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May 2014

On-site Training Course

Production / Process

Module – 10


Gap Elimination Program

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Production / Process

Module - 10


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1. POSITIVE-DISPLACEMENT METERS.................................................... 5

2. GAS FLOW COMPUTERS ......................................................................... 5

3. GAS TURBINE METERS ........................................................................... 6

4. VORTEX METERS ..................................................................................... 6

5. ORIFICE METERS ...................................................................................... 6

- Orifice Plate Holders

- Orifice Plate
- Chart Recorder
- Linear Charts
- Orifice Flow Equation
- Square Root Charts
- Orifice Factors

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Upon completion of this module, the developee will be able to:-

• Identify the types of gas meters

• Select the suitable meter type for a specific system
• Explain the components of orifice meters
• Interpret the orifice meter charts
• Discuss the parameters of the orifice flow formula
• Calculate the gas flow rate using the orifice chart and orifice flow formula

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There are five types of devices used in gas measurement : positive-displacement

meters, gas-flow computers, gas turbine meters, vortex meters anf orifice meters.
Orifice meters are used more commonly for gas measurement than the other four

1. Positive-Displacement Meters

The installation of SCADA systems with automatic well testing generated a

need for gas measurement over a wide flow range with direct readout
capacity. The "rotary" positive-displacement gas meter is similar to the
liquid "lobed-impeller" or gear type meter. It has the capability to measure
gas accurately over a range of about 15 to 1. The rotary meter can be
equipped with mechanical compensation on indicated volume for static
pressure and flowing temperature correction. It needs to be protected from
over-range and liquid accumulation within the measuring elements.

Positive-displacement meters are usually applied to low-pressure gas

measurement service.

2. Gas Flow Computers

Gas flow computers were developed to use existing orifice meter runs and
to provide a direct readout of gas volume that was compatible with
SCADA. These devices use static and differential pressure electrical
transducers on a standard orifice meter as a basis for gas measurement. The
computer integrates the signals from the transducers and combines with
fixed data on meter run size, plate size, etc. to develop a gas volume.

Some gas-flow computers can accept a temperature transducer input to

measure the temperature of the flowing gas stream for improved accuracy
of volume measurement. All gas flow computer designs have integration
accuracy compatible with the basic measurement capability of the orifice

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3. Gas Turbine Meters

Gas turbine meters also are used to obtain direct readout on gas volume
measurement that is compatible with SCADA. Turbine meters can measure
gas volumes accurately over a range of about 20 to 1 at medium pressures.

Gas turbine meters can be equipped with volume compensation capability

for temperature and static pressure.

Many gas turbine meters are destroyed when they are over-ranged while
pressuring up the system.

4. Vortex Meters

Vortex meters have a "bluff body" that spans the flow area through the
meter and cause vortices to form in the flowing medium. These fortices are
shed off the bluff body at a frequency that is proportional to the volumetric
flow rate through the meter. The vortices can be counted with suitable
pressure or other flow pattern sensor which are connected to an electronic
component for flow accumulation. Vortex meters have rangeability
characteristics similar to positive displacement and turbine meters without
the moving parts of these devices.

5. Orifice Meters

The primary device for gas volume measurement has been and continues to
be the orifice meter. Orifice meters have the following advantages:

1. No moving parts in the gas stream.

2. The ability to handle wide range of flow rates by means of plate size
3. Reliable and non-external powered recorder.
4. Reliable sensor.

The only disadvantage of orifice meters is that the chart recorder is not
compatible with automatic data acquisition.

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Components of the Orifice Meter

Figure.4. Principle or Orifice Flow Measurement

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The orifice meter consists of two essential parts: the primary device which
creates the drop in pressure, and the secondary device, which measures
and indicates or records the differential and static pressures. The complete
installation, Figure-5, consists of:

Figure 5. Schematic of Orifice Meter Installation

• the upstream and downstream runs of pipe, meter run,

• the holder or fitting for the orifice plate that creates the pressure drop,
• the pressure taps and connections on both sides of the orifice plate, and
• the indicating or recording device.:

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Orifice Plate Holders
The orifice plate can be installed in any one of four types of plate holders: the orifice flange, the Simplex
(Daniel Industries, Inc.), the junior fitting, and the senior fitting.

The simplest type of plate holder is the orifice flange, Figure 9. The flanges are available from
manufacturers in the various ASA pressure ratings with the pressure connections predrilled in a location
specified by A.G.A. No. 3. The orifice plate is held in place concentrically in the pipe either by sizing the
outside diameter of the plate to the bolt circle of the flange, or by fabricating the orifice plate and flange
ring as a unit in the case of ring joint flanges.

Figure 9. Orifice Flange (courtesy Daniel Industries, Inc.)

The main advantage of the orifice flange is that it is the least expensive of all plate holders. For example,
an orifice flange can be purchased for approximately one-third the cost of a junior fitting and one-sixth the
cost of a senior fitting.

The two chief disadvantages of using orifice flanges are that it is sometimes difficult to remove the orifice
plate because of the difficulty encountered in spreading the flanges, and it is necessary to install a bypass
line with valves if the gas flow cannot be stopped temporarily during the period when the orifice plate must
be removed.

The Simplex orifice plate holder, Figure 10, is a single chamber fitting. Operation of the Simplex is quite
simple because of its few parts. The plate carrier ring in Figure 1 1 is permanently attached to the sealing
bar so that the bar, ring, plate, and seal unit are removed at the same time. The Simplex fitting is
specifically designed for pipe diameters of 11/2-6 inches. Like the orifice flange, the use of the Simplex
fitting requires the line to be depressurized or by-passed for orifice plate inspection or changing.

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Figure 10. Simplex Fitting (courtesy Daniel Industries, Inc.)

Figure 1 1. Simplex Meter Run (courtesy Daniel Industries, Inc.)

The junior type fitting, Figure 12, consists of a chamber into which the plate and a plate carrier
are inserted and set in place with scaling and clamping bars. Set screws on the clamping bar
are then tightened to maintain a pressure tight seal between the sealing bar and the fitting. The
junior fitting is more convenient to use than the orifice fitting, yet still requires that the meter
tube be depressurized whenever the plate needs to be changed or inspected. The junior fitting
is also available in nominal line sizes of 8-14 inches at various pressure ratings. The Simplex
and the junior fitting are functionally identical, but they have different meter run diameters.

Figure 12. Junior Fitting (courtesy Daniel Industries, Inc.)

A third type of plate holder, the senior fitting (Figure 13), is designed so that the plate can be
changed without shutting in the line. Figure 14 shows a cutaway view and orifice plate
changing of the Daniel senior fitting. The orifice plate sets in a geared plate carrier that is
cranked up into an upper chamber when plate removal is desired. The upper chamber is then
depressurized and the plate removed for inspection or changing.
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Orifice Plate

The orifice plate, Figure6 is a thin stainless steel plate with a circular hole, or orifice,
precisely drilled in the centre. In. actual practice, recommended thickness of the plate
may vary from 0.060 to 0.500 inches depending on the inside diameter of the pipe
where it is installed. For eight inch and smaller meter runs the recommended plate
thickness is 1/8 inch. The upstream face of the plate must be as flat as possible, and the
upstream edge of the orifice must be square and sharp. The downstream edge of the
orifice is normally beveled to insure that the thickness of the orifice plate at the orifice
edge is within limits prescribed by A.G.A. No. 3. These specifications are important,
since even small nicks or irregularities affect the gas flow pattern as it passes through
the orifice, resulting in inaccurate measurements.

Figure 6. Orifice Plate (courtesy Daniel Industries, Inc.)

For the accurate measurement of gas, the orifice-to-pipe diameter ratio (beta ratio, β)
should be maintained within the limits of 0. 15 and 0.70.

β = d .

d = orifice diameter
D = internal pipe diameter
β = beta ratio

For example, the orifice diameter of a plate used in a 4 inch diameter meter run (4.026
inch internal diameter) should never be smaller than (4.026 X 0.15) 0.60 inches or
larger than (4.026 X 0.70) 2.82 inches.

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Chart Recorder

The motion generated by both the static pressure spring and the differential
pressure sensing element is used to drive two recording pens which, in turn,
record static and differential readings onto a chart. Static pressure is typically
recorded in black ink, while differential pressure is recorded in red.

The circular chart recorders shown in Figure-11 are commonly used in orifice meter
measurement. The chart used with this type of recorder is easy to install or remove and
small enough to be filed without folding,

Figure-11 Circular Chart Recorders

Chart Recorder Selection

As a facility engineer, you will have to select a chart recorder for the meter installation.
In selecting a chart recorder for a specific application, there are several factors that must
be considered.


Careful consideration should be given to the existing equipment in the field and whether
personnel are trained for maintaining the recorder.

The bellows meter is generally prefer-red because of problems ill maintaining the
mercury meter and possible loss, theft, and health problems associated with mercury.

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Static Range

Common static element ranges used in the field measurement of gas, expressed
in pounds per square inch, are 0-100, 0-250, 0-500, 0-1000, 02000, etc. The
maximum range for the static element should be only high enough to prevent
over-ranging the bourdon tube.

Differential Range

Common differential ranges expressed in inches of water, are 0-20, 05.0, 0-100, 0-200,
and 0-400. The range for the differential element may be set by meter run size or flow
conditions; however, if it is not, a good starting point in most meter installation designs
is the 0-100 inch range. This range gives good response at normal flow rates and allows
for future increases and decreases should flow conditions change. If corrosive gas is to
be measured, special corrosion resistant materials should be specified for the static
pressure element and the bellows type differential pressure sensing element.

Chart Drive

Spring wound and battery operated chart drives are available. The choice of time for a
complete rotation of the chart is usually dependent upon the purpose for which the chart
is to be used. Common times are 24 hours, 7 day, 8 day, and 31 day. Charts for lease
gas measurement are usually 8-day charts because it is necessary to change these charts
only four times per month. Special clock hubs are available for changing chart rotation
time without changing clocks. In addition, special fast clocks are available for
installations where detailed recording of frequent changes in flow rate is desired.

Circular Charts

Two common types of circular charts are used in orifice metering, the linear chart and
the square root chart.

Linear Chart

The linear chart is often referred to as a direct reading chart since, static and
differential pressures can be read directly from the chart. A different chart is
used for each meter differential range (20, 50, 100, and 200 inches) and static
pressure range. The linear chart shown in Figure 12- is for a meter with a
differential range of 100 inches and a static range of 100 psia. The static
pressure pen is usually set to record gauge pressure (psig) on linear or direct
reading charts. This linear chart is read as follows:

Orifice Flow Equation

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The basic orifice flow equation used to calculate the volume of gas passing through an orifice
plate is:

Q = C' √hw X Pf


Q = the volume of flow in cubic feet per hour.

C' = the orifice flow coefficient.
hw = the average differential pressure in inches of water.
Pf = the averaae absolute static pressure over the time period.

Orifice Flow Coefficient

The orifice flow coefficient is defined as the "amount of gas which would pass through the
orifice in a given time period if the square root of the static times the differential pressures
were equal to one," (i.e., when √h X P = 1).

The value of the orifice flow coefficient is determined by several characteristics of both the
flowing gas or liquid stream and the orifice installation. The most important of these
characteristics are:

• the relationship between the diameter of the orifice and the internal diameter of the meter
• the static and differential ranges of the orifice meter.
• the specific gravity of the gas.
• the temperature and pressure of the flowing gas.

These characteristics are expressed in the form of six primary factors.

• The basic orifice factor, Fb

• The pressure base factor, Fpb
• The specific gravity factor, Fg
• The meter factor, M
• The flowing, temperature factor, Ftf
• The super compressibility factor, Fpv,

Each factor is derived through the use of formulas or standardised tables. The use of
standardised tables is generally preferred and is the approach used throughout this lesson. All
tables are available in the Orifice Meter Constants Handbook. (Super compressibility factor
tables ' for gas gravities other than 0.6, are provided in Appendix I.) When the value of each
factor has been determined, they are multiplied together to produce C', the orifice flow

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The value of C' derived by the above formula is commonly known as a field coefficient. It is
considered adequate (within one percent) for most calculations of gas flow volumes; however,
it lacks the accuracy required for accounting and royalty payment purposes. The formula for
developing C' for accounting involves additional factors which are discussed in A.G.A. No. 3.

Figure 12 Linear Orifice Meter Chart

Static pressure == 60 psig
Differential pressure = 30 inches water
Square Root Chart
Most field charts used by Exxon are the square root, or L-10 chart. As shown in Figure 24,
this chart has graduations that allow the static and differential pressures to be read as a
function their square root. Since gas Volumes passing through an orifice is proportional to
the square root of the Pressure drop, Q = C’ √hw X Pf’ L-10 chart readings simplifies gas flow
calculations by eliminating the need to calculate the square root of the pressure drops. An
explanation of terms in the orifice flow equation is presented in Lesson 2. On L-1 0 charts, the
static pen is always set to read absolute pressure (psia). Using the same pressures for the
direct, reading chart, the L-10 chart in Figure-13 would be recorded as follows:

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6. Interpret the following gas meter chart (Figure 27)

Figure 27, Exercise 1, Question 10

Differential Static
a. 38 inches of water 74 psia
b. 3.6 psig 7.2 psig
c. 36 inches of water 72 psig
d. 38 psia 74 inches of water
e. 3.6 psia 7.2 psig

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6. Interpret the following gas meter chart (Figure 26)

Figure 26. Exercise 1, Question 6

Differential Static
a. 48 8.8
b. 50 84
c. 4.8 8.4
d. 4.9 8.5
e. 2.2 2.9

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Fg √1.0000
Specific Factor Specific Factor Specific Factor Specific Factor
gravity Fg gravity Fg gravity Fg gravity Fg
0.500 1.4142 0.675 1.2172 0.850 1.0847 1.05 0.9759
0.505 1.4072 0.680 1.2127 0.855 1.0815 1.06 0.9713
0.510 1.4003 0.685 1.2082 0.860 1.0783 1.07 0.9667
0.515 1.3935 0.690 1.2039 0.865 1.0752 1.08 0.9623
0.520 1.3868 0.695 1.1995 0.870 1.0721 1.09 0.9578

0.525 1.3801 0.700 1.1952 0.875 1.0690 1.10 0.9535

0.530 1.3736 0.705 1.1910 0.880 1.0660 1.11 0.9492
0.535 1.3672 0.710 1.1868 0.885 1.0630 1.12 0.9449
0.540 1.3608 0.715 1.1826 0.890 1.0600 1.13 0.9407
0.545 1.3546 0.720 1.1785 0.895 1.0570 1.14 0.9366

0.550 1.3484 0.725 1.1744 0.900 1.0541 1.15 0.9325

0.555 1.3423 0.730 1.1704 0.905 1.0512 1.16 0.9285
0.560 1.3363 0.735 1.1664 0.910 1.0483 1.17 0.9245
0.565 1.3304 0.740 1.1625 0.915 1.0454 1.18 0.9206
0.570 1.3245 0.745 1.1586 0.920 1.0426 1.19 0.9167

0.575 1.3188 0.750 1.1547 0..q25 1.0398 1.20 0.9129

0.580 1.3131 0.755 1.1509 0.930 1.0370 1.21 0.9091
0.585 1.3074 0.760 1.1471 0.935 1.0342 1.22 0.9054
0.590 1.3019 0.765 1.1433 0.940 1.0314 1.23 0.9017
0.595 1.2964 0.770 1.1396 0.945 1.0287 1..24 0.8980

0.600 1.2910 0.775 1.1359 0.950 1.0260 1.25 0.8944

0.605 1.2856 0.780 1.1323 0.955 1.0233 1.26 0.8909
0.610 1.2804 0.785 1.1287 0.960 1.0206 1.27 0.8874
0.615 1.2752 0.790 1.1251 0.965 1.0180 1.28 0.8839
0.620 1.2700 0.795 1.1215 0.970 1.0153 1.29 0.8805

0.625 1.2649 0.800 1.1180 0.975 1.0127 1.30 0.8771

0.630 1.2599 0.805 1.1146 0.980 1.0102 1.31 0.8737
0.635 1.2549 0.810 1.1111 0.985 1.0076 1.32 0.8704
0.640 1.2500 0.815 1.1077 0.990 1.0050 1.33 0.8671
0.645 1.2451 0.820 1.1043 0.995 1.0025 1.34 0.8639

0.650 1.2403 0.825 1.1010 1.00 1.000.0' 1.35 0.8607

0.655 1.2356 0.830 1.0976 1.01 0.9950 1.36 0.8575
0.660 1.2309 0.835 1.0944 1.02 0.9901 1.37 0.8544
0.665 1.2263 0.840 1.0911 1.03 0.9853 1.38 0.8513
0.670 1.2217 0.845 1.0879 1.04 0.9806 1.39 0.8482

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Figure 29. Specific Gravity Factor Table (courtesy Singer)

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Example : Orifice Flow Coefficient Calculation
Problem: Calculate the orifice flow coefficient, C’, given the following meter data.

Line size: 3.438 inches

Plate size: 1.75
Specific gravity: 0.650
Average flowing temperature: 80°F
Average flowing pressure: 1200 psig
Pressure base: 15.025 psia (Louisiana)
Static range: 1500 psia
Differential range: 100 inches
Chart: L- 1 0
Taps: Flange

Solution: Coefficient Factors

Fb= 647.54
Fg =1.2403
Ftf = 0.9813
Fpv= 1. 1053
M = 3.873

C' = 647.54 X 1.2403 X 0.9804. X 0.9813 X 1. 1053 X 3.873

= 3307.7 ft3/hr

C' represents the amount of gas that would flow through the orifice plate in an hour
if the square root of the static pressure times the differential pressure (pressure
extension) is equal to one.

The orifice flow coefficient is usually calculated as an hourly coefficient, as in the example,
but it is more commonly expressed as a daily coefficient. The daily coefficient for an
orifice meter is calculated by determining the hourly coefficient, and then multiplying by.

3307.7 fO/hr X 24 hr/D = 79,385 fO/D

Since daily orifice flow coefficients tend to be rather large numbers, they are usually
abbreviated to read in thousands of cubic feet. The example given above would be written
as 79.4 kcf / D.

Pressure Extension

The second part of the gas measurement formula, √hw x Pf is called the pressure
extension. The pressure extension is directly determined from static and differential pen

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