MDIS publishes new international industry standard on the MCS-DCS communications interface


13 January 2017: The MCS-DCS Interface Standardisation (MDIS) network today announces the publication of an international standard on the MCS (Master Control Station) DCS (Distributed Control System) communications interface for the subsea oil & gas industry. The OPC UA based interface, developed by MDIS network members in collaboration with the OPC Foundation, has the long-term aim of reducing the costs of subsea field development by bringing more uniformity to the planning and execution stages, as well as minimising the duplication of engineering efforts.

One of the MDIS steering committee members, stated: “Standardisation, such as what has been achieved with the release of this specification, provides tangible benefits for the entire subsea industry by reducing technical complexity, cost and schedules. Already, prior to the release of the specification, the industry has shown an active interest in utilising the standard on subsea projects.”

With the current cost pressures on the subsea industry, there has been an increasing need for standardisation as a means of reducing the cost of subsea field developments. The interface between the MCS and DCS is the meeting point between the subsea vendor’s products and those of the topside controls vendor. Historically this interface has experienced integration issues, leading to increased engineering and testing time as well as additional one-off costs on many subsea projects. Standardising this interface with the proven OPC UA industrial standard will reduce project delivery times, remove repeated one-time engineering costs, improve reliability and increase confidence in equipment interoperability.

The OPC UA interface provided a robust communication interface and a standardised information modelling capability that can be implemented on any hardware platform. The OPC Foundation also provides certification, allowing vendors to prove their compliance to the MDIS and OPC UA standards, greatly reducing risks in projects. “The release of the OPC UA MDIS companion specification and corresponding reference implementation provides the suppliers and owner / operators a complete solution for secure reliable information integration and advanced interoperability across previously disparate devices and applications,” says Thomas J. Burke, OPC Foundation President. “I am very pleased with the excellent work that all of the suppliers and the oil companies did in developing a complete and robust object model, leveraging the OPC UA information modelling architecture. This is truly a very exciting collaboration that has been performed getting competitors working together to cooperate to develop a very important information model.”

Crispin Keanie, Managing Director of OTM, commented: “It is great to be able to start the year with the publication of the MDIS Standard, which will increase the reliability of the subsea to topside interface. Throughout 2016, OTM was driving standardisation efforts as a means of increasing efficiencies and reducing costs in the oil and gas industry; this will continue into 2017. Even as the oil price starts to recover, standardisation will be key to making projects more profitable. It is encouraging that many operators have already expressed an intention to implement the MDIS Standard on future projects.”

The MDIS standard is available via the OPC Foundation and MDIS website.

The MDIS network is managed by OTM Consulting.


Lucy Beverley
Marketing & Communications Manager
+44 1372 822395


About MCS-DCS Interface Standardisation (MDIS) Network

Established in 2010, the MCS-DCS Interface Standardisation (MDIS) network aims to streamline the Master Control System (MCS) and Distributed Control System (DCS) communications on topside systems by developing a standard interface, including a standard communication protocol. Standardisation of the interface simplifies implementation of data communication links, whilst increasing data quality. Using the network group as a collaborative resource to the industry, it is able to facilitate information exchange in furthering development of the standard MCS-DCS interface.

MDIS has 23 member companies consisting of subsea (MCS) vendors, DCS vendors, automation suppliers and operators.


About OPC Foundation

Since 1996, the OPC Foundation has facilitated the development and adoption of the OPC information exchange standards. As both advocate and custodian of these specifications, the Foundation’s mission is to help industry vendors, end-users, and software developers maintain interoperability in their manufacturing and automation assets. The organization serves over 450 members worldwide in the Industrial Automation, Building Automation,
Oil & Gas, and Smart Energy sectors.

About OTM Consulting

OTM Consulting is an international oil & gas technology advisory, development and deployment consulting company. With over 20 years’ industry experience, we help oil & gas companies to maximise the value from their investments in R&D and technology. Our services aim to help you understand market & technology opportunities, trends and risks; decide which technologies to invest in and how; develop innovative technology solutions; and deploy technologies better and faster. With science and technology at the core of everything we do, and a team of industry specialists in reservoirs, wells, subsea, deepwater, unconventionals and operations, we are committed to delivering insight and innovation and are passionate about seeing R&D serve our industry. OTM Consulting is a Science Group company. Science Group provides independent advisory and leading-edge product development services focused on science and technology initiatives. It has six offices globally, two UK-based dedicated R&D innovation centres and more than 350 employees. Other Science Group companies include OTM Consulting, Oakland Innovation and Leatherhead Food Research.