When it comes to process instrumentation in the oil and gas industry, particularly as it relates to hydraulic fracking, you need a variety of technologies and instruments that can be applied to each step of the product cycle.
The product cycle consists of three steps:
While each segment of the product cycle is essential to achieve the end result – oil and natural gas – the steps involved with the recovery process are the most impactful as they can affect the overall total amount that you can recover.
Magnetic Flow meters, particularly the SITRANS Mag 8000 and SITRANS Mag 3100, are primarily used to measure water inlet and outlet used in the recovery and discovery of petrochemicals. For instance, when you’re drilling into your oil well, you need to use a constant stream of water to lubricate the drill so that it doesn’t overheat, but to also act as an agent to treat the earth with chemicals that help prepare it for recovery. Water is also a vital part in removing or pushing aside any dirt, rock and drilling materials so that it doesn’t impact the product that you’re bringing up.
Additionally, to comply with government regulations for water reutilization, whatever water you put into the well, you need to be able to account for, which is why accurate flow meter technology is critical to measuring the amount you use throughout the process.
Okay, so now that we’ve reviewed the importance of flow meters in the oil and gas industry, how do you know which flow meter would best fit your structure?
Whenever choosing your mag meters, you need to take into consideration your environment. While some environments are less abrasive than others, for fracking, you want to ensure that your process instrumentation can stand up to abrasive conditions like sand, gravel and rock.
Once you’re able to move through your checklist of what you need for your site set-up, you’ll be able to identify which instruments would assist you best with your task.
Here are a few of things that I look for on my check list, and how it can benefit you:
1. What climate will the device be installed into?
What to keep in mind: You want the confidence that the meter will perform in the ambient conditions of your installation site.
The benefit: With a meter that is designed to meet the ambient conditions you will experience, you can expect long life and reliable performance. Make sure you know the temperature as well as the atmosphere surrounding the meter. If it is outdoors, consider an IP67 rated device. If it is going to be at risk of being submerged in water, either occasionally or permanently, or if the meter will be buried, make sure you specify IP68 ratings. You want the ability to use a meter that is designed for your environmental requirements.
2. Will there be power available?
What to keep in mind: If power is not accessible or reliable, you may want to consider a battery powered option.
The benefit: Usually you have three choices when it comes to power. If you have reliable AC power available, or reliable DC power available you can go with a traditionally powered meter. If you don’t have reliable power, or you have no power at all, you can consider using a battery powered meter.
3. How abrasive is the material you are measuring?
What to keep in mind: The abrasiveness of material will help determine what type of liner you need: Linatex, Neoprene, EPDM, Ebonite, or Polyurethane. I’ve found that Linatex coating responds best to aggressive environments.
The benefit: Having a choice of liners allows the selection of the best liner for the application. You can weigh the advantages of compatibility of the material with the chemical composition of the process or the abrasive nature of the fluid against the characteristics of the different liners to make the choice that best meets your cost and/or longevity goals for the installation.
4. What sort of maintenance or validation is required or state mandated?
What to keep in mind: Are you using the flow meter for billing based on the transfer of product? How often is it required or mandated to have the flow meter’s performance either verified or fully validated? Is it once a year, or is it more often. Do the rules I have to follow allow me to verify the performance of my mag meter without taking it out of service?
The benefit: There are many reasons to verify the performance of your flow meter. Whether you need to ensure that the meter’s accuracy complies with local agency requirements, you want to comply with your internal quality procedures with a certificate of verification, or you simply perform proactive troubleshooting to confirm the meters performance. A meter, such as a mag meter, with no moving parts can reduce the amount of downtime and extend routine maintenance cycles. If that meter also has the ability to be verified in situ to confirm that the sensor, transmitter and cables are all functioning properly, and can provide a report that includes traceable confirmation of the meters overall performance, this can help significantly reduce the frequency that the meter would have to be pulled from service for validation, either internal to the company or with external traceable certification.
These are just some of my top characteristics for selecting a meter. There are many more considerations such as flow rates, approvals, and communication needs to name a few. If you are not sure what you need, we can help walk you through it.
So, what do you look for in magnetic flow meter?