Praveen Menon, Head of Solutions Business Unit at Endress+Hauser explains the benchmarks and importance of choosing the right partner when it comes to flow metering solutions
Oil has significantly contributed in shaping the countries in the Middle East Region, aligning them not only with one another but also with the countries of the world and earning a dominant place on the global map.
The Hydrocarbon sector has been crucial for the growth, the dynamism and the survival of a range of industries and hence is a major segment in contributing to the economic growth - both in developed and the developing world. Major operations in the hydrocarbon sector, both upstream and downstream, converge in the pipelines where the produced oil is metered to assess production cost, ascertain well productivity and for transfer of custody from the producer to the buyer.
A crucial factor in all these operations is accurate measurement of oil as even a small error may prove very expensive to the buyer as well as the seller considering the large quantities of oil involved. However, it is not as simple as that.
Transporting petroleum products are affected by innumerable variables including, but not limited to: temperature, pressure, entrained gases, contaminants etc. Oil is measured in volume and volume is responsive to pressure and temperature changes, therefore fluctuates.
To minimise losses due to these fluctuations, every cubic meter of product must be accurately measured, factors such as pressure and temperature closely monitored and recorded etc. Hence accurate metering is the basis of contractual arrangements between the parties involved as it affects everybody’s bottom line. In addition, industry practices and standards, along with the ever-growing governmental requirements, must be considered.
Metering is involved in both loading and unloading applications (rail, truck, ship) or pipeline transfers and frequent changes of ownership (custody) of the product make it imperative that these metering systems should demonstrate high accuracy, reliability and repeatability with minimum maintenance.
A custody transfer metering skid is an assembly of pipes with pipefittings, valves and other metering related instruments on a frame or module and the flowmeter is the heart of this complete system.
It is an engineered solution and the design is tailor-made based on the application that it will be used for. While engineering this solution, considerations are made for the operational aspects, design to facilitate the application of the adopted solution during validation and proving and the installation & field environment.
The complete custody transfer metering system is designed, built and operated to regulate performance integrity (measurement uncertainty) throughout its life cycle and to determine the fluid quality to compute the fiscal value of the product.
The data that is measured is then organised, stored and compensated to normal or standard conditions and then applied for billing. There are several critical components that comprise a complete metering system including flow meters, pressure and temperature transmitters, Flow computers, provers or master meters etc.
Flow meters, however, are an important component of virtually every oil and gas operation and their role is mission critical in the metering system. There are many types of flow meters in general use, most of these are not suitable for custody transfer.
While, Differential pressure (DP) flowmeters are the oldest of the technologies to be studied and approved for custody transfer applications, mainly for natural gas, advancement in measurement technology has made possible the use of highly accurate and repeatable flow measurement technology for custody transfer – the Coriolis mass flow meters Building a custody transfer metering system requires distinct and extensive expertise.
Therefore, selecting the right partner is of utmost importance. Endress+Hauser has the expertise, the know-how and the infrastructure to be an active and reliable partner in the development and execution of turn-key projects.
The project team works with the customers to provide complete solutions that include handling the entire project from design, engineering and commissioning etc. Our experts have extensive experience and knowledge of flowmeter technologies, flow characteristics, accepted meter proving practices and technologies, government regulations, and much more.
The dedicated solutions team at Endress+Hauser offers standardised solutions (for loading and unloading applications) and customised solutions (for pipeline transfers).
Reflecting on the below questions:
- Can your supplier provide you with the full custody transfer metering systems?
- Will they be able to comply with your company specifications and international standards?
- Will the system meet your performance expectations for accuracy and reliability?
- Can they guarantee the performance of your solutions long term?
- Can they integrate their solution in your existing plant?