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DNV GL JIP investigates accuracy of flow meter technology for phase contaminated oil flows

Despite limited evidence of the performance of coriolis and ultrasonic flow meter technology, they are being increasingly deployed for single phase oil flows contaminated with water or natural gas. DNV GL has initiated a joint industry project (JIP), now open for industry partners, exploration and production (E&P) companies and manufacturers to join, to assess the capability and feasibility of the meters.

Coriolis and ultrasonic flow meters are widely accepted for application in single phase oil flows by the oil industry. However, there is little validation nor independent test results to support the claim that they produce accurate allocation measurement results. Inaccurate results related to the oil flow can present both operational and financial risks by negatively influence decision making and understanding of operational efficiency. The JIP will therefore provide testing guidelines, a performance assessment and correction algorithms as a foundation for using coriolis and ultrasonic flow meters for phase contaminated oil flows.

'Accurate measurement of the production of oil fields is an important means of reducing the financial risks that Exploration & Production (E&P) companies face in allocation processes. Yet more and more we see the application of these meters in phase contaminated oil flows despite limited evidence of their performance,' says Dennis van Putten, expert multiphase flow metering, DNV GL - Oil & Gas. 'There is still a lack of common understanding of the multiphase phenomena within the industry and no systematic approach to the use of these technologies in such conditions. Biases will occur in phase contaminated flows and an accepted correction algorithm is required as an important step towards qualifying Coriolis meters and ultrasonic flow meters in these situations.'

To achieve this correction algorithm, a test programme will be performed under conditions close to real field situations (oil /water/ natural gas mixtures). These conditions can be created in DNV GL's multiphase flow facility in Groningen, the Netherlands.

'We have already seen a great deal of interest in this project from the industry. The value for E&P companies in joining this JIP is in finding solutions which can mitigate the large financial risks present in production allocation systems,' says Bert Tinge, senior business development manager, DNV GL - Oil & Gas.

Coriolis and ultrasonic flow meter manufacturers are participating in the JIP. 'By being part of the project, the manufacturers will gain valuable insight into the performance of their own technology under single phase conditions contaminated with small fractions of water and gas. The JIP will provide them with a route to broad industrial acceptance and corresponding access to the market,' Tinge continues.

Industry partners, E&P companies and manufacturers interested in taking part in the JIP can join the launch meeting on 24 June at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol in the Netherlands.