Accuracy and reliability are paramount in pipeline liquid measurement. Yet, too many energy companies do not have a repeatable process to achieve accurate and reliable measurements.
Why is it critical to have a reliable, accurate, and repeatable process? The contract between two parties to buy and sell the product is dependent on the parties performing an accurate measurement. Further, the reliability of your leak detection systems is often tied to measurement accuracy.
If the contract specifies x amount of liquid at x price, then both parties need to be able to reconcile how to measure and verify the liquid that is transferred.
The Role of Custody Transfer in Liquid Measurement
Custody transfer is a multi-step process of transferring the product from the origination source to the final destination.
Being able to perform an accurate calculation at the metering point during each hand-off is critical. This way, the measurement of liquid transferred from one party to the next will be consistent and accurate all the way through the process.
However, what is stated in the contract is just one part of the equation. The measurement must also comply with the industry standards set by API and the applicable government regulations at the location where each measurement is performed.
There is a significant cost of not being able to repeatably perform an accurate calculation. Companies could face compliance headaches, added costs from needing to correct a measurement, audit costs and liability from violating a contract.
If your company currently experiences these issues or has a future concern about being able to repeat accurate measurements in the field, then consider these causes of inaccurate measurements.
The Causes of Inaccurate Measurement
Consider three common causes of inaccurate pipeline liquid measurement:
1. Outdated equipment. Companies that have not updated their equipment to take advantage of new technology could be inadvertently producing inaccurate measurements.
If you are unsure whether or not should update measurement equipment, contact your vendor to take the necessary steps to validate your equipment meets current industry standards. This is a critical step to ensure that your workers can repeatedly perform an accurate measurement.
2. Ineffective Calibration. Companies that have do not properly calibrated their equipment or have older equipment that does not hold calibration could be inadvertently producing inaccurate measurements.
If you are unsure whether your equipment is holding proper calibration, contact your vendor to take the necessary steps to validate your measurement equipment performance. Properly calibrated equipment is a critical part of accurate measurement.
3. Ineffective procedural documentation. Effective measurement across the entire chain of custody requires consistent field practice. Many field technicians learned how to perform measurement by watching another field technician. Unfortunately, that is not a reliable method for creating a consistent measurement process.
Instead, companies need to document detailed procedures for how to perform measurement tasks and then insure that those procedures are in alignment with current liquid measurement industry standards.
4. Measurement technicians not trained properly. Another cause of inaccurate measurement is that field technicians are not trained in all aspects of liquid measurement, or that training is not consistently delivered throughout a organization.
Perhaps technicians understand how to perform some tasks, but they do not understand how to repeatedly perform all the various tasks that factor into accurate liquid measurement. That’s where GCI comes into play.
GCI Provides Training on Liquid Measurement Fundamentals
We offer a Fundamentals of Liquid Measurement course that ensures that measurement technicians understand the basic principles of properly measuring liquid.
Then, technicians will take their education and hands-on learning experience back into the field to repeatedly perform accurate measurements. This will give your company confidence in your team’s ability to conduct measurements in a consistent manner that prevents costly risks.
To find out more about scheduling your team for our Fundamentals of Liquid Measurement course, view the GCI schedule for upcoming training dates.