By Nick Voss, V-Cone Product Manager, McCrometer
A regional light crude pipeline operator in the mountain states of the U.S. was looking for an economical, accurate method to measure crude inventory flow within its pumping stations. The pipeline operator specializes in transporting partially processed crude to other lines or main terminals.
Accurate flow measurement is essential to the cost-effective operation of pipelines. While highly precise, and often expensive, flow meters are required to perform custody-transfer measurements for payment purposes, there are also intermediate process measurement points within pumping stations, for example, that can be served with less expensive technology.
When oil is moved over distances via pipelines, pumping stations maintain product throughout as it travels. The flow rate and volume must be monitored (metered) to optimize pump operation and throughput to the end destination at a terminal, refinery or point of custody transfer as well as serve as early warning for leak detection. The pipeline pumping stations are located in proximity to equipment or facilities or where there are mountain ranges, long valleys, etc.