The engineers at a municipal wastewater treatment utility were expanding their biogas digester system and were seeking an improvement over their existing, maintenance-intensive flow metering technology. They needed to measure the amount of gas contained within a gas bag as well as the flow rate of the gases traveling from the gas bag system into a co-generation power system.
Mid-to-large size facilities and campuses inevitably have hundreds of flow instruments to monitor, maintain, and repair. For a reliability engineer, ensuring that all instrumentation meets ISO 9000 or similar standards is a time-consuming responsibility. By Matthew J. Olin, President & CEO, Sierra Instruments, Inc.
Flow measurement & control
The oil and gas industry is one of those areas that rely on flow measurement and control products to ensure efficiency, safety and accuracy in production. Some of the flow measurement instruments and products that are used in the petrochemical industry include multiphase meters and water-cut meters. These instruments offer solution to all topside and downhole installation needs. Flow measurement and control instruments need to be accurate to ensure that production percentages are not exaggerated or understated.
The flow meters used in the oil and gas industries can either be portable or fixed installation types. The portable flow meters are normally used in areas that range from troubleshooting to testing and servicing. The fixed installation flow meters are mainly used in functions that are permanent or less frequent to changes. There are certain attributes that ought to be considered in a flow meter before it is purchased. Ease of use and accuracy is a trait that all measurement instruments need to possess. All portable flow meters need to be flexible while the fixed installation meters need to durable and versatile.
Most manufacturers have metering specialists who will help with all the stages from need evaluation to design and installation. This helps since the final product will be that which is specific to the needs of an individual oil or gas site. There are software designed to help with optimization and facilitate instantaneous monitoring. All the installations will be integrated to ensure a fit-for-function solution.
Other than the flow instrumentation, control instruments are the other fundamental component of oil and gas exploration. Control valves are one important part of the control system that ensures that production is maximized with efficiency and the process is seamless. These valves are useful in pressure relief and reduction as well as back pressure regulation. Control systems are installed in compressors and pumps to regulate pressure and flow rates respectively.