UK gas pipeline operator Transco is spending over £100m upgrading outdated technology that controls the sale and distribution of gas to suppliers.
Transco maintains that the upgrade is vital to ensure the 24 x 7 availability and safety of the UK's gas network as well as providing the company with increased commercial opportunities.
Formerly the distribution arm of British Gas, Transco controls gas shipments between the UK's 70 major suppliers, including Centrica and Powergen.
"It is the equivalent of [banking system] BACS. Transco pipes the gas and the system controls the pipelines' valves, pumps, compressors, inlets and major exit points," explained Tim Hargest, manager of technology solutions at Transco.
The new system, called Ulysses, will also process nearly one million electronic transactions a day, covering the physical and commercial gas transportation network in the UK.
"We currently have a command and control system but it's rather old. It's a real mixed bag; a mixture of bespoke telemetry and your classic legacy systems," said Hargest.
The project started just over a year ago, with Logica replacing the telemetry and Transco doing the command and control system in-house. The first go live date is September this year and will involve the changeover of core systems.
Transco is using the project as an opportunity to consolidate the number of IT vendors it uses.
The first decision involved an extension of Oracle products, with its 9i application server being chosen ahead of rival products from market leaders IBM and BEA.
"We were looking at the other mainstream vendors but I have an information systems strategy to simplify our technology. In the past we had a proliferation of software and hardware from different vendors and that is more expensive and less flexible to run," said Hargest.
The company is now in the process of acquiring the hardware and has already chosen Hewlett Packard's high-end Superdome Unix server and XP512 storage platform.
Cotton seedling freezes to death as Chang'e-4 shuts down for the Moon's 14-day lunar night
Fortnite easily out-earns PUBG, Assassin's Creed Odyssey and Red Dead Redemption 2 in 2018
Meteor showers as a service will be visible for about 100 kilometres in all directions
Saturn's rings only formed in the past 100 million years, suggests analysis of Cassini space probe data
New findings contradict conventional belief that Saturn's rings were formed along with the planet about 4.5 billion years ago