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Fundamentals of Liquid Measurement I

Fundamentals of Liquid Measurement I

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FUNDAMENTALS OF LIQUID MEASUREMENT – PART 1
 Class Number 2160Ralph S. PapeshBP Pipelines (North America) Inc.28100 Torch ParkwayWarrenville, IL 60555Accurate liquid measurement is an important aspectof the petroleum industry. With regard to commerce,it is the basis of custody transfer between producers,pipelines, refineries, petrochemical plants, utilityplants, products marketing and the transportationindustry. As it pertains to process control, it isneeded to maintain specific flow rates, pressuresand levels to ensure precise quality andenvironmental control.In either custody transfer or process control, dailysmall percentage volumetric measurement errorscan accumulate to large volumetric errors over along period of time. These errors can have anadverse impact on the profitability of a company.In order to help minimize liquid petroleummeasurement inaccuracies, a fundamentalunderstanding of the physical laws that affectmeasurement are necessary. Therefore, whileknowledge of measurement equipment principlesand applications are necessary to design or maintain an accurate system, it is equally importantto understand the hydrocarbon physical propertiesthat affect volume, oil quality, the method of measurement, and consequently, the price of oil.These physical properties include: Temperature,Density (or relative density, or API gravity),Compressibility, Sediment and water (S&W), Vapor Pressure (RVP or TVP), and Viscosity.
Temperature
Temperature measurement normally plays arelatively significant role in volumetric measurement,compared to the other physical properties, sincepetroleum liquids expand readily when heated andcontract when cooled. The amount it expands or contracts not only depends on the temperature, butalso on the density of the liquid. For example, crudeoil does not expand or contract the same amount asgasoline, given the same deviation in temperature,because crude oil has a higher density. So when abarrel of oil is bought or sold by either meter or tankmeasurement, the temperature and density mustalso be measured simultaneously.The petroleum industry has adopted standards of volume to correct for the effects of thermalexpansion/contraction. The standard volume in theUnited States is the barrel, which contains 42 USgallons measured at the standard temperature of 60
°
F. In Europe, and many other parts of the world,the standard volume is the liter, which is measuredat the standard temperature of 15
°
C. Tables of Volume Correction Factors (VCF) for correctingvolumes, measured at any temperature, to theequivalent volume at standard temperature areavailable from the American Petroleum Institute(API) and the International Standards Organization(ISO).Tank temperature measurements are obtained witha mercury thermometer, a new environmentally safeglass thermometer, or with an electronicthermometer. While a mid-level temperature readingis necessary on small tanks, readings are normallytaken at the upper, middle, and lower levels on largetanks to determine the average temperature.Custody transfer metering system temperatures aremeasured dynamically with in-line thermometersand/or electronic transmitters. These devicesshould be located immediately downstream of themeter tube to obtain a temperature representative of flow measurement conditions. Batch temperaturemeasurements should be flow weight averaged.
Density or GravityDensity
is defined as the mass of fluid per unitvolume at a given temperature. Examples aregrams per cubic centimeter (gm/cc), pounds per cubic foot (lb./cu. ft.) and kilograms per cubic meter (kg/cu. m.).
Relative Density
is the ratio of the density of a liquidat a given temperature to the density of pure water at a standard temperature, which is either 60
°
F or 15
°
C. The temperature of the liquid and thetemperature of water are shown as 70
°
F/60
°
F, for example, and must be included with the densitystatement.Density and relative density are most commonlyused for light liquid hydrocarbons (e.g., LPG, NGL,etc.), petrochemicals and, sometimes, refined
 
products. Relative density is also used for determining VCF for crude oils and other hydrocarbon mixtures when API correction Tables 5and 6 cannot be used.
API Gravity
is a special gravity scale commonlyused in the petroleum industry. API gravity is mostoften measured with a hydrometer, which is a sealedgraduated cylinder with a weight in the bottom. Thehydrometer scale can be graduated in relativedensity (specific gravity) or API gravity. API gravity isrelated to relative density and the density of water (which is defined as 10
°
API) by the followingformula:
°
API @ 60
°
F = ______141.5_______ - 131 5
Rel. Den.
60
°
F/ 60
°
FAPI gravity is inversely related to relative density.Therefore, liquids that are commonly called “heavier”have low API gravities and high densities or relativedensities. Also, liquids that are commonly called“lighter” have high API gravities and low densities or relative densities.The following table shows some typical densityranges for various types of petroleum liquids. Crudeoils are almost always priced at a given API gravityor for an API gravity range.PetroleumLiquidRelativeDensityAPI GravityRangeCrude Oils 1.000 - 0.78010
°
- 50
°
 Fuel Oils, Jet Fuel 0.875 - 0.78030
°
- 50
°
 Gasolines 0.780 - 0.68550
°
- 75
°
 Butanes, Propane 0.685 - 0.50575
°
- 115
°
 The procedure for measuring density, relativedensity or API gravity by hydrometer is described isAPI MPMS Chapter 9.1 (ASTM D 1298). Thismethod requires a separate thermometer tomeasure the temperature of the liquid at the time of the density measurement. Alternatively, athermohydrometer may be used, which is similar toa conventional hydrometer, but has a small glassthermometer built into it, making it possible to readboth measurements with one device. Volatile liquidsthat evaporate readily at ambient temperature mustuse a pressure hydrometer device as described inAPI MPMS Chapter 9.2. This is a clear glass or plastic cylinder with sealable end caps with ahydrometer and thermometer inside the tube. Thetube is filled with liquid, carefully bled down toatmospheric pressure, and placed in a constanttemperature bath maintained at standardtemperature. The hydrometer is read after thecontents of the tube have stabilized at the bathtemperature.For liquids that are so volatile that they would boil atatmospheric pressure, such as LPG or LNG, densityis measured with a pycnometer. This device is aglass or stainless steel container with an accuratelyknown internal volume. The pycnometer is totallyfilled with liquid at the same pressure as the systemthat custody transfer measurement or meter provingis conducted. The filled pycnometer is then weighedand the density calculated from the weight andvolume. This is done after correcting for thepycnometer tare weight and the buoyancy effect of air during weighing.Density can affect equipment performance. Thelength of time that a thermometer must besuspended in a tank to determine the temperature of the tank contents increases relative to an increase indensity of the contents. Also, the rangibility of aturbine meter is affected by changes in density.API gravity or relative density is also essential to theconversion of a volume measured at operating or ambient temperature to equivalent standard volumeat standard temperature. The equivalent volume atstandard temperature is obtained by multiplying thevolume measured at operating temperature by aVolume Correction Factor (VCF) that may beobtained for most crude oils and refined productsfrom API Table 6. The operating temperature andAPI gravity are required for this. Table 6A is for crude oils, and Table 6B is for refined products. Aportion of Table 6A is shown below:
TABLE 6A, GENERALIZED CRUDE OILSVOLUME CORRECTION TO 6O FTEMP API GRAVITY AT 60 FF 45.0 45.5 46.0 46.5 47.075.0 0.9920 0.9920 0.9919 0.9919 0.991875.5 0.9917 0.9917 0.9916 0.9916 0.991576.0 0.9915 0.9914 0.9914 0.9913 0.9913
To use Table 6, round both temperature and APIgravity to the nearest 0.5
°
and enter the table. Thistable is not to be interpolated for intermediatevalues. Therefore, the VCF for a 45.8
°
API crude at75.6
°
F would be 0.9916.In some applications, notably meter proving, VCF iscalled CTL or the Correction for Temperature of theLiquid.While the above tables are convenient to use, thepreferred method for obtaining VCF is with analgorithm. An algorithm was developed by API from
 
data on refined products and a large variety of crudeoils from around the world. The API algorithm,which relates densities, VCF, and temperatures is:VCF =
ρ
t
/
ρ
60
= EXP[-
α
60
t(1+0.8
α
60
t)]In which:VCF = Volume Correction Factor 
ρ
t
= density at temperature t
ρ
60
= density at 60
°
F
α
60
= thermal coefficient of expansion for that type of liquid at 60
°
F
t = t - 60.0As previously stated, liquids expand and contractwith temperature changes. Likewise, liquid volumechange occurs because of variations in density or API gravity. These changes are relatively small,compared to temperature changes, but are notnegligible. Therefore, the API gravity of crude oilmeasured at some temperature, other than standardtemperature, must be corrected to the equivalentAPI gravity at 60
°
F by using API Table 5. Table 5Ais for crude oils and Table 5B is for refined products.A portion of Table 5A is shown below.
TABLE 5A, GENERALIZED CRUDE OILSTEMP API GRAVITY AT OBSERVED TEMPERATUREF 35.0 35.5 36.0 36.5 37.0 37.551.5 35.7 36.2 36.7 37.2 37.7 38.252.0 35.6 36.1 36.6 37.1 37.6 38.152.5 35.6 36.1 36.6 37.1 37.6 38.1
This table is to be interpolated. Therefore, a crudeoil that measures 36.3
°
API at 52.0
°
F, the standardgravity at 60
°
F would be 36.9
°
API. The calculationfor this is:36.6+[(36.3-36.0)x(37.1-36.6)]/(36.5-36.0)=36.9API/ASTM/GPA TP-25 – Tables 23E and 24Eshould be used for Light Hydrocarbons. Thisstandard was published in 1998 and replacesASTM-IP Technical Publication Tables 23 and 24 –1952, and GPA Technical Publication TP-16, whichwere previously used for volumetric measurement of LPG.API Table 6C is used for individual and specialapplications where the volume is corrected to 60º Fagainst thermal expansion coefficients at 60º F.
Compressibility
Compressibility is another factor that must beconsidered. Liquids expand when pressure isreduced and shrink in volume when pressure isincreased. The effects of compressibility are lessthan those due to temperature, but are notnegligible. Correction factors for compressibility(CPL) are given in API MPMS Chapter 11.2. Theequation is:CPL = 1/ [1-(P-Pe)*F]In which:P = the operating pressure in psigPe = the equilibrium vapor pressure atoperating pressure (or zero for liquids withvapor pressures less than atmospheric)F = the compressibility factor determined inaccordance with API MPMS Chapter 11.2.1or Chapter 11.2.2. A portion of API MPMS11.2.1 is shown below.
 COMPRESSIBILITY FACTORS PER POUNDS SQ. IN.(DIVIDE ALL NUMBERS BY 100000)TEMP API GRAVITY AT 60 DEG. FDeg F 18.0 18.5 19.0 19.5 20.099.0 0.434 0.437 0.440 0.444 0.44799.5 0.434 0.437 0.441 0.444 0.448100.0 0.435 0.438 0.441 0.445 0.448
This table is not interpolated. Note that the numbersin the table must be divided by 100000. The tablewas made this way to save space by not including abunch of leading zeros for each value of “F”. By wayof example, calculate the volume of 1000 bbls of a19.9
°
API (at 60
°
F) fuel oil metered at a pressure of 500 psi and a temperature of 100
°
F. Thecompressibility factor (F) from the table is0.00000448, and CPL is:CPL=1/[1-(500-0)*0.00000448]=1.0023The equivalent volume at atmospheric pressure is:(1000 bbls)*(1.0023)=1002 bbls.
S&W
Sediment and Water (S&W) is a collective term for non-hydrocarbon materials that are contained incrude oil. Crude oils may contain large amounts of S&W as they come from the oil wells, and are treatedon-site to reduce S&W to a concentration, typically1.0% or less, which is set by the pipeline, marinecarrier, or other transportation service whichtransports the crude oil from the field to a refinery.

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