Following the discovery of large reserves of natural gas in the Groningen area of the Netherlands in 1959, N.V.Nederlandse Gasunie was founded in 1963. N.V.Nederlandse Gasunie is responsible for the purchase, transport, and sales of natural gas throughout the Netherlands. It also exports gas to other West European countries. In 1992 some 84 billion m3 of gas were transported. About 45% of this total was exported. For monitoring and controlling, all data relevant to the gas transmission operation has to be gathered at one central point. The Central Control Room (CCP) at Groningen is the place from which the entire computer-aided controlling and monitoring is executed. Recently a new Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition system (termed ARGOS) has been installed at the CCP. This new installation gives rise to produce a paper in which the new system, including some background information is described. The paper will deal with:

  1. Introduction.

  2. Historical and future considerations.

    • Natural gas transmission.

    • Supervisory and control systems.

  3. ARGOS functionality.

    • Basic functionality.

    • Visualization.

  4. System architecture.

  5. Project data.


The discovery of a large natural gas field in the vicinity of Groningen in the Netherlands in 1959 resulted in a stormy development of the gas transmission system. In the sixties the transmission system was constructed at a very fast rate. This transmission system was required for the transport and distribution of natural gas in the Netherlands as well as to a number of export countries (Belgium, France, West-Germany). The demand from the Groningen field increased expansively in the sixties. The expansion of the gas transmission system kept pace with this demand. Although the transmission system, expressed in km pipeline, was relatively large, operations were relatively simple:

  • the gas was purchased from only one supplier.

  • the gas was supplied with a constant gasquality.

  • as a consequence of the high reservoir pressure the production facilities had such a high capacity that even during extremely cold conditions demand could always be met.

  • A major part of the year the compressors were not in use because the transmission System had been designed to cope with a situation which only occurs once every fifty years under exceptionally severe conditions.

In the seventies gas was purchased from fields other than the Groningen field. These fields were not only found on the mainland but also in the Dutch sector of the North Sea Continental Shelf, while some gas came from abroad. Unfortunately, however, the gases from other production locations usually differed in quality from the Groningen gas. Most of them were high calorificgases (which in simple terms means that they have a higher heat content). Before these gases could be introduced into the system. it was necessary to take a number of technical measures, including blending with other gases to produce a gas equivalent the Groningen quality. In some cases it was possible to supply consumers directly with uncut gas.

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