Feeds

Software upgrade KOs gas shipping auction system

Fax machines running red hot at UK's National Grid

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

A botched Oracle upgrade last Sunday has denied access to an online trading system used to sell space on the UK gas pipeline network. Fax machines have been running hot all week as every transaction has had to be entered manually.

The Gemini system at the centre of the affair doesn't control movements of gas, nor is it used to buy and sell gas. Rather, it is used to run daily auctions in which spare capacity on the pipeline network can be bought.

Gemini is run by a company called xoserve, jointly owned by the five companies which run the regional pipeline systems.

"Although xoserve itself is relatively new, many of our employees have a rich heritage of providing these types of services and running complex IS systems since the British gas industry was opened up entirely to supply competition in 1996," says the company - having only been founded in 2005.

This time, however, something went wrong. On Monday, National Grid informed its customers that: "Yesterday's Gemini Oracle upgrade was completed at 15:00, some three hours later than anticipated due to an issue with the software. This issue has been resolved. However, xoserve are experiencing ongoing operational issues..."

These operational issues have led to all external access to Gemini being cut off for the week, though data could still be input centrally. Hence, the cumbersome system of faxing, with National Grid in some instances having to fax back screenshots from Gemini for the customers' records.

xoserve staff declined to comment to the Reg, referring all questions to National Grid.

National Grid's Stuart Larque played down the seriousness of the situation. "Gemini is not physically connected to the infrastructure and it isn't used to buy or sell gas."

Larque said he couldn't comment on how the market in pipeline capacity might be affected, but did say that most capacity is bought and sold in large long-term deals unaffected by the current outage. The daily auctions now being conducted by fax handled only a relatively small part of the market.

Larque added that xoserve hoped to have access to Gemini restored later today. ®

Application security programs and practises

More from The Register

next story
Stick a 4K in them: Super high-res TVs are DONE
4,000 pixels is niche now... Don't say we didn't warn you
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
Philip K Dick 'Nazi alternate reality' story to be made into TV series
Amazon Studios, Ridley Scott firm to produce The Man in the High Castle
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Bose says today is F*** With Dre Day: Beats sued in patent battle
Music gear giant seeks some of that sweet, sweet Apple pie
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
Too many IT conferences to cover? MICROSOFT to the RESCUE!
Yet more word of cuts emerges from Redmond
Joe Average isn't worth $10 a year to Mark Zuckerberg
The Social Network deflates the PC resurgence with mobile-only usage prediction
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.