Storms, unplanned outages and changes in inventory levels are normal influencing factors on the price of natural gas – this is the norm. Added to that are the combination of new influences such as environmentally focused regulatory mandates and political conflicts globally which have contributed to recent historically volatile gas prices. For example, in the first quarter of 2022, U.S. natural gas price volatility reached its highest level in the past 20 years. Moreover, natural gas price volatility averaged 124% during the first quarter of 2022 and 75% during the second quarter.
Essentia’s client is one of the largest processors and transporters of natural gas in the United States. The client’s position in the industry is enhanced by a very large and diverse portfolio of assets spanning the entire natural gas value chain from upstream gathering, through midstream transportation & processing, to delivery.
Having deployed Allegro 10 years prior, the client’s business had grown and expanded substantially in the time since. Also, competing priorities in the technology area were such that the client found itself behind by 10 releases since that of its version of the Allegro commodity trading and risk management (CTRM) system. An Allegro software upgrade from version 8 to the latest “Horizon” release was needed. The client’s leadership hoped that deployment of new features could also replace the many class event-based customizations which were necessary at the time of initial deployment.
Understanding that the client’s business scale is among the largest, the number of critical interfaces to Allegro are many, and the daily user population using the system is in the hundreds, a transition from the legacy Allegro 8 version to the latest platform release – Allegro “Horizon” – required meticulous attention and execution.
Regarding interfaces, it was critically important that integration with various critical 3rd party systems occur without disruption. These include:
- Integration of price data feeds from multiple 3rd-party data providers.
- Integration with upstream and downstream systems to manage core functions such as credit, transfer pricing, inventory, settlements, invoicing, and accruals in a seamless manner.
- Integration with EDI systems to capture volumetric inputs.
Conducting comprehensive testing, including system and regression tests, alongside meticulous end-user acceptance testing, was crucial to guarantee the accuracy of results before the critical cutover phase.
Finally, the interdependencies between the Allegro upgrade project and other strategic, enterprise-scale initiatives ongoing within the client had to be well-understood and project schedules aligned.
Widely recognized for having the industry’s elite team of commodity trading system experts, Essentia delivered. Results included:
- Upgraded Allegro 8 to the latest Horizon release.
- Assessed over ~1,000 class event customizations and rationalized against newer out-of-box features.
- Migrated from Oracle relational database to Microsoft SQL Server.
- Hypercare support during the period immediately after cutover which ensured staff had the knowledge and skills necessary to ensure successful organizational change.
- No disruptions to business and seamless operational continuity.
Transforming outdated processes and suboptimal business workflows with upgraded, modern capabilities, the client was able to capture the process automation potential offered by the latest software version. Furthermore, the client achieved compliance with its vendor. Finally and most importantly, the client has maximized it’s potential to gain the optimal decision support it needs for commercial and operational success in today’s volatile gas trading environment.
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