Thousands of Sites & Millions of Tags Easily Managed

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Project Overview

Pioneer Natural Resources is an oil and gas company with operations in Colorado, Oklahoma and Texas. They focus on upstream and mid-stream processes. Pioneer currently operates 14,000 sites consisting of horizontal and vertical oil wells, tank batteries, salt water disposals, compressor systems, frac ponds, water wells and pipelines. Their sites and locations have traditionally been operated by seven different business units—each utilizing their own I&E contractors and SCADA teams. Most sites are located in very remote areas of West and South Texas. Operations must travel hundreds of miles each day in a coordinated effort to visit each location physically to check on operations and monitor for environmental issues. The various business units use a combination of 38 different SCADA tools to assist with their operations. Because of the sheer size of the operations, number of platforms and users, uniformity is non-existent.

In 2014, Pioneer created a corporate SCADA group tasked with leading the development of an enterprise-class SCADA system that manages 40,000 devices (PLCs, Pump off Controllers, Embedded Control), 4-6 million tags, 14,000 sites across 2,000 unique users. Ignition was selected as the platform and Trimax Systems was selected to lead the development.

Trimax Systems, Inductive Automation, and our partners proposed an enterprise-class SCADA system that would push the limits of what Ignition had previously accomplished. Utilizing a redundant gateway architecture and 7 remote tag providers via the Gateway Area Network (GAN) module, we currently manage more than 6 million tags. This will scale to 11 million by the end of Phase 2. Trimax served as a Beta tester for the GAN module during development and this feedback loop greatly reduced the amount of development time required to produce the module for production.

Trimax wrote a custom module that fully utilizes all features of the Twilio API in order to more effectively manage SMS alarm notification. This is a key feature of the project. We currently manage between 500 and 1000 alarm notifications per day to more than 100 users. Our alarm notification module has helped drive the customer to manage alarm configuration more thoroughly, reducing the number of nuisance alarms by a factor of 5. Native integration with Active Directory has given the corporate SCADA group and IT the ability to manage the more than 2,000 users in one place. User management has never been easier for them. Seven-thousand legacy, vertical wells in West Texas are managed using another third-party SCADA system that caters solely to oil and gas. Because of the limitations in the serial communications network, both Ignition and the legacy SCADA cannot access the Modbus pump-off controllers at the same time. Utilizing the Ignition SDK, Trimax wrote a custom tag provider that interfaces with the legacy SCADA system’s SQL database. We use the results of a custom query to create tags in Ignition for each of the 7,000 legacy wells—providing real-time and historical trending along with alarming and notification. This has been a key feature of our project and has provided incalculable value to the client.

Utilizing the Web Dev Module, SQL management and the Python API, Trimax has built several software interfaces with third-party accounting and engineering software. In most cases, process data is encoded as a JSON and posted to the TIBCO data bus for decoding and servicing. This feature has reduced the need for the manpower required to manually collect and service the important process data for accounting, EHS, and engineering. Flow totals, tank levels, pressures and alarm statistics are now automatically collected and sent off to the customer in the format of their choice. This is a key feature of the application, one that will continue to grow in scope and utility.

The most important feature of the application is the ability to add/remove sites quickly (CRUD: create, read, update, delete). We built an oil and gas framework with a CRUD environment so the client can manage sites using an Ignition front-end while maintaining an object-oriented structure on the back-end. Bringing a new site online, converting from free-flowing to artificial lift, adding a new device like a second flow meter, taking a site offline are all accomplished using the same Ignition front-end. On the back-end, we use a combination of custom code, third-party API and SQL to manage the addition, removal and editing of sites in the application. This framework will save the client millions of dollars over the course of a decade in contractor and employee costs alone.

The next step is to complete the integration of the four remaining business units into the application. We are currently working with Inductive Automation and Kepware to build an Ignition/Kepware API called Kepware Konnect. We will leverage this API to integrate Kepware management into our oil and gas CRUD framework. This will further reduce site management times and will eliminate the current need to manage OPC and site configuration separately. We have a long list of features in our back-log that we will integrate in the coming years as we continue to partner with Pioneer to reduce costs and increase productivity in their oil and gas operations. First on the list is the mobile application.


Geographical overview of Pioneer Natural Resources.


Pioneer operates 14,000 sites consisting of horizontal and vertical oil wells, tank batteries, salt water disposals, and more.


Utilizing the Web Dev Module, SQL management and the python API, Trimax has built several software interfaces with 3rd party accounting and engineering software.

Project Information

Created By:   Trimax Systems, Inc.

Trimax Systems, Inc., was started in 1983. From the beginning, their goal was to provide unique solutions by establishing a relationship with their clients which focused on a deep understanding of the customer’s process and needs. They believed that they needed to be not only experts in controls, but also experts in the industry of their customers. To this day, Trimax strives to honor this commitment to client relationships by providing expert controls engineering guided by a continuing focus on education and experience. Our goal is always to understand your process first, and then provide solutions tailored specifically to your needs. Our loyal customers know and trust our expertise, counting on our unique understanding of their business.

Project For:   Pioneer Natural Resources

Pioneer Natural Resources is a large, Texas-based independent exploration and production company that is focused on helping to meet the world’s energy needs. We deliver industry-leading production and reserve growth through onshore, unconventional, oil and gas resource development in the United States, while providing opportunities for growth and enrichment for our business partners, employees and the communities in which we operate.

Posted on September 1, 2015