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Keeping it simple – German petroleum industry discusses standardised data communication

IFLEXX Community 2017 presentation
IFLEXX Community 2017 presentation

Leading players in the German petroleum and IT industries have met to discuss progress made in standardised data communications both in Germany and internationally.

The IFLEXX Community, a group of leading companies from the German petroleum industry, has actively pushed for standardised data communication in the downstream sector for a number of years. Supply chains in the sector are tightly networked, transhipment hubs and their partners exchanging vast quantities of data every day. These processes become significantly more complex if the involved companies use different data formats.

Software and consulting firm Implico invited refinery and tank operators alongside IT service providers to attend the 13th IFLEXX/PIDX meeting at BP in Bochum.

Early on in the meeting, the organisers presented the latest developments in PIDX, the international counterpart to IFLEXX. A key highlight was the recently introduced ‘Planned Movements’, a new standard format for transmitting order data from an ERP system to a terminal management system. This allows tank terminal operators to view all the relevant data in a planned load even before it’s collected.

Other subjects discussed by the IFLEXX members were on-truck computer integration, data exchange portals, IT security and quantity conversion.

Because the density and volume of petroleum products vary with temperature, all quantities are converted to an agreed reference temperature, which in Europe is 15°C. This ensures that companies within the supply chain understand each other when referring to a particular quantity. Consequently, the IFLEXX standard makes provision for the data records to employ different units of quantity at the same time by converting the quantities at the loading terminal.

At the IFLEXX/PIDX meeting, members discussed how the OpenTAS QCM converter could be used to validate the quantities.


Standardised data exchange

Later in the meeting, project managers explained how they had worked with Implico to set up a standardised data exchange system with over 40 loading locations. According to a statement, tank terminals and refineries in seven countries now transfer all their loading data to iGOS, a cloud service designed for the oil and gas industry, where data is checked, harmonised and sent in standardised PIDX format to the company’s SAP system.

"This year's IFLEXX meeting was very informative. We saw once again that standardized data communication is an important concern for all members," said Kay-Peter Buhtz, CEO of Implico.

"We are particularly pleased that we were able to welcome a new member into our ranks this year. It is good to see that the IFLEXX Community is growing and that the jointly developed XML format has developed into a key standard for data communication in the oil and gas industry."

IFLEXX Community 2017 presentation