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Deployment of a pipeline CPTMS

LNG Industry,


Discussions about natural gas pipeline operations typically focus on pipeline engineering, including pipeline safety and integrity management. There is, however, another less obvious area that offers operators significant opportunity to realise incremental benefits – namely gas pipeline transaction management systems.

A gas pipeline transaction management system is defined as the business processes and associated information management systems (software) that manage the business aspects of transactions between the pipeline operator and its customers (shippers).

This article focuses on the benefits available by deploying a new generation enterprise class commercial gas pipeline transaction management system (CPTMS). Following are several significant benefits for pipeline operators available with deployment of a CPTMS.

Capturing new business opportunities

A CPTMS is designed with the philosophy that requirements do not remain static for years - change is a constant. It is assumed that new services and associated rates will be introduced periodically. As each new offering requirement is encountered, a wholesale re-write of the system is not necessary. A well-constructed CPTMS can actually anticipate new and changing business requirements. A qualified CPTMS supplier accomplishes this by addressing complex requirements with a configurable, rules-based approach that offers flexibility for change. With a CPTMS, modified or new service offerings and associated rates can simply be added through a user-defined configuration process initiated by a qualified user, without requiring coding changes.

Comprehensive data access

A CPTMS incorporates a comprehensive overall approach to translating data into meaningful information. This approach includes efficient data access and display features, pre-configured and auto-generated reports, user-initiated ad-hoc queries, and comprehensive business intelligence and analytics including executive dashboards.

Lower total cost of ownership

A CPTMS offers improved economics in terms of total cost of ownership compared to other alternatives. Economies of scale and improved efficiencies, inherent with a CPTMS, are the key drivers of lower costs.

With a CPTMS, costs of development, ongoing support and regular product enhancement releases are shared among subscribing clients. These economies of scale are obvious in the case of a CPTMS with numerous clients. The cost of a CPTMS is a fraction of the costs borne by an individual pipeline building and supporting its own system.

Risk mitigation

Regulatory compliance is an ongoing serious consideration for pipeline operators. With a steady stream of new NAESB/FERC compliance mandates, pipelines must accurately interpret each new order and ensure that all necessary steps are taken to ensure compliance on a timely basis. A qualified CPTMS supplier is conversant with NAESB/FERC orders and utilises its client user group forum to facilitate interpretation and analysis of each order to ensure the CPTMS is quickly adapted to allow clients to meet compliance deadlines. 

Conclusion

Regarding unique characteristics, a CPTMS is proven capable of addressing a wide range of individual pipeline characteristics. A CPTMS is successfully supporting numerous pipelines incorporating a wide range of physical and business configurations including interstate, intrastate, storage, LNG, hubs and LDCs. For interstates and those wanting to emulate interstate processes, NAESB/FERC mandates many business processes, all of which are supported by a CPTMS. For operators with multiple diverse assets, a single CPTMS is capable of individually managing attributes for each unique asset, while at the same time allowing roll-up of overall corporate processes.

Deploying a CPTMS offers pipeline operators substantial benefits, including capturing new business opportunities, data access, lower total cost of ownership and risk mitigation. Such a system is currently available commercially from a reliable supplier and has been deployed successfully with numerous pipeline companies operating several dozen individual pipeline systems. Pipeline operators would be wise to investigate replacement of their legacy pipeline management systems with a CPTMS to capture these benefits.

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