Electronic Gas Measurement Audit - ...

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Electronic Gas Measurement Audit
Gary P. Menzel & R.Michael Squyres Coastal Flow Measurement, Inc. P.O. Box 58965 Houston, Texas 77258-8965 18th Annual Measurement Short Course Acadiana Flow Measurement Society April 29-30 Lafayette, LA

As Electronic Gas Meters (EGM) replace the more traditional chart recorders as the method of recording and calculating custody transfer volumes in the natural gas industry, it becomes more and more important to be able to audit the volumes produced by these devices. Our company has been doing some audits on electronic flow meters since 1984 and currently audit over 30 different pipelines at EGM custody transfer stations. Over the twelve month period ending December1 1992, we found errors on over 3% of all of these stations audited which were resolved by agreement between the parties involved. The incidence of error on the BOM stations we audit falls in the same range as that of the chart recorder stations audited. We have summarized the types of errors we have found in EGM auditing and these results are listed in table one. Where a category is listed as .00%, it is an error which has occurred in the past but that did not occur in during the twenty four month period included in the table. Where possible, we have kept the same code numbers as we use to classify errors found in chart auditing, though in fact the location where naany of these occur has moved from the office to the field. Many of these errors were only found because check metering equipment was installed and used to identify areas where problems existed. Check metering equipment is one of the best tools available to identify problems in measurement. Many problems can only be identified and corrected where there is a properly installed check meter. Even a check recorder installed on the same tube is helphil, though it will not identify problems with the primary device. Where there is a check meter, the auditor has the advantage of being able to compare two different sources of measurement and can easily find problems affecting only one of the meters. If a complete check meter station exists then the auditor should be able to identify and correct for most errors that occur. If a check meter does not exist, even ifa problem is identified, there may be no way to determine a more accurate volume than that originally determined. To receive an audit adjustrnent, not only must an error exist. but them has to be a method to calculate a better answer. In order to properly audit a measurement station, the auditor needs access to all of the measurement

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org/scourse/97sc2. these errors may be difficult to identify or correct.htm 08/03/2010 7:09:05 PM . If samples are pulled it can give the auditor a check on the gas quality.. This condition can be corrected for by establishing a ratio of the indicted flow with the plate properly installed to that with the plate in backwards. Since most stations will not have problems. Usually this condition is noted. Equipment will fail. it is better if the original and edited flow records are provided in electronic format to facilitate review and recalculation. if the flow is shut-in while the p! ate inspection is being made. original and edited (if any) data from the custody transfer station and any other infornnation that is available about the measurement station. A properly conducted witness test eliminates some errors before they happen. when found. Out of Beta Ratio: The only thing that can be said about this condition is avoid it.. Even with the best equipment and personnel. Orifice Plate Reversed: This condition can sometimes be detected during review. If no check meter exists or only a check recorder. or be prepared to get your volumes somewhere else. Also. test reports and meter tube inspection reports. It should also be a tool to identify equipment. All of the data available to the original party responsible for the measurement should be made available to the auditor. They will always be present when orifice metering is used. but variable flow rates and other factors may mask this condition. However. it can result in millions of dollars of recovered revenue. or of http://www. if it is a choice of accepting a plate that is below the minimum recommereded. Even though changes to flow parameters and calibration are logged by the meter. In the worst case. 102. procedural and operational problems that are adversely affecting measurement sothat they can be corrected. it is a good idea to continue to produce meter test reports independent of the meter event logs. This includes the measurement and definitions sections of the contract. computer tools can be used to identify areas where problems may exist If problems exist.afms. If the flow is steady enough. It may be necessary to conduct tests with the plate installed properly and backwards to establish this ratio after the fact This problem can easily account for 20% or more of flow. Page 2 information concerning the station.. especially those not associated with the calibration and programming of the recorder. or mistakes will be made. These problems occur more often on EGM stations than on chart recorder stations due in part to the difficulty of reviewing historical data in the field with many EGM models. snce' the witness should catch most mistakes made by the meter tester. because answers computed from such sources are generally unreliable. gas analyses1 check meter records. Witness testing is also a valuable contributor to the audit program. problems will still occur. This allows comments to be recorded which may provide valuable insight into measurement problems. it gives the auditor the resource ofhaving theirown meter technician to call upon with questions about the meter installation and flow conditions.Electronic Gas Measurement Audit . the computer can also be used to recalculate the volumes. Orifice Plate These errors occur at the orifice plate. For EGM audits. on the meter test report If no properly recording check meter station exists. This ratio may change slightly over the flowing range. this estimate can be made from the flows before and after the plate was installed improperly and when the problem was fixed. Audit Errors The classes of errors found in auditing have been divided into major categories representing the type of error. Care must be taken to allow for pressure build up. Auditing is generally the last chance to insure the measurement is being done properly. The least that can be expected from an audit program is that it will improve the overall measurement quality at the cash register of the industry. if this is the method which gives the best answer. 101.

only fix the problem. but only if the meter is still flowing at a similar rate. Page 3 not properly measuring the flow due to low differential. is not asgood as it would be further up in the meter range. Many SCM devices have a low flow alarm wbich can be set above the low differential cut-off. Plate Too Large: This problem results in the flow. Better still would be to change the differential transducer to a lower range. if possible. Meter Problems 204. Also it cannot be verified that this is the problem unless there is a lest repon or other documentation that indicates the plate was found dirty and was cleaned. since this problem will change over time as the dirt or other material builds up on the plate and meter tube. If a check meter exists it maybe possible to more closely determine when the problem occurred. 106.. One of these advantages is that a chart recorder will record the differential at zero. Occasionally the plate is so damaged that an adjustment is required. It may also be possible to determine when the problem occurred by looking at alarm conditions if the problem is severe enough. Also the measurement where the meter is recording flow. Damaged Plate: The plate is nicked. there is probably no way to get an adjustment where this problem exists. 104. or the plate was left in the upper chamber of a "Senior" type fitting during inspection. 107. If these conditions are occurring and no low-flow alarms are occurring then a plate change needs to be made. A check meter must be tested to verify that it does not suffer from the same problem. Most EGMs have a high differential alarm which can give an indication that this problem might be occurring. The meter may have no other data for these periods of lower flow rate. Plate Missing : Fortunately rare. dulled or otherwise damaged. Either there was no plate installed. dished. or much of the flow being called zero by the meter due to its low differential cut-off. usually half way back to the preceding calibration test especially on EGM devices which are usually off on zero. Usually this does not affect the indicated flow to a noticeable extent This is true beeause the plat6s are replaced when there is only minor damage and should not be used Man excuse not to replace damaged plates. Some also have an alarm which tells you when the stop at the top is reached... the tubes will probably need to be inspected for build up as well. so a chart recorder will offer additional information and therefore advantages Macheck meter to an HOM station. it may not be possible to properly calculate an adjustment without a check meter.htm 08/03/2010 7:09:05 PM . For this reason check meters are essential 10 distinguish between these periods and periods of actual no flow. http://www. 103. then no adjustment may be possible. In fact the plate may be prpperly sized to measure the flow as accurately as possible with the existing plate during normal flow conditions. If the plate is severely nicked. Plate Too Small: This problem results in the meter operating above its calibrated range. This is a point. The transducer will have a maximum possible differential and will not record above that point. This alarm can be usedto determine when a plate change is required. If both low and high alarms are occurring then whether a plate change needs to be made or not depend upon the percent of time each is occurring and where the alarm points are set.afms. Damaged plates should not be disposed of before it is determined that no adjustment is required. Even then. If this problem is found repeatedly.org/scourse/97sc2. Calibration: If the meter is found out of calibration by greater than the contractual amount at the flowing conditions then the volume it calculated needs to be corrected. 105. below which the EGM meter will call all differential zero so as to not attribute flow to periods of no flow. then the orientation of the plate should be noted. This can be made in a similar manner to a backwards plate.Electronic Gas Measurement Audit . then the smaller plate is better. Unless the check meter is a different tube id. If most of the flow has the low flow alarm condition then the plate is too large and a plate change may need to be made. Sometimes an adjustment can be made by estimating the flow rate at the rate after a plate change was made. As an EGM device offers additional information and therefore advantages as a check meter to a chart recorder station. Dirty Plate: This is a sneaky problem which can happen so slowly that it will not be detected by merely observing the recorded flow. If the meter is overranged and the check meter does not have a larger plate.

EGM Errors This class of errors are those unique to the EGM devices. & if it is noted on a field test. These are listed out of order in the text to preserve continuity with the errors found for chart recorders. Wrong Plate Size: Usually a plate change was skipped or incorrectly entered. but somewhere in transferring it from the EGM to the final gas accounting statement something was changed. or as the result of brief and unpredictable surges. If the problem recurs. to identify flow rate changes and down time. the equalization valve was left open. entered either into the EGM device itself by field personnel with failure to correct for it in the office or entry of incorect data in the office resulting in erroneous corrections. On some of the meters when the meter shuts itself down due to low power in order to preserve the data it has already taken. Well meters may be used. It may also be the failure to correct in the office for an estimated specific gravity used in the field.. The data can usually be racalculated using the proper plate size. This contractual tolerance which is usually two percent. The transducer should he replaced if this has not alraady been done. This problem is especially likely when a new meter is placed in service since it may be some time before a routine sample is taken. the volume needs to be estimated from periods where the meter was in service. This problem is usually a maner of not entering the correct data rather than entering incorrect data. 602. the plate is too small. Page 4 Calibration is usually the only tolerance addressed in the measurement contract. the correspondence is not exact. 405. This problem is normally only identifiable with a proper check meter. Seldom is it a case that the wrong plate size was entered. usually occurring after periods of down time. 403. Reported Wrong Volume: This represents the cases where the volume was not supposed to have been changed. 208. A similar http://www. For BOM stations this error includes the error in zero which is listed as a separate error for chart recorders. but errors are placed in this category only when the plate is correctly sized and the overranging is for relatively short periods. Calibration Zero is off.. It may also he due to a procedural error on the part of any of the people translerring the data. Bad Transducer: These errors nesult when the transducer fails either partially or completely. 207. Data Entry Errors This category of errors includes incorrect data. Though similar errors may occur on chart recorders. 601. should be lowered for EGM devices since they are supposed to have much better tolerances for calibration. This can occur due to a bug in the software or hardware. Overranging: Of course. Meter Out of Service: The meter manifold valves were left closed.. 408.htm 08/03/2010 7:09:05 PM . If it is brought back on and not recalibrated. or the meter tube was left totally or partially bypassed. for the period when the overranging occurs.afms. Leak During Test: This represents a leak in the test equipment or manifold resulting in a high or low zero on the meter being used to set its zero point at working pressure. Corrections can be made for this condition only where another source of measurement exists which is not overranging. operational changes may need to be made. its calibration may be wildly off until it is recalibrated. Wrong Specific Gravity: This is usually a failure to use the most current specific gravity. If no check meter exists. it will lose calibration.org/scourse/97sc2. . even if not up to custody transfer standards.Electronic Gas Measurement Audit . or where it exhibits excessive calibration drift If no check meter exists then estimates may have to be made using flow from before and after the problem occurred.

606. 610. and may occur regardless of flowing temperature. Though most frequent in winter. if that. Set Up Factors Incorrect: The original programming of the EGM was incorrect when it was placed in service or these factors were changed incorrectly at some point after the meter was installed. The error may be the result of incorrect estimates for the affected periods.. data is lost by setting it higher than absolutely nccessary 611. These conditions may be a temperatures up to about seventy degrees. Thiis includes setting it up as an incorrect transducer range or tube I. If the flow must be shut in during a portion of the test. Not Resetting Volume After Plate Change: When a plate change is made. Missing Data: Either data was not collected before it vanished from the field device or it was lost in transmission to the office or once it reached the office. Page 5 problem can occur if the taps an left open to the flow line while the pressure is being tested if pulsation exists due to gage line error. Miscellaneous 501.. Dead Battery: The battery ran out of charge and the meter shut itself down for low power. and that other problems which cause a false differential during no flow should be corrected by zeroing them out in the office. 603. Care must be taken in designing a downstream processing system so that missing data is identified and cannot be mistaken for no flow records. Calculation Methodology: This represents errors from recalculating the volume on separate computers. or ofsimply failing to attribute any volume for those periods.. care must be taken that the meter begins calculating wing the new plate size immediately after the meter is put back in service. Zero Cut-Off Set Incorectly: If the zero cut-off point is set too high it will call all or part of the flow. This problem may be indistinguishable from missing data. it should be recalibrated as some meters lose their calibrating during a low power time-out 609.org/scourse/97sc2.the meter should be locked in at zero only for that time. Thene should be some backup method for identifying and collecting missing data before it disappears from the meter. However it is also likely that the condition was not recognized and no correction to the original erroneous volume was made when this http://www. using the new differential but the old plate size. Bad Board: The electronics in the meter failed and no corrections wern made. No estimate was made for the time during which the meter was not recording. 607. In this latter case. Meter Freeze: A very common problem. Otherwise the meter may calculate for the remainder of the hour. since the meter manifold and leads have no flow through them. 605. No estimate was made for the missing data in these cases. or incorrectly specifying included or excluded factors. 608. 604. it may further exaggerate the measurement errors due to the presence of pulsation.htm 08/03/2010 7:09:05 PM . Upon restatting the meter. it can occur any time the physical conditions for hydrate formation are present. it rnay be impossible to prove that this data represents valid flow. D. We believe that the tern cut-off should be set only to account for transducer drift.afms. Meter Zeroed During Test: During most tests the EGM should be locked in to its prior reading before the manifold valves are equalized to test the meter. usually related to not carrying enough precision in the transferred data or from not calculating or recalculating using the proper factors. Unless precise production records are kept or check meters are available. no-flow.Electronic Gas Measurement Audit . Because most BUMS make no record of the differential during periods below the low zero cut-off. Data Deleted: A decision was made that the data presented by the meter was false flow and this data was deleted.

Also. These then are some of the areas in which to look for errors in BUM auditing. Finally. Sometimes these were the best estimates possible with the in-formation available to the original party and sometimes false assumptions were used to make these estimates. Page 6 condition occurs on an BUM station. 502. A check meter is likely to freeze during similar time periods.. this has not been our experience. The auditor will allways have the advantage of being able to spend more time on a problem to find the right answer and will usually have access to more information. there will always be a need to audit. any false flow created by liquids should be eliminated in the office. The following is a partial outline of a typical EGM audit http://www. unless them is another sounce of measurement for comparison. Without knowledge of the flowing conditions andlor a check meter.org/scourse/97sc2. 505. both simple mistakes and errors of judgment in any measurement. it indicates that a problem exists. At first look you would expect to see many fewer errors using BUM since many areas of human judgment have been eliminated. Computers malfunction the same as other equipment and the answer a working computer gives is only as good as its programming and data. 503.Electronic Gas Measurement Audit . if any changes were made between the EGM data and the final statement then the auditor should receive a description of the changes made and the reasons for those changes. Some of this can be attributed to the learning curve involved with using this new. This isa must.afms. The auditor should also ohtain any check meter records which pertain to the station or even line balance information ifthat is all that is available. Another reason for error which is common to all measurement departments is a lack of time to fully research a problem. The data presented for EGM audit must enable the auditor to find these errors and make a reasonable estimate for their effect To do this. insure that regardless of the technology. Some. Leaks: The leak could be at the seal ring or meter or somewhere in the upstream section of the custody transfer equipment. This category shows that at least this data was reviewed and some effort was made to correct a problem. it can remain undetected for long periods.. since now not just recording of mw data. Incorrect Estimate: These are erroneous estimates. The incidence of error found on SCM audits has been about the same as that found in conventional chart audits. Depending upon the site of the leak. but ifit is recording different from the sales meter. These reasons.htm 08/03/2010 7:09:05 PM . more sophisticated equipment. the conditions causing liquids to become trapped in the manifold or tubing should be rectified in the field. unedited values recorded by the SCM device should be presented in a format that will enable the auditor to review the data and make recalculations on a computer the same as the original party responsible for measurement In addition the anditor should have copies oftest reports on themeterandtheatiditingparty should witness these tests. it does not need to be reviewed for measurement errors. The witness should also collect enough data from the field unit to venfy that any changes made to the data downstaeam are logged as being changed. original. The auditor should receive a copy of the final gas accounting statement showing the custody transfer volumes. There is an all to common tendency to sul:oose that if the BUM indicates a volume.. However. Fluids: The meter should not have its low zero cut-off raised to account for fluids since this will have the effect of calling any low flow rate zero and it prevents themeter from recording the flow -meters during these times. but all of the factors involved in measurement are done in the field. it may be impossible to determine that this condition even exists. plus simple human error. can be attributed to the tendency of people to think that if a computer says its right then it is and does not need to be reviewed. This category represents cases in which false flow due to fluid was not zeroed out and also cases where real flow was erroneously attributed as false flow due to fluids. if possible. unfortunately. Instead. There will always be errors.

Current analysis 3. Calculation methodology 5. Any other data for station 3. Hourly History 2. Review alarm settings http://www. Contract day and hour 5. Calibration Tolerance 3.afms. Field test report(s) 9. Base conditions 2. Contract terms 1.htm 08/03/2010 7:09:05 PM . Any calibration adjustments required 5. Previous analysis 2. Check back calculated characteristics versus test reports and last months characteristics 4. Check meter information 4. Analysis data 6. Were they applied correctly? 6. Was it a bad sample? 7.. How is information provided 5.org/scourse/97sc2. Test Frequency 4.. Current characteristics 5. Back calculate each characteristic 3. Station number 3. Verify current characteristics 2. Verify Station Set-Up Information 1. Page 7 1. Reconciliation report 8. Final GM Volume Statement 7. Calculate coefficients for each characteristic and verify flow rates calculated 8. Test Report data 1.Electronic Gas Measurement Audit . Pressure and BTU base 2. Was it applied properly? 4. Verify that data meets contract terms 1. Analyze data 1. Alarms 4. Test frequency 4. Is the test frequency per contract 6. Following test report 4. Previous test report 2. Contract day and hour 3. Current test report 3. Events 3. Meertype 4. Alarm 1. Characteristics 1.. Station name 2. Verify receipt of data 1. Calculation methodology 2.

Leak During Test Calculation Methodology Missing Data Data Deleted .07 11.. Liquids 3..99 3. Is plate sized properly 6. Review flow data 1.18 4. Cornpare to check meter 10. Is low flow cutoff set properly 5.00 13.00 . Inc.50 .Electronic Gas Measurement Audit .org/scourse/97sc2. Page 8 2..19 23.19 .00 1.00 8. Other 4.40 .29 http://www. Document findings Coastal Flow Measurement. TABLE 1 Classification of Measurement Errors for EGM Stations Code 101 102 103 104 105 106 107 Orifice Plate Reversed Out of Beta Ratio Damaged Plate Dirty Plate Plate Too Large Plate Too Small Plate Missing Subtotal Orifice Meter 204 207 208 Calibration Meter Out of Service Overranging Subtotal Data Entry Errors 403 405 408 Wrong Plate Sir Wrong Specific Gravity Reported Wrong Volume Subtotal EGM Errors 601 602 603 604 605 Bad Transducer Calibration Zero Off .39 3.50 4.00 6.afms. Freeze 2.80 6.89 2.99 23.htm 08/03/2010 7:09:05 PM . Review alarm histories 9.70 18.68 Orifice Plate Percent .70 .

98 Net-Step Media.Electronic Gas Measurement Audit ..10 .00 15.00 .20 .org/scourse/97sc2. E-mail us your thoughts or suggestions.. Page 9 606 607 608 609 610 611 Set Up Factors Incorrect Bad Board Dead Battery Not Resetting Volume After Plate Change Zero Cut-Off Set lncorrectly Meter Zeroed During Test Subtotal Miscellaneous 2.10 2.afms.38 2.80 22.38 100.00 [ Electronic Flow Measurement ] [ Gas Measurement ] [ Liquid Measurement ] [ Regulatory Issues ] [ Sampling / Chromatography ] [ Web Sites ] [ Miscellaneous ] [ News Archives ] [ News ] [ History ] [ Contact ] [ Library ] [ Forum ] [ Search ] [ Sponsor ] 1999. LLC.00 ..00 . LLC.58 501 502 503 505 Meter Freeze Leaks Fluids Incorrect Estimate Subtotal Total 4.htm 08/03/2010 7:09:05 PM . Web Design by Net-Step Media. http://www. All rights reserved.00 19.

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