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2D flow visualisation tech could improve understanding of multiphase flow

Flow measurement specialist NEL is investing in 2D flow visualisation technology. The Scottish company claims to be the first in the world to do so.

According to a statement, the new technology uses 2D x-ray tomography to produce high-definition images of complex multiphase flows, which cannot be captured with conventional instruments. This is apparently a more precise reproduction of flow patterns, which will optimise meter design for specific operating conditions, in turn ensuring greater measurement accuracy, reducing uncertainty and minimising operators’ financial exposure.

“A global first for the oil and gas industry, this new technology will allow us to look in unprecedented detail at meter performance versus flow dynamic structures,” said Multiphase Domain senior advisor at NEL, Dr. Bruno Pinguet.

“This will help us to advance our understanding of how complex multiphase fluids behave, so that the quality of factory acceptance testing for multiphase meters will improve significantly.”

NEL’s system is designed primarily for measuring multiphase flows in horizontal and vertical pipes, and will be capable of determining the 2D phase fractions within a multiphase pipe flow in real-time. It also offers extremely high-frequency data capture of over 150 frames per second, delivering detailed tomographic reproduction of the cross sectional phase distribution (oil, gas, water) within the flow regime.

According to the statement from NEL, 2D x-ray tomography eliminates many of the limitations currently experienced with established flow measurement approaches, such as poor image resolution and high-sensitivity to errors caused by the addition of process fluids. It therefore remains unaffected in conditions where traditional electrical technologies would fail.