Kevin Heller founded Blackrock Automation Ltd. in 2010 to provide advanced development, integration, service, and customer support for a variety of oil and gas applications in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and North Dakota. Blackrock have expertise in a broad selection of automation applications including DCSs, PLCs, RTUs, and HMI/SCADA software systems. Their projects include but are not limited to:
- Gas plants with associated field testing facilities, booster stations, metering stations, riser sites, and wells.
- Polymer /ASP injection facilities and associated wells.
- Oil batteries with associated field testing facilities, custody transfer, and wells.
- Conventional water injection facilities and associated wells.
Choosing SCADA Software
On each project, Blackrock are responsible for selecting HMI/SCADA software that best meets each customer’s needs. For their first five years, the company primarily chose from two products. Each had its benefits, yet both posed challenges when connecting to non-native brands of remote monitoring and control hardware. These projects often required the purchase of third party COMM drivers for each brand of device. Radio polling functionality was also limited.
While researching SCADA products with open connectivity, the team discovered VTScada software from Trihedral. VTScada includes a library of over a hundred direct device drivers allowing developers to configure systems that include multiple brands of PLCs and RTUs. VTScada also provides a built-in suite of advanced polling features.
The Blackrock team took advantage of Trihedral’s week-long training courses to get themselves up to speed quickly and to also ensure that they were using VTScada’s unique features for maximum efficiency. Six members of their team have completed the basic course, while five have gone on to become advanced VTScada developers.
VTScada’s integrated architecture and intuitive configuration tools help developers to make efficient use of their limited development time. “…it has enabled us to handle larger scale jobs than we previously could with our manpower,” says Heller. For example, the team was impressed with VTScada’s built-in historian, trending, reporting and SMS message alarm notification.
The SCADA team remain committed to choosing the right tool for the right job. “We will continue to operate in the customer’s best interest and recommend the best product for their application and VTScada will likely be in the running in most cases.”
Blackrock’s growing number of VTScada installations include :
- Zargon Oil & Gas Ltd. are a Western Canadian producer that uses their knowledge of reservoir engineering and the geosciences to increase oil recovery factors and oil production from existing oil reservoirs. They employ a variety of exploitation techniques including waterfloods and tertiary floods.
- Teine Energy are a private company focused on developing low cost, repeatable, long reserve life index, high netback oil and gas assets. Their Viking light oil production and land position portfolio continues to grow in Saskatchewan and Western Canada. Currently Teine control over 480 net sections within the greater Dodsland area. Their completed system includes three servers, ten thin clients, two runtime clients, five plants, and 240 remote sites and counting.
- Birchcliff Energy Ltd. are a Calgary based intermediate oil and gas company that explore for, develop and produce natural gas, light oil and natural gas liquids. Their operations are concentrated in the Peace River Arch area of Alberta, one of the most desirable natural gas and light oil drilling areas in North America. This system currently includes two SCADA servers, one runtime client, thin clients, remote compressors, test facilities, and 180 wells.
- Harvest Operations Corp. is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Korea National Oil Corporation (KNOC). Harvest is a significant operator in Canada’s energy industry offering exposure to exploration, development, and production of crude oil and natural gas (Upstream) and an oil sands project under development in northern Alberta (BlackGold).
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Kevin Heller: 403.715.7666