Siemens has launched Pipelines 4.0, an integrated approach to the engineering, supply and life cycle optimisation of pipeline assets. The solution combines equipment and turnkey packages for pipeline stations with data analytics, life cycle service and cyber security, building on the company’s extensive pipeline experience, product breadth and domain expertise in rotating equipment, electrification, automation and digitalisation.
While unconventional resource development has enhanced production in North America, it has also strained transportation infrastructure, namely pipelines – the most efficient means to move oil and gas to market. The resulting ‘bottleneck’ poses an obstacle to the entire industry.
Despite the pressing demand for pipelines, operators face a number of challenges of their own. These include a potentially ‘lower for longer’ price of oil and gas, intense competition, the need to reduce CAPEX and OPEX, aging assets, the effective management of large amounts of data, cyber security concerns, tightening legislation and the looming retirement of highly experienced personnel.
Integrated solutions for pump stations
Pipelines 4.0 is Siemens’ answer to this complex conundrum. It comprises highly integrated offerings and turnkey solutions for pump and compressor stations to enhance efficiency; data analytics and life cycle services to optimise critical asset performance; cyber security services to protect information and ‘smart’ equipment; and dedicated support teams to facilitate inter-company communications.
A long-standing tradition of placing the ‘customer at the core’ has served Siemens well in the pipeline market, especially given the complexity of projects and need for close operator-supplier collaboration.
“We work with our pipeline customers to deliver what matters most: safety, efficiency, predictability, reliability, and ultimately, peace of mind,” said Matthew Chinn, who heads the global Siemens oil and gas account management team, as well as new equipment sales and customer operations for the Dresser-Rand business.
“And it is precisely our close proximity to customers that drove the development of Pipelines 4.0. The market has evolved, and we have evolved with it,” Chinn added.
The approach draws on the company’s extensive midstream track record. A major supplier on multiple large-scale projects, Siemens supports liquids and natural gas pipelines, with a focus on pump and compressor stations, as well as tank farms, terminals and storage facilities. With the industry’s largest installed base of rotating equipment, Siemens also provides motors and drives, automation, electrification (including e-shelters), digitalisation and SCADA solutions.
Rounding out Pipelines 4.0, Siemens offers several business and financing models, including leasing, debt financing and equity investments.
Electric motor driven compressor
Pipelines are indispensable for the safe, reliable, and efficient transportation of natural gas and represent a fundamental lifeline for every national economy. For over 70 years, Siemens has installed more than 1,000 pipeline compressors in countries across the globe.
Pursuant to Pipelines 4.0, the company has added integrated packages to its portfolio, such as an electric motor driven (EMD) compressor. The EMD is pre-engineered for efficient installation and start-up, thereby allowing operators to significantly reduce project lead times. Siemens has the unique ability to offer an extended electrification package that includes compressors, drives, motors, skids, automation, e-shelters, sub-stations and transformers, enabling operators to further streamline interfaces and reduce risk.
Siemens provides integrated solutions for pipeline operators including mission critical rotating equipment, automation, electrification, digitalisation, security, and communication systems. Siemens is truly a ‘one-stop’ solutions provider, enabling the optimisation of the total cost of ownership for a compressor station.
Siemens has now standardised an electric motor driven pipeline compression solution that includes all major capital equipment and auxiliaries into one unique design. Standardised power blocks from 5,000 to 30,000 horsepower are available from Siemens which allow for faster quotes, faster drawing packages, faster deliveries, reduced technical risk, and single point of service.
Siemens all-electric compression solutions combine excellent environmental performance, economical operation, superior availability and wide maintenance intervals, translating into unrivalled lifetime value. Available standard power blocks are designed to match the needs of all stages and aspects of gas transmission.
In addition to the standardised packages, Siemens offers custom-designed packages that are engineered to meet specific customer requirements, for example, solutions with extended operating area to cope with daily or seasonal swings in demand. Whether off-the-shelf or custom-built, Siemens compression solutions undergo elaborate testing of all string components before delivery, ensuring that tight project schedules are met. Siemens’ integrated compressor station control system ensures ultimate dependability and ease of facility management.
At the heart of any natural gas facility is the compressor. Siemens can offer both RFA and RFBB centrifugal compressors. The compressors can be equipped with variable inlet guide vanes designed to help extend the operating range ‘on the fly’ to improve efficiency, reduce energy consumption and lower emissions.
The RFA centrifugal compressor is an axial-inlet design with field-proven efficiencies of up to 91%, which is industry-leading. The RFA is a simple design with an axial inlet, overhung impeller, and only one dry gas seal creating great value for customers.
The RFBB centrifugal pipeline compressor is a beam-style machine that also achieves world-class efficiencies of up to 90%. The RFBB can be used with up to five impellers for higher pressure ratio applications. The RFBB shares many components with the RFA and boasts many of the same benefits in a different configuration.
On the data analytics front, the company recently developed ‘Smart Pump’ to optimise the power consumption of pipeline pump stations. Siemens has invested around $12bn in software acquisitions in the last 10 years and is now one of the world´s top 10 software companies. Software-based solutions include the use of digital twins and the company’s IoT platform, MindSphere, to optimise pipeline asset performance, from pre-FEED through the entire asset life cycle.