Energy & Infrastructure

Midstream 101: Control rooms

Staff Reports

Last week we learned that compressors continually pressurize natural gas in the pipelines to keep the gas moving. And while the gas (…or oil…or NGLs…or other products…) is on the move, it’s being monitored constantly.

As the product moves through the various facilities and pipelines along its route to our downstream consumers, the volume, temperature and pressure are being monitored and measured. This is key to ensure the safe and efficient operation of a pipeline system.


Williams has many Control rooms throughout the U.S. and Canada to monitor midstream assets.

The Control room (yes it is an actual room) is the “command and control” of midstream operations. Control rooms are staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by highly-trained controllers that keep tabs on every leg of pipeline systems, facilities and plants using a system of computer screens, alarms and telecommunications equipment.

Control rooms perform a number of vital functions:

  • Real time monitoring of product that enters and leaves the pipeline system.
  • Real time monitoring of operational status, flow rates, pressure and temperature readings. This ensures operational safety and efficient product delivery for customers.
  • Controllers are the first line of defense in locating and responding to abnormalities such as pressure changes or compressor failures and monitor field personnel responding to these conditions.
  • Emergency communications for our employees and emergency response agencies in situations that require it.

Control rooms make sure the right product is in the right place, at the right temperature, at the right pressure, at the right time. Whew!

Next up: Pipeline Safety and Integrity