Cetix’s Three-Decade Journey with Mutual Energy: The SNIP Pipeline Project Explained

As we approach what has been a successful 30-year partnership with Mutual Energy (MEL), supporting the Scotland-Northern Ireland Pipeline (SNIP) project, we take a look back at the how the project has developed since it began in 1995, and how Cetix has been involved in this incredible journey.

Cetix and SNIP

Owned by Premier Transmission Limited (PTL), part of the MEL group of companies, the SNIP is a 24 in (610 mm), 135 km (84 mi) long natural gas pipeline which runs from Twynholm, Scotland to Islandmagee in Northern Ireland.   

The SNIP was commissioned in 1996 and has a maximum operating pressure of 75 bar (1000 psi).

Cetix’s journey with SNIP began through our trusted partnership with MEL, who commissioned Cetix to support this ongoing project.

Initial involvement was by the design, supply, and installation of control and monitoring Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) systems at various PTL sites across Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Identifying Upgrade Requirements

As part of its ongoing support service, Cetix monitored the life-cycle and obsolescence of supported items across PTL sites. This proactive monitoring highlighted the need to upgrade the dual redundant Rockwell PLC5 systems, as well as upgrading the Stranraer site from PLC5 to a redundant Rockwell ControlLogix system.

Maintenance and Continuous Improvement 

Cetix maintain a spares inventory of PLC and flow computer spares to allow for test scenarios if issues are found. This also ensures that any spares are operational if required on site at any point. 

Test rigs ensure that the Flow Computers and PLC I/O functions correctly, but Cetix also use simulation tools where appropriate. 

As a systems integrator, Cetix maintain close relationships with Rockwell and other OEMs and receive software upgrades and toolkits from them, as well as having the additional support backup vie their Technical Support website and via phone. 

Drawing modifications are performed if required and submitted to SGN and PTL for approval before final CAD versions are submitted to the MEL drawing register. 

Cetix visit each PTL site annually to perform maintenance activities (including inspection and backing up of PLC and Flow Computer data). RTU maintenance visits include:

  • Visual inspection of RTU equipment including PLCs, flow computers, communications equipment and PanelView operator interface units. 
  • Replace batteries for PLC processors as per the manufacturer’s recommendations and PanelView bulbs as required.
  • Provide a written report detailing any recommendations or issues found. 
  • Obtain up to date backups of PLC software and Flow Computer configurations. 

Looking to the future

As they continue this remarkable journey, Cetix remains a prominent contributor to this complex and high-profile project. 

Ken Brown, Engineering Director at Cetix, said: “The SNIP Pipeline project exemplifies Cetix’s commitment to empowering industrial operations. Our journey from the project’s inception to ongoing maintenance showcases our dedication to reliability, innovation, and client satisfaction”.