Our successful implementation of technical enhancements and updates has increased the reliability of our transportation system.
Specifically, we have updated our SCADA system ("Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition") with the latest available state-of-the art technology. This system, operated from our main office, allows us to monitor and control about 300 EFM Measurement Points (Electronic Flow Measurement) installed along 7,993 Km of pipeline as well as supervise 30 Compressor Plants.
Among the most remarkable advantages of the SCADA System, it uses a standard widely employed in the industry: OPC technology (OLE for Process Control). TGS made this strategic decision in order to achieve the greatest possible degree of normalization and flexibility available, as well as to improve the system integration to the remaining corporate infrastructure.
The implementation of these technologies minimizes the complexity and costs related to the development and maintenance of interfaces among the different Systems that we operate (Measurement System, SPAC System of Application, Programming, Allocation and Control, Online Pipeline Model, etc.) and even with our Customers' SCADA Systems (Producers and Gas Distributors) with whom we also share information in real time.
The System also has operation stations distributed along the LAN and WAN networks with access to data in real time and historic records as well as Alarms and Events. This information is mainly used by the Gas Control area for the operation of the transportation system and by different Measurement stations for maintenance purposes.
All field equipment, remote terminal units, (RTUs) and Flow Computers also operate on a standard protocol (Modbus ENRON) which allows the coexistence of a great diversity of equipment from different suppliers, which also creates normalized and consistent information in line with the requirements of the Tax Measurement department.
The reliability and wide scope of the information related to the operating parameters of the facilities (compressor plants, measurement stations, etc.) available at our main office through the SCADA System, allowed the reliable set up and operation of an On-line Transportation System simulation software. This technology allows a continuous follow-up of the operating conditions of all transportation bases. Likewise, it allows us to enhance our service, maximizing the transported gas volume, minimizing the impact of unusual operations in transportation and detecting in advance the possible variations in the pipeline efficiency that would unavoidably affect the system transportation capacity.
Moreover, the available operating information bears the Off-Line Transportation System simulation in those tasks related to capacity expansions, planning of special operations, transient analyses for setting of line-break shutdown systems, design of modifications to existing facilities, etc.
Currently, the natural gas transportation system has a total of 84 installed turbo-compressor units, 75 of which are required to be in service to comply with the volumes associated to Firm Transportation Agreements. Forty-three of these (57% of the total) are Solar - Saturno, Centauro, Taurus models - and Mars 90/100. We have the knowledge required to carry out major maintenance of turbo-compressors units Solar Mars 90 and Mars 100. This was added to the installation of a new specific section in our own Turbo-machinery Workshop installed at General Cerri Complex, Bahía Blanca, which allows us to optimize operations and maintenance time and costs. Thanks to the new Workshop and the incorporation of the new technology added to the previously available one, TGS is qualified to carry out the major maintenance of all Solar models, except for the Taurus model.