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AUTOW-P014 - Multiphase Meters and Their Applications To Hydrocarbon Flow Measurements

Youssef F. Basrawi Engineering Specialist, Flow Measurements Process and Control Systems Department, EOB E-6040 Saudi Arabian Oil Company Dhahran, Saudi Arabia 31311

KEYWORDS Multiphase Meters, Water-in-Crude Detecting Devices, Technology & Operations, Applications of Multiphase/Multiphase Devices to Crude & Hydrocarbon Flow Measurements.

ABSTRACT
The paper talks about the technology and operations of the various multiphase flow measurement devices and their applications to down stream operations as well as the possible application to royalty and custody measurements of crude and hydrocarbon products. It highlights the operations, current research, field test studies and viability of such devices for better precision and higher accuracy in the measurement of volumetric through puts for exports and domestic consumption.

INTRODUCTION
The technology and operations of the various multiphase meters and water-in-crude detecting devices are some of many current technologies being evaluated today by major corporations and private instrumentation manufacturing companies in the hydrocarbon industry. The application to royalty and custody transfer measurements of crude and hydrocarbon products (Refer to the section on Definitions at the end for royalty & custody transfer), of multiphase meters in general and the water-in- crude detecting devices in particular, is still in its research and testing phase. Unlike process conditions, custody transfer criteria have more stringent conditions to comply with. Process conditions allow Copyright 2004 by ISA The Instrumentation, Systems and Automation Society. Presented at ISA AUTOMATION WEST; www.isa.org

possible accuracy tolerances between 2-5% and the process data is used for internal material balance, leak detection and loss control. Custody accuracy tolerances, however need to be between 0.25-0.50% margins. This is because financial and commodity exchange takes place at the point of custody, where actual cash is either gained or lost.

PRINCIPLES OF OPERATIONS OF MULTIPHASE MEASUREMENT DEVICES


Lets consider a two-phase multiphase meter. This meter is known as a water cut meter or oil-in water sampling device. The dielectric constant and conductivity of water are much higher than that for oil. This difference can be utilized to measure the water content of oil/water mixtures. The water cut meter measures the microwave dielectric properties of mixtures using the resonant cavity method. The natural vibration frequency of a tube is affected by the density of a material in it. By measuring the frequency, one can measure the density of the material. Figure 1 is a graphic representation of two resonant peaks showing the dielectric and conductivity. The dielectric constant is proportional to the resonant frequency {(A + B)/2} while the conductivity is related to the width of the peak (B A).

FIG. 1- TWO RESONANT PEAKS: DIELECTRIC & CONDUCTIVITY A resonant cavity is a metal structure, which confines an electric field and causes it to reflect back and forth within the cavity. If the wavelength of the electromagnetic waves equals one of the dimensions of the cavity, then the multiple reflecting waves constructively interfere and generate a standing wave: electric field resonance. If one fills a resonant cavity with a material, the resonant frequency of the cavity will shift by an amount directly related to the density of the material. The width of the resonant peak is related to the conductivity of the material in the cavity. Thus by measuring the resonant frequency and peak width, one measures the dielectric properties of a material in the cavity. Figure 2 is a cross section of a water cut meter.

Copyright 2004 by ISA The Instrumentation, Systems and Automation Society. Presented at ISA AUTOMATION WEST; www.isa.org

FIG. 2 FULL CUT OIL-WATER METER Improvements in electronics, temperature and density compensation techniques have made continuous, online water in crude detection devices or monitors a viable alternative to the old out dated sampling and testing techniques. By measuring the frequency of the resonant peak, the dielectric constant of the material in the cavity can be measured with an accuracy determined by the accuracy of the frequency measurement. Figure 3 is a typical response of a resonant cavity. The resonant cavity method is a long standing laboratory technique for accurately measuring the high frequency dielectric constant of materials.

FIG. 3 - RESPONSE OF A RESONANT PEAK IN CAVITY This method requires closed metal boxes through which a continuous production stream of material cannot flow. As shown in Figure 2, the sensors consisted of a straight spool piece with two microwave connectors; one a transmitter and the other a receiver provide a resonant cavity through which fluids can flow continuously with little to no pressure loss. The pipe like sensor is used as a cylindrical waveguide within which transmitted electromagnetic waves will propagate freely, permeating the

Copyright 2004 by ISA The Instrumentation, Systems and Automation Society. Presented at ISA AUTOMATION WEST; www.isa.org

whole cross-section. The waves are confined within the measurement section by metal plates at either side, making a resonant cavity.

TYPES OF MULTIPHASE DEVICES


The capacitance, energy absorption, microwave and sub-megahertz technologies are all based on measuring the dielectric constants of a liquid due to changes in water content. Another emerging technology is based on measuring the absorption rate of infrared energy by water and hydrocarbon molecules. Figure 4 gives various types of water in crude monitoring devices. In these oil-water monitoring devices measurement of water content is based on measurement of dielectric constants (degree of conductivity) of the liquid due to changes in water content.

FIG. 4 - OIL-WATER SAMPLING DEVICES

APPLICATIONS
PRODUCTION Water in crude detection devices are applied in well testing, production, gathering systems for material balance, inventory accounting and allocation purposes. More accurate water data at well testing would result in more accurate allocation. Better water determination at the well site and at gathering systems results in better and more efficient management of a field. Monitoring the operation of water separators to maximize separation while also maximizing throughput is also a significant benefit. Cost saving could be tremendous.

Copyright 2004 by ISA The Instrumentation, Systems and Automation Society. Presented at ISA AUTOMATION WEST; www.isa.org

PROCESS FLOW

Water in crude detection devices are applied in process flow to give accurate real-time feedstock and process water content control in refineries. Water content in a system can be trended automatically in real time. Upset potentials can be identified before they happen, and damage to processes and equipment can be avoided. CUSTODY TRANSFER

By applying water in crude detection devices the whole custody transfer process of water sampling could be operated automatically. No longer would samples have to be pulled, transported to a laboratory, analyzed and data manually transcribed. Human error would be minimized, maintenance costs reduced, and billing automated and applied in real time. Out of-tolerance situations could be quickly corrected before they reach unsatisfactory levels.

EVALUATION
Saudi Aramco is currently engaged in the testing, application and evaluation of water-in- crude monitoring devices. PRODUCTION

There are several types of water- in- crude instruments; some of which have been listed in the section above that talks about the types of analytical techniques to measure water in crude. One such instrument was trial tested in the Gas Oil Separation Plant (GOSP). This instrument was tested as a continuation of testing various multiphase flow meters to achieve an economical, compact and accurate method to measure oil well production rates and to determine the amount of water and gas mixtures, present in the wells that are used to extract the crude from the ground and GOSP. It is well known that, when wells mature, the wells internal pressure, thrusting the crude and gas to the surface, begins to diminish. Water, and sometimes mud, is injected into the well to force the crude and all the injected contaminants out of the well. This is known as primary, secondary and or tertiary well recovery. In the United States in Texas and Oklahoma the wells are mature and require secondary and tertiary recovery. For well recovery and gas oil separation operations the accuracy criteria is between 5-10% of instrument reading as compared to testing reference. For Financial Calendar (FISCAL) measurements the accuracy must be 0.25% or better. Major oil companies participate in Joint Industrial Partnering Copyright 2004 by ISA The Instrumentation, Systems and Automation Society. Presented at ISA AUTOMATION WEST; www.isa.org

(JIPs) and Field Technical Planning (FTPs) with each other for testing and evaluating new technologies in the hydrocarbon industry. Once test and field data has been evaluated and accepted, a joint recommendation is put to the International Petroleum Institutes in the United States and Worldwide to adopt such new technologies. The Multi Phase Flow Meter (MPFM) was trial tested for 35 days during which GOSPs test trap was used as a reference measurement to evaluate the meters accuracy. There were 36 wells chosen for testing. A total of 60 tests were carried out to check the MPFM and GOSPs test trap consistency.
TEST RESULTS

Total Liquid Flow Rate (Oil & Water) GOSPs Test Trap = 500 to 7500 BPD MPFM = 500 to 4500 BPD

Water Cut GOSPs Test Trap = 0 to 97 % MPFM = 0 to 100 %

Out of the 60 tests, 51 tests were technically valid. 22 tests were outside the operating range of the meter, so only 29 tests were considered for evaluation. Based on 29 tests, the accuracy of the meter measurements as compared to the reference measurement (test trap) were: 26 out of 29 tests showed the water cut measurements of the MPFM were within 10 % of those of the reference test trap. This is 90 %.
TEST CONCLUSION

For an acceptable 10% accuracy the MPFM showed good repeatability. The maximum operating range of the MPFM used was 4500 Barrels Per Day (BPD) as compared to that of the reference measure 7500 BPD. This shows that the appropriate size meter needs to be used to obtain better accuracy, especially at the higher flow ranges.

CUSTODY TRANSFER

The required accuracy for custody transfer must be within + 0.25%. While the old water cut monitors were lucky if they resulted in accuracies of +20%, today's instruments are capable of measuring the full range (0 - 100%) of water to within +0.05%. This is as good as the repeatability of laboratory tests used for determining the water content in custody transfer applications. For temperature measurements 0120 C (- 32 to 250 F) range, accuracy is 0.1% of full scale. Figure 5 is a representation of how the dielectric constant of various crude and hydrocarbon products vary with density.

Copyright 2004 by ISA The Instrumentation, Systems and Automation Society. Presented at ISA AUTOMATION WEST; www.isa.org

FIG. 5 - DIELECTRIC CONSTANT VERSUS DENSITY This is called the Auto Zero setting function. As a result of extensive research and testing, it was determined that the high frequency dielectric constant of a dry hydrocarbon liquid is closely correlated to its density. Knowing this, an automatic calibration method was developed and used for the water cut meters. With the Auto Zero setting function the water cut meters can compensate for changes in the oils dielectric constant by relating them to changes in its density. To use the Auto Zero setting function the water cut meter must be linked to a densitometer, which provides a signal to the water cut meter indicating the mixture density. The densitometer can either be directly mounted to the water cut meter or separated. The water cut meter will contain the necessary interface electronics to interpret the signal. Water cut meters using the Auto Zero function will measure the water content of a hydrocarbon liquid with high accuracy, even if the oil changes over time. In addition the meter will continuously and automatically measure the density of the dry oil. The mixture density signal from the densitometer will be corrected for the water content. Figure 6 gives some accuracy correlation between some of the new devices and traditional methods of measuring water in oil.

FIG. 6 ACCURACY CORRELATION OF SOME OIL-WATER MONITORS Copyright 2004 by ISA The Instrumentation, Systems and Automation Society. Presented at ISA AUTOMATION WEST; www.isa.org

The device tested is the Coriolis Mass Flow Meter. It could have been any other water- in-crude monitoring device. This type of mass flow meter uses density sensing devices or densitometers, it being a type of water or multi phase fluid monitoring device. To calculate the mass, the fluid density via the signal taken from the densitometers is processed and the final mass of the flowing fluid is given. Mass equals volume multiplied by density of the fluid. This is very similar to the Auto Zero setting function. In fact, this is exactly how the mass meter is used as a water-in-crude monitoring device, as well as going further and giving the flowing volume of fluid in mass, thus making the Coriolis Mass Flow Meter a viable flow metering device. Thompson Oil is introduced into and allowed to flow in the vibrating tube of the meter (Refer to the section on Definitions at the end for Thompsons Oil). After a set time, water is injected into the flowing stream of the meter and the process is studied and graphed. As can be seen from the graph of Figure 6, the initial period shows 100% water as detected by the Coriolis. Eventually over a set period of time (30minutes, as shown in graph in Figure 6) the water begins to disperse in the emulsifier and slowly gets absorbed by the oil and the meter starts to detect lesser and lesser suspended water in the fluid until no water can be detected (0% suspended water). In order to make this test conclusive, the same test was conducted on some conventional existing sampling devices. Several types of Fully Automated Conventional Samplers (FACS) were tested and the results plotted as shown in Figure 6. Because of the varied characteristics and difference in performance of the many FACS tested, the data points on the graph in Figure 6 look slightly deviated from the base line, but all fell within the acceptable margin of tolerance set for this particular test. In the graph in Figure 6 the red line represents data point of the Coriolis meter and the green line that of the various FACS tested and compared with the Coriolis. This was done for new and conventional samplers to test their integrity and reliability. It was also used as a performance base line and a method of comparison to show confidence in the performance of the new water monitoring devices. A Multi Fluid Incorporated (now Roxar Company) Water Cut Flow meter (WCFM) was installed on the crude feed line down stream of the sampling skid where it is being compared with the existing sampling system to assess it accuracy for custody transfer.
Custody accuracy must be within + 0.25%, allowable deviation + 0.05 % and water content not to exceed 0.5 %

Copyright 2004 by ISA The Instrumentation, Systems and Automation Society. Presented at ISA AUTOMATION WEST; www.isa.org

TEST RESULTS

The WCFM Initial Calibration for showed 0.36% accuracy for 1 to 4% water. It has an accuracy of 0.1% of full scale for temperature range of 0 120 C (- 32 to 250 F). Manufacturer quoted accuracy of 0.05% for 0 to 1% water in crude and 0.5% for 1 to 20% water in crude. Multiphase Flow Meter (MPFM) Versus Manual Spot Samples (MSS) Multiphase Flow Meter (MPFM) Versus Auto Spot Samplers (ASS)

MPFM (%v/v) MSS (% v/v) Deviation (%) MPFM (%v/v) MSS (% v/v) Deviation (%) 6.970 4.900 3.010 2.710 0.510 6.970 4.880 3.020 2.710 0.510 0.000 0.410 0.330 0.000 0.000 5.507 4.227 3.010 2.789 1.211 5.485 4.224 3.110 2.783 1.210 0.400 0.070 0.320 0.220 0.080

TEST CONCLUSION

0.080% deviation for 1.210% water- in-crude and 0.400% for 5.485% water- in- crude using the ASS as reference. 0.000% deviation for 0.510% water- in-crude and 0.410% deviation for 4.880% water- in- crude using the MSS as reference.
ADVANTAGES OF OIL -WATER SAMPLING & MONITORING DEVICES

The existing conventional crude oil sampling systems are situated outside the pipeline. The only interface with the flowing liquid is via a thin sample probe device. The grab sample usually travels some distance to the sample container causing fluid dead legs in the sample lines. The conventional sampling procedure is done in several steps, consuming time and requiring constant maintenance due to the many intermediate parts of the equipment. The water cut meter is installed in line and in direct contact with the process fluid. It gives real time continuous water contents in the crude line by measuring dielectric constants and conductivity of water/crude interface. The meter is automatically temperature compensated and is designed for minimum pressure drop. It is easily field calibrated for different process fluids and requires minimum maintenance.

Copyright 2004 by ISA The Instrumentation, Systems and Automation Society. Presented at ISA AUTOMATION WEST; www.isa.org

DISADVANTAGES OF OIL-WATER SAMPLING & MONITORING DEVICES

The water cut meter requires a line mixer upstream and does not give sediment quantities.

CONCLUSIONS
SUMMARY OF MAIN POINTS Multiphase flow measurement devices, their technologies and applications to custody measurements for automating the sampling operation, process flow to give accurate real-time feedstock and process water content control in refineries, gathering systems for material balance and inventory accounting and allocation purposes. Operations in well testing and production are some of the many currently being tested and evaluated by major corporations and private instrumentation manufacturing companies in the hydrocarbon industry. Water cut meters measure the microwave dielectric properties of mixtures using the resonant cavity method. The natural vibration frequency of a tube is affected by the density of a material in it. Capacitance, energy absorption, microwave and sub-megahertz technologies are all based on measuring the dielectric constants of a liquid due to changes in water content. Emerging technologies are based on measuring the absorption rate of infrared energy by water and hydrocarbon molecules. FINDINGS The oil- water monitoring devices can be installed in line and in direct contact with the process fluid. They give real time continuous water contents in the crude line by measuring dielectric constants and conductivity of water/crude interface. The meter is automatically temperature compensated and is designed for minimum pressure drop. It is easily field calibrated for different process fluids and requires minimum maintenance. It requires a line mixer upstream and does not give sediment quantities. 1. Based on 29 trial tests conducted on the MPFM at the GOSP, the meter showed good repeatability for an acceptable 10% accuracy measurements as compared to the reference measurement (test trap). The maximum operating range of the MPFM used was 4500 BPD as compared to that of the reference measure 7500 BPD. This shows that the appropriate size meter needs to be used to obtain better accuracy, especially at the higher flow ranges.

Copyright 2004 by ISA The Instrumentation, Systems and Automation Society. Presented at ISA AUTOMATION WEST; www.isa.org

2.

For custody transfer required accuracy must be within + 0.25%. Today's instruments are capable of measuring the full range (0 - 100%) of water to within +0.05%. This is as good as the repeatability of laboratory tests used for determining the water content in custody transfer applications. It has an accuracy of 0.1% of full scale for measurement temperature range of 0120 C (- 32 to 250 F). 0.080% deviation for 1.210% water- in-crude and 0.400% for 5.485% water- in- crude using the ASS as reference. 0.000% deviation for 0.510% water- in-crude and 0.410% deviation for 4.880% water- in- crude using the MSS as reference.

RECOMMENDATIONS Saudi Aramco is currently engaged in the testing, application and evaluation of oil-water sampling and monitoring devices, as well as being a joint industry partner in the testing and evaluation of new measurement technologies for crude and hydrocarbon products and is represented in the API for crude and hydrocarbon measurement standards and all that these standards include. The American Petroleum Institute (API) Manual of Petroleum Measurement Standards (MPMS), Chapters 8 Sampling and Chapter 10 Sediment & Water talk about sampling systems and determination of sediment and water in crude. A new draft chapter 8.2 X on Automatic Sampling Systems Section X for on line water in crude monitors is currently being balloted for inclusion into the API Standard. Once conclusive tests have been conducted and the oil-water monitors passed as alternate water in crude measuring devices and, if found acceptable by official governing authorities, collection of sample and lab analysis would not be required and the sampling systems for royalty and custody measurement will implement this technology.

REFERENCES
(1) (2) (3) Multi Fluid Incorporated (MFI), Field Test Data & Technical Literature; 1997 Golden, Colorado Saudi Arabian Oil Company (Saudi Aramco), Technical Information Center (TIC); 1999 Dhahran, Saudi Arabia American Petroleum Institute (API), Manual of Petroleum Measurement Standards; 1993 Washington D.C.

Copyright 2004 by ISA The Instrumentation, Systems and Automation Society. Presented at ISA AUTOMATION WEST; www.isa.org

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
The author wishes to thank the following companies for graciously providing information, data and pictorials to help make this presentation possible: Agar Corporation; Kam Controls, Inc.; and Multifluids, Inc.; Thanks also to Charles Greenway, Chevron Research and Technology Company Richmond, CA., U.S.A; the Custody Measurement Unit, Consulting Services Department, Saudi Aramco; Ras Tanura Refinery Operations Department, Saudi Aramco and E&P Facilities & Technology Department, Saudi Aramco.

DEFINITIONS
ROYALTY AND CUSTODY TRANSFER
ROYALTY TRANSFER

A specialized form of measurements. The basis for paying a fee or percentage of the revenues generated by the sales (royalty) to owners of private or state owned enterprises.
CUSTODY TRANSFER

A measurement of transfer of a Deliverable at the point of change of responsibility, providing quantity and quality information used for the physical and fiscal documentation of a change in ownership and/or responsibility of commodities between two parties possessing a contractual agreement and bound by the terms and conditions of such a contract. THOMPSON OIL Thompson Oil is a special type of testing oil that is similar to toluene (emulsifier), which has an affinity for water and, after a period of time, dissolves and mixes with water. One of the conventional methods of testing crude samples for water content is the Centrifuge Method. This method uses toluene (emulsifier) to cause the suspended water in the sample to precipitate or drop to the bottom of the test tube. After some period of time, the water goes back into suspension and disperses in the liquid.

Copyright 2004 by ISA The Instrumentation, Systems and Automation Society. Presented at ISA AUTOMATION WEST; www.isa.org

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