There are more than 7,000km of crude oil transmission pipelines, and more than 8,000km of natural gas transmission pipelines in the People’s Republic of China. Although there are few product pipelines in China today, the growth of this industry is anticipated, fueled by the rapid development of the economy in China.

The China Petroleum Pipeline Bureau is the largest pipeline operator in China, accounting for more than 6,000km of crude oil and natural gas pipelines. The Langfang-based Staff and Workers College (known simply as the Pipeline College) is a unit of the China Petroleum Pipeline Bureau. Students at the Pipeline College include full-time engineering students, and short-term trainees. In general, the short-term trainees are management and operator level staff who attend the Pipeline College for more advanced training. Having a lack of effective training tools, it was almost impossible for the Pipeline College to provide a really effective training experience, particularly in actual pipeline operations.

In 1996, the Pipeline College developed plans to embrace advanced training tools in order to increase the effectiveness of the training courses it offered. The focus was in two areas: pipeline operations; and Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) set-up and maintenance. To achieve an effective training environment for pipeline operations, a simulation training system was set-up using commercially available pipeline simulation software from Stoner Associates; the PLC training is based on Allen-Bradley equipment.

The operations training center computer systems were configured to accommodate ten trainees simultaneously running their own independent training sessions. The first training courses delivered by the Pipeline College using their new tools were presented in the summer of 1997.

This paper briefly chronicles the development of the pipeline industry in China as a background to the operation of the Pipeline College. The training center hardware and software configurations are described in some detail. The paper describes the Pipeline College’s first experiences of using these advanced training tools, and their plans for the future development of the training center.

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