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World’s Longest Smart Pipeline

2013/3/30 18:13:57


With a total length of ten thousands kilometers, the Central Asia–China gas pipeline bestrides Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, and China. As the longest gas pipeline in the world, it plays a very important role in the national energy strategy of countries along it. As a joint venture of the China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) and the Kazakhstan Oil (KTO), Asia Gas Pipeline (AGP) is responsible for the construction, operation and maintenance of the Central Asia–China gas pipeline in the Kazakhstan segment (1,304 km). Huawei undertook the partial project of communication and Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) for the long-distance gas pipeline in Central Asia, Kazakhstan segment.


Kazakhstan segment of Central Asia–China gas pipeline has more than 60 valve chambers, five compressor stations, and two metering stations. These sites are mostly distributed in deserted areas, therefore safe operation and intelligent management is very important. The major challenges are as follows:

High-safety equipment

The high-risk and harsh environment faced by long-distance gas pipeline required strict enclosure-protection class (IP65) and explosion-proof grade (IIB T4) of the communication and SCADA equipment.

Real-time communication

The various parameters of the gas pipeline should be monitored in real time via fiber optic cables and satellites to ensure 100% uninterrupted transmission.

Integration of multiple vendors’ systems

In addition to legacy devices used in transmission and data communication, AGP also needed to consider the laying of fiber optic cable, wireless cluster and shortwave as well as civil work of green fields, mobile communication vehicles, IP-PBX, earth stations for satellites and systems including management system (trans-national satellites transmission), VC, IT server systems, video surveillance, intrusion detection systems (CCTV & IDS), automated data collection system (SCADA) and so on.

Harsh operating environment

Most stations and valve chambers are located in the desolate areas or even desert. To ensure pipeline safety, it is critical to protect the normal collection and real-time transmission of the pressure, flow, temperature, and other important signals.

Complex transnational co-ordination

This pipeline bestrode four countries: Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, and China. AGP needed to ensure the smooth interconnection between Central Asia–China gas pipeline and the West-to-East Gas Pipeline in Chinese territory. The accuracy of information exchange and transnational measurement, seamless connection between Uzbekistan segment and Chinese segment, and real-time communication between Beijing and Astana control center must be guaranteed.

Other challenges

The project must deal with the wireless environmental assessment, applications for satellite licenses, clusters, short waves, and implementation of a large number of fire-fighting systems.


In order to ensure the real-time and uninterrupted transmission of SCADA data, Huawei proposed a solution using optical transmission as the primary channel, and satellite transmission as the auxiliary channel.

To guarantee the communication coverage along the patrolled pipeline, Huawei provided wireless-cluster and short wave-system solutions, which established wireless and shortwave stations in each major station (gas compression and metering stations). Furthermore, three Emergency Communications Vehicles (ECVs) were used on standby to ensure uninterrupted communication along the whole line.

To keep the pipeline safe, a CCTV & IDS solution was also provided by Huawei. The CCTV system was installed in each valve chamber and CCTV with laser intrusion detection systems were installed in major stations, to enable real-time monitoring.

For the system communication, Huawei provided a unified solution that integrates voice over IP, IT server and high-definition video for IP-PBX voice system, video conferencing system and office collaboration software to support daily office operations. Meanwhile, the cluster communication system was utilized in producing scheduling which made the communication lower latency, faster and higher quality.

For the energy supply, this solution provided CCVT generators which took natural gas as fuel, and the electricity demand could be satisfied due to 4,000W power when the dual generators were running.


After the completion of the project, 33 RTU valve chambers operated properly even when left unattended. The number of officers in the five compressor and two metering stations was reduced by 50 percent. In particular, the timeliness and accuracy of the transnational measurement data was greatly improved. In the past, transnational natural gas metering was operated manually. The difference among different countries for gas measurement brought disagreements among owners, customs and commodity inspectors from Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and China, even the subtle differences. But after this project, the unified access to SCADA system made the data consistent and timely.

It was worth mentioning that the run-through of the last 4.5 km of fiber optic cable on the border of China and Kazakhstan meant the physical connectivity between Central Asia–China gas pipeline and China West-to-East gas pipeline was available for the first time on December 25, 2011. Moreover, the fiber optic cable along the pipeline laid a physical foundation for unified control and management.

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