applied in an oil pipeline with multiple pump stations. The paper is in three parts. The first two define the problem and the salient details of its solution. These two parts were written by the coauthors from DREM. The third "Section was written by James Lin of INTERPROVINCIAL PIPE LINE (IfL). It describes IPL's purpose in obtaining a Computer-based trainer, and outlines some of its specific intended uses.

2 The Goals in the IPL Trainer

The operator being trained is usually not an engineer. Part of his training will be giving his experience with the environment he will use to control the pipeline. This means familiarizing him with his training interface, namely the console he will see on the job. He will need to learn all its displays, keyboards and functions. He will also need to learn specifically how the pipeline will respond to the control commands he gives. He will need to be able to interpret these responses to know if they are what is expected, or it they mean trouble is ahead.

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