March 2010 Vol. 237 No. 3


Green Software Solution Can Save Pipeline Companies On Power Use

Keith Ferguson

Green solutions can often mean spending a great deal of green. From new departments full of power- optimization professionals who are searching for the best energy-savings solutions to researching the robust offering of energy-saving equipment, pipeline companies have their work cut out navigating the maze.

With Congress talking about increasing taxes for the largest users of power in the United States, pipeline companies and crude batch refineries may find power costs increasing by double digits in just the next few years – possibly sooner.

Recently though, SSI Scheduling, based in New Caney, TX, announced an automated scheduling-power optimization solution that could save pipeline companies millions of dollars in power costs while also making these companies appear more environmentally conscious. The new solution includes a power- optimization strategy that decreases a company’s pipeline power usage, which, in turn, reduces the company’s carbon footprint. In this case, going green saves a lot of cold, hard green.

While many current green solutions created for pipeline companies require a purchase of new equipment that will be an investment that returns a savings over the long term, the power-optimization solution offered by SSI works with the company’s current pipeline power expenditures to reduce the actual amount of power required each day and every day thereafter. A typical pipeline company could realize a true, bottom-line savings within the first 30 days.

The solution immediately offers a simple process for pipeline companies to decrease power usage without any change in current performance levels. By working with a pipeline’s current structure, personnel and operational procedures, the solution is easily adopted by any company. The training required to operate the system software is so simple that a team can be trained in an afternoon.

By contrast to other green solutions available to pipeline companies, this new software solution is built upon technology that has existed for nearly two decades and has only recently been integrated for a power optimization solution that works with the company’s current power usage. This new software unites a pipeline’s scheduling department, power optimization goals and operations team to achieve predictable power-usage savings. This is the only fully tested scheduling and power-optimization software working in the world today, and initial estimates predict a conservative 5-10% savings on annual power usage for each company utilizing the software.

The power in this solution lies in the ease of use for those who must use it and the complex mathematics that allow the solution to be predictable. The room for error is minimized through the software’s simplicity and ease of use. The software works for batched pipelines, handling crude pipeline into the refineries and product pipelines out of the refineries. The integrated dual-optimized solution also saves pipelines money by decreasing pipeline overruns.

Scheduling menu

The power optimization program operates with proprietary scheduling software, and can be installed in as little as four weeks. A company recently saved 40% of power usage after operational inefficiencies were revealed and addressed.

SSI Scheduling, an international player, claims it has the most advanced and accurate crude and product pipeline automated scheduling software in the world. ConocoPhillips has been running their software and systems for more than 17 years. SSI offers a software suite that schedules both batched crude pipelines and batched product pipelines and performs terminal analysis for terminals that take deliveries from pipelines (including TRANSPORT4 data).

Keith Ferguson is the founder of SSI Scheduling. His company has worked with ConocoPhillips, Hess Corporation, Citgo, Valero, PDVSA, Pennzoil, Suncor Energy, Union Pacific and Williams. He can be reached at 469-831-2450, 281-399-8203,

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