Industrial cloud improves custody transfer, remote monitoring for oil applications

Trigg Technologies LLC uses a cloud-based platform and remote monitoring to improve custody transfer services accuracy and reliability for crude oil and petroleum products.


Opening the Trigg Technologies enclosure shows the back of a flat panel operator interface, logic, input/output (I/O) modules, and other Allen-Bradley electrical and control components from Rockwell Automation, as shown at Automation Fair 2013. Courtesy:Cloud-based computing applications are integrated into a Lease Automatic Custody Transfer (L.A.C.T.) unit from Trigg Technologies LLC to accurately measure, sample, and transfer hydrocarbons between buyers and sellers. The skid-based unit can be placed at any custody transfer location for oil production facilities, trucks, railcars, pipelines, storage tanks, barges, and tankers.

Flowmeters on the skid transfer information to an enclosure, feed data into the cloud, and the custody transfer is verified in real time; manual paper-based systems pose challenges later, which is difficult and time-consuming when discrepancies are found, technology provider Rockwell Automation suggested. Mass flowmeters compensate for errors based on temperature. Crude oil expands or contracts at 2% per 40 F temperature change, something typical tank gauges don't catch; even a 1% error, with $100/bbl oil at 3000 bbl/day means $1,095,000 of lost revenue per year, Trigg Technologies suggested. A larger application with 2% to 8% error rates can suffer unrecovered losses of $11-14 million per year, according to a Rockwell Automation representative. 

Local, remote access

Trigg Technologies uses the Rockwell Automation cloud platform to help with precise, reliable custody transfer of crude oil and petroleum products, as shown at Automation Fair 2013. Courtesy: CFE Media, Mark T. HoskeInformation about the custody transfer and system health can be seen at the enclosure (see photo) human machine interface (HMI) and on enabled and secure laptops, mobile phones, and tablets, as well as by remote monitoring and support personnel tracking real-time system alarms, event faults, and notifications, offering predictive and preventive maintenance to maximize reliability. The cloud platform also provides secure data storage, workflow assistance, and a cross-platform dashboard with reports. "Cloud technology provides a vehicle to manipulate and manage data. Purchasing software as a service enables an organization to move faster into the realm of operational excellence through better utilization of existing data. Purchasing operations management tools as a service avoids using capital budgets and specifically circumvents issues of funding across assets. Services are paid for as they are used with operating budgets. Utilizing cloud computing to share operating conditional data creates an environment for operational improvement. 'Private clouds' leveraging the same technologies can be deployed if an enterprise has considerations that require all of the data to remain within their enterprise (regulatory compliance, investor compliance, etc.)," as explained in a Rockwell Automation white paper, "Helping Oil and Gas Companies Achieve Operational Excellence."

A Panhandle Meter custody transfer skid was displayed at Rockwell Automation’s Automation Fair in November 2013. Ted Hutto, owner of Panhandle Meter LLC and president and co-owner of Trigg Technologies, was a panelist with other original equipment manufacTed Hutto, owner of Panhandle Meter LLC and president and co-owner of Trigg Technologies, was an invited panelist with other original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) at Rockwell Automation's Automation Fair in November 2013, in Houston, Texas, where these photos were taken.

- Mark T. Hoske, content manager, CFE Media, Control Engineering,, with information from Automation Fair, Trigg Technologies, and Rockwell Automation.

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