Data is King and SCADA Grants Access

By Mark Sen Gupta

Technology Trends

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SCADA has evolved into a more robust technology capable of serving as the channel for information flow to several higher-level applications, including supply chain applications. The midstream segment of the oil & gas industry, with its focus on transport (pipelines), is particularly supply chain-centric. SCADA, long associated with operations management of pipelines, must have the functionality to provide supply chain systems with real-time information to enable better business decisions faster.

SCADA Moves to Collaborative Production Management

Just as the upstream and downstream portions of the oil & gas industry have become more sophisticated in integrating operations management with business processes, so too will the midstream portion. The Supervisory Control portion of SCADA is already transitioning to better accommodate a collaborative production management approach. This collaboration is closely tied to supply chain and other business processes that link to upstream and downstream industry workflows. Most of the issues that pipeline management programs address may also be viewed in the context of creating an efficient supply chain. Functions such as custody transfer, accounting and transactional management, batch tracking, nominations, and terminal management all reside in both the operations management and the supply chain domains.

There is also an increasing need to operate the midstream portion of the industry as a value-add business and to generate increased revenue from existing assets. Business drivers for implementing supply chain management initiatives include clean fuels regulatory issues, an increasing product mix, increasing market volatility, and tightened regulatory constraints. The net result is a more complex set of scheduling and inventory management issues that are forcing the adoption of more efficient business processes.

It has been said that IIoT/Cloud is the next iteration of SCADA. There is some validity to that claim; however, IIoT is bigger and is better described as an enabler for new solutions. SCADA makes up a small but necessary part of an IIoT solution because of its ability to gather data and serve it up to computational resources and various data consumers that may now reside outside the enterprise.

You can examine these issues and more, as well as information about the global market size and forecast for SCADA systems in the oil and gas industry, in ARC's new study, which was published just last week. 

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