Pipeline modeling in a real-time environment (Real-Time Pipeline Model = RTPM) has been a challenge to the modeling industry for years, triggered by pipeline operators need to better analyze and understand the characteristics of their pipeline network and equipment. The traditional tools, an on-line supervisory system (SCADA) and off-line engineering models, provide an answer to some of the operators needs. However, these tools fall short of satisfying all operators needs and from offering a global solution, especially for gas transportation and distribution networks. Many attempts have been made to transfer the engineering modeling technology to a realtime environment by interfacing the engineering model, as is, to the real-time SCADA system. However, many of these attempts have failed because they neglect some significant differences between an engineering model and the real world. Assumptions and simplifications that are perfectly valid for engineering studies are unacceptable when the goal is to duplicate the real-time state of the pipeline network. The purpose of a real-time pipeline model is to provide a true picture of current pineline operation without requiring significant user involvement. The RTPM must include not only all significant pipelines, equipment and instrumentation, but also tools performing traditional engineering and/or operational and/or automatic tasks. Some of these tools are evaluation and preparation of input data, analysis of state results before further application, operational control and model tuning. RTPM is much more complicated than engineering modeling because the RTPM must include functions to keep up with the highly transient and dynamic real-time state of the pipeline as well as discrepancies in the SCADA data received. This paper summarizes the implementation process, the tools applied, and the obstacles to overcome when building a real-time modeling system, As an example, this paper uses the installation and implementation of the LICconsult real-time pipeline modeling system at Florida Gas Transmission (FGT). The FGT RTPM project has been implemented using strict IS0 9001 compliant guidelines developed and implemented by LICconsult over the last 19 years.


The shared objective of the project is to implement a RTPM covering the entire transmission and distribution network in Florida which consists of 5,279 miles of pipelines (diameter 6" - 30"), 23 compressor stations with 92 compressor units, 55 pressure regulators and over 400 simple valves and check valves. The network serves 206 customers in Florida. The implementation started with network data collection, establishing data communication between the modeling system and configuration of the real-time database. Shortly thereafter, the first version of an operational real-time state finder, a look-ahead model and a predictive model were demonstrated. The second portion of the network has been configured and all modules are fully operational. The rest of the network will be configured and implemented before the end of the year.


This paper does not discuss the basic modeling theory because it assumes that this theory is well known and can be found in several text books.

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