Gassco is a Norwegian state-owned company that transports natural gas towards Continental Europe (including Germany, Belgium and France) and the United Kingdom. The Gassco control room monitors the gas transport over the pipelines that flow along the coasts of Western Europe. In 2008, Barco took care of a complete control room refurbishment project, that also included a large video wall and control room media management platform. Now OpSpace, Barco’s operator workspace solution, is also deployed at Gassco Zeebrugge.
An 840 kilometers (522 miles) long pipeline, running on the bottom of the sea, transports the natural gas from Norway towards Zeebrugge. There, the gas is divided into a volume intended for the Belgian market, and a part that continues towards Dunkirk (France). A staff of about 30 people handles both the Belgian and French gas deliveries, from the central control room in Zeebrugge.
“From our control room, we monitor and control the steady stream of gas flowing from Norway through this pipeline,” says Tom Brondeel, Operations Supervisor at Gassco. “We monitor not only the amount of gas that flows into Belgium and France, but also a number of technical parameters to uphold security of the installations. For example, the difference in gas pressure (which is 110 bars upon entering the pipeline and 40 bars less when it leaves), requires a temperature adjustment. This needs to be performed with the needed accuracy. Furthermore, we also monitor safety of the site. Everybody who performs a constructional work at the Gassco site, needs to pass via the control room. Plus, there is also a CCTV system installed that allows us to monitor site security.”
Gassco Zeebrugge has been long-time critical-infrastructure control room customer of Barco. The video wall, installed in 2008, was recently upgraded to further extend the system lifetime and increase ROI. The next step was to streamline the operators’ efficiency. Up to that point, there were 6 screens for every operator, and 3 keyboard/mouse combinations to operate them. Barco OpSpace enables the operators to control all their operational sources using just a single keyboard and mouse.
“Our setup has now become one seamless digital canvas. We can open all the same applications, so the look and feel of the setup was not changed – except that we gained efficiency because we did not have to continuously switch from one keyboard and mouse to another,” Brondeel continues. “We have switched to three large screens, but this makes no difference for OpSpace’s operation. The software is easy to understand and to use and contributes to the streamlining of our operational processes.”
The cooperation between Gassco and Barco goes back more than 10 years and has always been satisfactory. “In our industry, reliability is the highest priority. We trust that Barco is the company that can best guarantee this. We see a lot of passion and creativeness in Barco employees. Whenever a challenge popped up during the implementation of this new component in our complex environment, Barco tackled it with a lot of expertise and a can-do spirit. This persistence to succeed is something we greatly value. There are always two people present in the control room: an operator and a supervisor. Today, the operator desk is using OpSpace in full, and after the upcoming system evaluation we will switch the supervisor side as well,” Brondeel concludes.