Formed by three oil and gas professionals who wanted to enact a change in the industry’s use of engineering software, Flowtran began in 2016 after the acquisition of FlowTran and SIROGAS.
Over the last three years, Flowtran has been addressing the requirements of the industry while developing the FlowTran/SIROGAS package with contemporary interfaces and improved usability. The result is Flowtran-X, which has taken the SIROGAS calculation engine and modelling tools of FlowTran and evolved them into an improved user experience, allowing users to visually build and analyse full pipeline systems with ease.
Flowtran-X incorporates a powerful interface, enabling the comprehensive modelling of transient and steady state behaviour in complex pipeline networks. The software focuses on the following key outputs:
- significantly improving the quality of systems engineering to produce less costly, more efficient and more reliable pipeline systems
- tracking and predicting the performance of complex networks
- monitoring systems in real time
- identifying and correcting operational problems, like leaks in installed systems and gas unaccounted for
- accurately modelling steady state and transient behaviour of pipeline networks
- simulating individual components and their interactions with each other
- tightly integrating equipment characteristics, analysis and output with a system’s schematic representation.
Improved experience and accessibility
Flowtran recognised early in its development that the major shortcoming of the original FlowTran package was the complex user interface. The development team was tasked with creating input and output interfaces that have a contemporary look and are intuitive to use.
This includes improved data entry with commonly used units and outputs, which can be easily incorporated into commonly used corporate reporting tools.
Transition from the older versions of FlowTran to Flowtran-X has been simplified through a comprehensive import process; alternatively, new models may be created from the templates provided. The templates include preloaded data for commonly used equipment.
The development of Flowtran-X allows users to move away from installation of dongle-protected software on local machines to a cloud-based secure server which can be accessed via a browser from anywhere with an internet connection.
Flowtran-X allows users to develop multiple scenarios without creating new models. Individual inputs, including gas composition, compressor configuration or pipe size can be changed and a new scenario created to compare development or operational options.
Commonly used gas compositions and compressor curves can be used from the default input menus, or users can create custom specifications as equipment or new gas sources are introduced to the market.
All members of a work team can access a model simultaneously, allowing collaborative scenario development and analysis, even from multiple sites. Each iteration of a model and scenario is logged by Flowtran-X; changes can be tracked to individual users and audited for quality control by users.
A full history of each model iteration is maintained on Flowtran’s server and is always accessible to the user who created it or their company administrator.
Flowtran recognises the security of IT systems is paramount for all businesses. The browser-based approach to software development and deployment is efficient, but can be seen as a risk.
As a result of its data security protocols, Flowtran has chosen Amazon Web Services as the host for Flowtran-X. The company’s website, which is used for access, carries the highest level of secure socket layer certificate available.
Only a company administrator can grant access for a particular user to their business’ folders, files or particular models or reports. These security features have been put in place to provide peace of mind knowing that data and simulations are secure at all times; however, Flowtran recognises some applications require installation of Flowtran-X ‘behind the firewall’, so local installs can be made available.
Flowtran-X can be used to simulate a pipeline throughout its entire lifecycle, from concept to detailed design and operations. Some of the common applications are:
- modelling complex and simple networks
- tracking actual network performance and real time monitoring – both steady state and transient
- predicting network performance
- leak detection
- gas composition and pig tracking
- linepack calculation and monitoring.
Support and consultation
Flowtran is developing an online user forum for users to share experiences and raise issues. For immediate issues, a phone and email helpline is available during business hours.
The company’s industry experts can also develop bespoke pipeline models for customers to use to develop solutions to suit individual needs.
This article was featured in the July edition of The Australian Pipeliner. To view the magazine on your PC, Mac, tablet, or mobile device, click here.
For more information visit the Flowtran website.
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