Out-of-the-box approach helps ABB to deliver gas distribution control system

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The SCADA-based solution monitors and controls gas flow in tea estates spread across the districts of upper Assam, India.

The SCADA-based solution monitors and controls gas flow in tea estates spread across the districts of upper Assam. 

Assam Gas Company Ltd. (AGCL) , a Govt. of Assam undertaking transports natural gas to a large network of more than 400 tea estates, 1,000 commercial establishments, 31,000 domestic consumers as well as several big industrial consumers. 

As the state utility evaluates the future with an aim to build a sustainable gas distribution system, one of the major issues it is trying to tackle is optimizing gas flow along its extensive pipeline ensuring gas availability as per pre-defined limit even to last-mile consumer. The company has adopted a digital solution to automatically track the consumption and reduce gas loss.  

Manual collection of gas consumption reading from bigger industrial consumers and each tea estates, which are not located in industrial parks rather in interior areas always remain a mammoth task. In case of supplier/major industrial consumers, gas figure is collected on daily basis and tea estates’ gas figure is recorded daily but collected at the end of every month manually. In addition to this, there was the issue of uneven distribution of the gas, as the first few centers of the distribution network would end up drawing more gas and exhausting beyond the defined limit, while the users towards the end of the pipeline would not receive the required supply of gas for their tea estates. 

The distributor needed a modern digital solution to monitor, control and manage natural gas supply across its tea estates. The tea estates are spread across six districts of upper Assam area. ABB successfully delivered a state-of-the-art SCADA and telecom solution for the 74 tea estates and six big industrial consumers. These are also comprised of three pressure regulating stations, one bi-directional metering station along AGCL’s pipeline.  

The SCADAvantage™ system facilitates advanced control and real-time monitoring of gas flow from a remotely located control room. It is a high-quality solution that enables safe and reliable management of distributed assets. On the completion of Phase I, ABB was awarded with additional contract for 325 locations by Assam Gas Company Ltd after competitive bidding, to be carried out over the next four years as part of Phase II. 

Main data

Assam Gas Company Ltd. (AGCL)
Site:  Assam, India
Customer need:  Optimizing gas flow ensuring gas availability as per pre-defined limit to last-mile consumers 
Scope:  To automatically track the consumption and reduce gas loss.
ABB Ability™ SCADAvantage™, Pressure Reduction Skids, Metering Skid, Field Instrumentation
Customer benefits:
Real-time data acquisition, detecting gas leakages and pressure issues, automatic billing and saving costs 

Innovative telecom solution 

One of the major hurdles of the project was communication. The data collected from each of the tea estates needed to be transferred over a wireless General Packet Radio Services (GPRS)network to the central monitoring location. This required a lot of bandwidth and ultimately prevented data flow. 

To improve the poor network connection at scattered locations, ABB engineers collaborated with a telecom service provider to develop a novel solution, which enabled the tea estates to transfer data over the wireless network. 

The team was able to set up the wireless communication network for AGCL on schedule, to allow secure, real-time data acquisition through SMS, email, mobility and data access.

Optimizing gas flow 

ABB’s SCADA technology plays a significant role in city gas distribution (CGD) networks, helping utilities to detect gas leakages and pressure issues that could lead to accidents, environmental hazards and revenue loss. It also enables modernization of the management of gas transmission, distribution and scheduling. 

ABB’s pressure regulation (metering, filtration and pressure let down) skids, ultrasonic based metering module solution and the advanced control system, ensures gas distribution to the last mile connection while maintaining the optimum pressure along the length of the pipeline. Our control system helps AGCL to regulate the gas flow according to the requirements of each tea estate. Flow meters gather data on the usage and notify customers once they reach their preset limits. 

ABB’s digital solution eliminates the need for physical data collection from each site, which reduces manpower costs for AGCL. Additionally, an enterprise resource planning system that is integrated with the SCADA solution, will enable automatic billing for the gas distributor.  

Agile control system  

A flexible and scalable management solution is critical for oil and gas companies that are looking to shape a secure and sustainable energy future. 

ABB’s leading SCADA technology is well-positioned to be an enabler of modernization for gas distributors across the world.  

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