Introduction to Industrial Control Systems

Industrial Control Systems by Industry

Industrial Control Systems for Oil & Gas

The Oil and Gas industry is a good example of a variety of complex systems, or a system of systems.


SCADA may be used in combination with seismic systems in order to understand the formations underneath the ground before drilling. The drill process can then be monitored to determine what is being drilled – whether that is bedrock or other material that may damage the drill. The speed of the drill can be changed accordingly.

The process of optimizing the asset to get the maximum results without damage is key in exploration.


Once the resource (oil) has been located and is being pumped, monitoring the pumping process and the health of the motors can help prevent problems that could occur. A significant change in behaviour or performance gives insight into the health of the motors.

SCADA for Oil and Gas


After the oil is pumped, it then goes through a pipeline. To make sure the pipe is not leaking and is optimal in terms of how much oil it’s producing and delivering without stress, a device called a “pig” is run down the pipeline. After inspecting the pipeline, information can be relayed back via industrial control. This can indicate where, specifically, maintenance is required and speed up the repair process.

Oil SCADA pipeline


Monitoring the refining process can indicate if the big motors which are involved in separation are operating optimally, and when to take assets out of service before they breaks down.

At gas stations today, each of the pumps have some industrial control-type solution that makes sure there are no leaks and gas is not being sprayed everywhere. There are various kinds of monitoring control functions that make sure new pricing signals can be sent, to make sure the right amount is being charged and the right amount is being pumped into the car.

All of that monitoring is very subtle industrial control happening behind the scenes to protect you and your assets.