With the increasing demands of the global market and the advent of new technology, the techniques used in oil and gas measurement — including crude oil, refined products, natural gas, and natural gas liquids measurement — are changing at a breakneck pace.
Additionally, new electronic methods are being utilized. These electronic methods may reduce the amount of manual efforts, but with increasing demands for capability and accuracy, a host of potential issues have been raised. These issues need to be understood and addressed to maintain the integrity of your company’s measurements.
The situation highlights the importance of Electronic Flow Measurement, or EFM, as a component of creating auditable oil & gas flows. Consider this overview of EFM and how a certification course through Gas Certification Institute (GCI) can give you the skills and knowledge to confidently apply in the field.
Introduction to Electronic Flow Measurement
Electronic Flow Measurement begins at the flow computer. Sensing instruments for pressure, temperature, and flow signal are recorded digitally and monitored in real-time. This data is processed in the EFM and configured calculations are applied to determine oil and gas volumes in real time.
The commercial impact of EFM is revolutionary, as these systems can help your company measure out volumes of oil and natural gas almost to the drop, providing accurate transactions every time.
For years, the dry flow chart recorder was the standard tool for keeping track of the amount of product sold, but all that has changed within the span of only a few years, and electronic flow computers using digital processing equipment are virtually mandatory.
EFM allows you to buy and sell faster, with better quality control and with more accuracy. However, for professionals working in the oil and gas industry, human intervention is still not only necessary, but now more important than ever.
Instrument issues, configuration errors, and piping issues can result in data errors, causing volumetric discrepancies. Measurement technicians that can understand and properly interact with EFM systems are in high demand.
How to Commission and Verify the EFM System
Measurement professionals using EFM must be able to perform many tasks to support the auditing process. These include:
- Producing documented records of receipts and deliveries, including field uses.
- Comparing sales volumes to system volumes.
- Writing requests for data while including meter number, station name, and production dates.
- Conducting error reviews and submitting reviews to purchasing companies.
- Establishing balance systems/segments in reporting programs.
- Creating a schematic of your system, preferably in “simple block diagram” format.
When handling electronic flow measurement systems, there are a number of variables that can slow down or halt business that measurement technicians, gas chromatographers, and field personnel need to be able to address. Errors include:
- Liquid condensation affecting the measurements accuracy and indicating “false flow.”
- Pipes, orifice sealing devices, and other pieces of equipment springing leaks.
- Fastening pins coming loose and slipping into the orifice plate holder.
- Freezing in the orifice bore disrupting measurements.
- Debris becoming lodged in the meter tube.
Clearly, the tasks required of measurement professionals requires a significant amount of labor, even with such technological advancements. To maintain the integrity of measurements for your company, it’s critical to receive the proper education on measurement professionals.
Here are some problems your company may face without a certified expert in the field:
- You could lose data, accidentally delete data, or have data miss-logged as a result of miscommunication or hardware malfunction. This can lead to trade discrepancies and delays.
- You could be measuring inaccurate volumes of natural gas, especially if meter tests are not being performed, there’s a configuration error, or the differential pressure is off.
- There could be a reduction in gas quality if samples are not taken.
- You could miss deadlines and have to compensate in the following month.
At the current rate of industry advancement, measurement professionals need a solid understanding of EFM systems to continue to provide value to their company. With so much depending on how well these machines are able to function, there’s not a lot of room for errors, making EFM training a critical skill.
How Our Gas and Liquids Measurement Classes Can Help
At GCI, we help oil and gas measurement professionals take the next steps in their career to support EFM commissioning and verification.
Specifically, we offer our Gas Measurement Fundamentals certification class at our training facility in Houston. This nine-day course will ensure that you return to the field with valuable knowledge that your supervisors and company are counting on.
On the liquids side, we also offer a Fundamentals of Liquid Measurement class that incorporates training on flow measurement for liquid systems.
Visit our Schedule page to register for the next gas or liquids measurement class. You can also email email@example.com or call us directly at 281-598-7200 to inquire about registration.