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Natural gas, with its growing demand plays a critical role in the energy industry. The accurate measurement of gas then takes on larger importance. This paper focuses on some important aspects of FNGMS design and engineering, without taking into account the upstream and downstream installations before/after FNGMS, nor does it addresses in totality the parameters to be considered for complying with various international flow measurement standards.
ith the increasing need of energy, the demand for natural gas has increased manifolds in the recent past and is expected to increase more. Primarily
Multipath Ultrasonic Meter (USM) Very Good (With Traceable Calibration) 20D with Flow Conditioner
the natural gas prices are driven by supply and demand philosophy. Hence the accurate measurement of natural gas becomes critical and essential. This paper focuses on some important aspects of
Turbine Very Good 10D with Flow Straightening Vane
T E C H N O L O G Y
Upstream piping requirements *
Initial Cost Turndown Pressure drop Moving parts Gas density at operating conditions Pressure and flow variations Pulsating flow
High Very Good Very Less No Not effected over the specified density range Unaffected
Orifice Good (With Traceable Calibration) 145Di without flow conditioner (Catch All) 17-29Di (Short upstream length For Max β of 0.46, with 19 tube flow straighter) 29Di+ (Long upstream length For β of .67, with 19 tube flow straighter) Manufacturer’s recommendation when installed with flow conditioner Low to medium Low Good (with High Turndown with Stacked DP) Very High No Decisive for the result of measurement Rapid Pressure changes may cause damage
Medium Good High Yes With Decreased Density, min flow is increased Rapid Pressure changes may cause damag Accuracy may effect
Unaffected if the pulsation duty cycle Accuracy may effect is larger than meter sampling cycle Gas borne solids Normally unaffected, meter function Erosion may occur Blades may damage may disturb if the transducer ports clop up with dirt Presence of gas Signal to Noise Ratio may May affect accuracy Possible corrosion and blades borne liquids deteriorate, May affect accuracy imbalance *Source: Relevant AGA flow measurement Standards. Manufacturer’s recommendation may also be sought on the exact piping requirements. D is the nominal pipe diameter & Di is the published internal pipe diameter. Figure 1
HYDROCARBON ASIA, APR-JUNE 2010
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The minimum and maximum range of the DP transmitter should be selected considering the flow turbulence and the seal ring limitation. Temperature Transmitter A smart temperature transmitter with 3/4 wire Pt-100 RTD having class A accuracy (IEC 60751) is recommended.: Ultrasonic Flow Meters. The immersion length of the thermowell should be selected in accordance with the relevant standards. Temperature Transmitter. APR-JUNE 2010 33 . The process conditions and the fluid properties should be carefully examined while sizing/selecting the secondary devices. square root function of orifice). The impulse line should be properped to prevent solid/ liquid entering the transmitter. Figure 1 is an outline of different meters characteristics based on certain parameters. It should not be used for final design and construction. viz. This also enhances the response time. Moisture Analyzer. Automatic Sampling System. H2S Analyzer. Manual Sampling System etc. Stress and vibration analysis should be carried out for the thermowells to check suitability of the Secondary Devices/ Sampling System/ Analytical Instruments Secondary devices include Differential Pressure Transmitter ( for orifice). fold is recommended. Online Densitometer. environmental protection to the analyzer. To minimize uncertainty and to increase the turndown. For orifice applications. Some of the key parameters are described below: Primary Devices Primary devices are essentially the flow measuring devices. Many important factors are needed to be considered in the design of FNGMS. However. The pressure transmitter should be installed vertically. The location of the pressure transmitter should be in line with the relevant flow measurement standards.FNGMS design and engineering. Orifice Flow Meters and Turbine Flow Meters. space available at site. Static Pressure Transmitter. Each meter has its own merits and demerits. as close as practicable to the tapping point in order to avoid any possible resonance in the impulse lines. cost. Many types of flow meters are used in the industry for Custody Transfer applications. the pressure transmitter should be in the same plane as that of the upstream DP tapping. The DP transmitter should be installed as close as practicable to the tapping point to avoid any possible resonance in the impulse lines and for faster response time. Figure 1 is a brief illustration of the characteristics of the commonly used gas meters. this paper does not take into account the upstream and downstream installations before/after FNGMS nor does it addresses in totality the parameters to be considered for complying with various international flow measurement standards. Differential Pressure (DP) Transmitter for Orifice A smart DP transmitter with an integral mani- HYDROCARBON ASIA. Thermowell should not be located closer to the meter than allowed by relevant flow measurement standards. The design and engineering of Fiscal Natural gas metering system (FNGMS) demands knowledge and expertise. Pressure Transmitter for Static Pressure Measurement A smart pressure transmitter with an integral manifold is recommended. Total Sulphur analyzer. For smart DP transmitter with analog output. the DP turndown should be limited to 10:1 (3:1 for flow. Hydrocarbon Dew point analyzer. The impulse line should be properly sloped to prevent any solid/liquid entering the transmitter. The RTD should be calibrated to derive the co-efficient which should be used while calibrating the transmitter for improved accuracy results. analyzers such as Gas Chromatograph. Mercury Analyzer. An analyzer rack/ 3 sided shelter / house should be considered based on the Hazardous area classification. maintenance access. 2 or 3 DP transmitters could be stacked with the flow computer selecting transmitter based on differential pressure.
One Helium gas cylinder should be provided as backup. The location of the GC should be in proximity of the sample point to avoid excessive lag time. The sample conditioning system should be suitable for the process gas. There should be minimum pressure drop between the point of density measurement and the point of pressure measurement. The calibration gas/ test gas composition should be homogenous. Flanged thermowell is generally preferred. the thermowell pockets should be radially spaced around the pipe.995% or 99. Thermal conductivity detector (TCD) type GC is most suitable for majority of the applications.thermowell to the process conditions. This prevents the downstream probes from being subjected to unduly high stresses. The calibration of the certain types of densitometers (vibrating element) is affected by the temperature & the velocity of sound in the gas. low cost and ability to minimize gaseous diffusion. The sampling system should have facility to vent/drain.999%) Helium (or equivalent inert gas) is recommended to be used as carrier gas because of its inertness. For unmanned stations.safan. A test thermowell may be installed adjacent to the metering thermowell for verification with a certified thermometer. Densitometer Gas density is either measured directly or calculated from compositional data. When multiple thermowells are installed in proximity. highly accurate (primary standard) and preferably similar to process gas to be analyzed. one for the atmospheric vent and other for the fast loop bypass LP flare vent. Gas Feature 34 HYDROCARBON ASIA. The sampling system should include the necessary membrane filters. The sample pressure reduction may be done externally with a pressure reduction system or at the sample probe itself.com . Gas Chromatograph (GC) An online gas chromatograph is required for quality measurement of the gas to meet the contractual agreements and for flow and energy calculations. since under these conditions the application of the pTZ method is more likely to give a greater uncertainty in density measurement or when the gas is outside the AGA8/ISO 6976 limits. an auto changeover mechanism for switchover of these cylinders may be provided. the sample conditioning system should be heated and insulated. APR-JUNE 2010 Visit our website at: http://www. Based on the extent of variation in these parameters a continuous or a constant correction may need to be applied to the instrument reading for any differences between the operating & laboratory conditions. With two or more Helium gas cylinders in place. Provision of valves could be made to facilitate the validation check for the densitometer. The distance between the sample probe and the sampler should be as small as possible. A gooseneck and a flame arrestor may be provided. easy availability. Densitometer installation normally should be downstream of the meter. The sample probes should be installed in accordance with relevant standards. The sample entering the analyzers must be a representative sample of the process stream. alarm/indication for the Calibration and Carrier gas pressure may be provided in the control room. Location of atmospheric vent should be at a height allowable as per hazardous area classification. Two separate vents should be considered for the GC. A calibration/test gas cylinder should be provided for GC calibration. Check valves should be installed at the outlet of flare vent to negate any back pressure effect. Online Densitometer is normally used either in High pressure application particularly if approaching the critical point. Sample Conditioning for the analyzers The performance of the analyzers is dependent on the sample conditioning system. Pure grade (99. Since the densitometer is normally calibrated on pure gas (generally nitrogen or argon) this could be significant. If the gas is heavy hydrocarbon having possibility of condensation at ambient conditions. Full bore valves may be installed in between these points to minimize the pressure drop.
Proper verification gases should be provided for performance/ functional verification of these analyzers. mini DCS modules etc. communication points. Stress calculation should be carried out for the sample probes. Tertiary Devices Tertiary devices include Flow Computers. the system architecture. A manual sampling system is also considered when a Gas Chromatograph is not an economically viable solution. I/O requirements. downstream of turbulence generator etc. The operational philosophy (duty/standby. and performance should be considered. Temperature and other live inputs may be sampled at their update frequency. The sampling can be time proportional or flow proportional. DP. The sample probe should not be installed on stream headers. The location of the sample probe should be selected in such an area which has little/ no turbulence. The need for hydrocarbon dew point analyzers is mainly to accurately monitor the hydrocarbon dew point temperature in the gas and to comply with the contractual agreements where the Hydrocarbon dew point value is specified and is enforced throughout the supply chain from producers till the end-users. Phosphorous oxide etc) are available.Moisture Analyzer Presence of water vapor content can lead to potential corrosion issues. When there is more than one sample cylinder then generally a manual or an automatic changeover of the cylinders is done once the cylinder is 80% full. Flow Computer A flow computer forms the “Brain” of the metering system.g. All the flow calculations are performed in the flow computer. sulphur) are specified in the contract. Aluminum Oxide. The sample probe should be installed in centre third of the pipe diameter and on top of a horizontal pipe. The measurement parameter should be decided (ppmv or dew point). Supervisory Computers and other control devices as PLC. When selecting the tertiary device. Auto Sampling System / Manual Sampling An auto sampling system/ manual sampling system is used for verification of Online Gas Chromatograph. An inert gas (e. live pressure input may be required. The contract specification specifies the acceptable maximum moisture limit. calculated and keypad modes. Hydrocarbon Dew Point Analyzer/ H2S Analyzer / Total Sulphur analyzer etc The detection and measurement of sour contaminants is crucial for FNGMS as the maximum acceptable limits for these contaminants (viz H2S. availability. Tunable Laser Diode. The flow computer totalizer may be configured in such a way that at max flow rate there may not be any rollover for at least 3 months. argon) is recommended to be used to precharge the CPC. Normally flow proportional sampling is preferred. The flow computer should be configured for the various parameter for live. Manual sampling should be done in accordance with one of the methods provided in GPA 2166. The accuracy of gas analysis using whether an online GC or automatic sampling or manual sampling is dependent on the quality of the sample. For water dew point measurement. Chilled Mirror. Moisture analyzers with different technologies (Quartz Crystal. The different HYDROCARBON ASIA. The necessity to install a Moisture analyzer is mainly driven by the contractual requirement. The inert gas pressure should be equal to or slightly greater than the line pressure. These analyzers with different technologies are available. Flow weighted averaging could be employed for flow calculations. The representative sample should be free of contaminants. Static Pressure. load sharing. Sample cylinders should meet the DOT regulation for transportation. The sample should be collected and maintained at the line pressure. main/backup) should be clearly defined. APR-JUNE 2010 35 . dead end pipe.
The metering system tertiary devices should be synchronized for time with a Real Time Clock of an external interface (e. APR-JUNE 2010 Visit our website at: http://www. mini DCS Supervisory computer provide the graphical user interface for the metering system operation.Figure 3 visory and control functions and serves as database for generation and storage of reports. The flow computer should be configured for at least daily report. Supervisory computer should be configured for different security levels with each security level having defined privileges. Supervisory Computer (SC). PLC.alarms.com . It is recommended that the time synchronization signal Gas Feature 36 HYDROCARBON ASIA. It handles all the metering super. Ergonomics should be considered while d e s i g n ing the display graphic pages for the metering package. A SCADA package with a database is installed in the supervisory computer to perform the above functions. Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) / field equipments with serial interface. Units of Measurement should be clearly defined and configured in the flow computer.safan. hourly report. Generally it collects the information from the flow computers.g: DCS) at least once in a day. Supervisory computer should be havi n g enough storage capacity and RAM for faster and reliable operation. Normally it’s not recommended to connect the SC to the external world using internet / external portable drives because of the cyber security issues. The display graphics of the SC should be user friendly. The base time and the time synchronization time should be Figure 2 configured. mode change events. Flow computer should be configured for different security levels with each security level having defined privileges.
The supervisory may also be programmed to perform the station totals. HYDROCARBON ASIA. When a PLC is used. This could lead to potential contract conflict issues.from the external interface be hardwired to the metering system. hourly reports. which eventually could lead to disputes. if any should be implemented in the PLC. fault alarms from the various instruments and the sampling logic. SC could be configured to provide alarm history and alarms archive facility up to 150 days. Availability/ Redundancy Emphasis should be given on the metering stream availability. The supervisory computer may be configured for at least daily report. the downtime on account of maintenance/ failure of equipments should be kept to a minimum so as to have an uninterrupted operation. and verification report (if any). hourly report. it’s imperative that the I/Os not used in the flow measurement calculation such as MOV control. APR-JUNE 2010 37 . For FNGMS. A PLC is used in applications where complex logics are needed to be implemented which may burden the flow computer. there could be differences in flow totals. The time synchronization is essential for metering system performance. If the metering system tertiary devices are not time synchronized. Equipment redundancy is required to minimize downtime. Based on the owner’s requirements the streams/ Electronic Flow Measurement system should be selected for various criteria viz Duty/Standby.
the instruments may need to be installed in a temperature controlled enclosure. For critical low ambient temperature applications and for the applications having large variations in the ambient temperature. It is a normal industry practice to have one metering stream as standby. This arrangement also helps in safe isolation for maintenance and the inspection of the meter. Process and Environmental conditions Gas properties / composition should be carefully considered to decide on the suitability of the material of construction to be used in FNGMS. Concentric reducers with sufficient constriction have a strong remedial effect on asymmetry and uniformity of flow profile but not on swirl. The meter run inlet isolation valves should be full bore. 4. minimal swirl and minimize possible pulsations from unstable recirculation zones.safan. 1. seismic zones should be considered for structural design for skid based systems. audible noise generation and pulsations from unstable recirculation zones. The redundancy concept implementation should be clearly specified and documented. 3. while maximum pressure is one of the deciding factors in determining the shell strength of the metering station equipments. the Control Valve and USM should have as long piping distance as practicable and/ or blind ended tees in between them. Sulphur etc should be dealt with for corrosion issues and for the selection of proper analyzer equipment. Where a leakage past a closed valve could affect the accuracy of measurement. The hydrocarbon dew point temperature and atmospheric conditions should be calculated for determining the need of heaters/ heat tracing/ insulation. Presence of components such as H20. Filters should always be installed upstream of the meter whenever required. the meter run may be designed to include a drain connection. Parameters like wind speed. Hg. restriction orifice should be provided whenever there’s a possibility of rotor damage on account of over speeding. Piping/ Valves The meter upstream/ downstream piping configuration and piping quality should be carefully selected in accordance with the relevant standard and /or as per manufacturer’s recommendation. The inlet valves may be installed as close as possible to the header to avoid any dead volume. 2. Utilities The utilities requirements (Single phase/ 3 Phase power. Instrument Air. Fluid Properties. Based on the consumption of utility for the relevant instrument.com . DC Power etc) for the metering system should be evaluated. The load characteristics should also be considered in the selection of the meter. Steam. The minimum inlet pressure forms the basis of sizing the flow meters with maximum demand rate. Pressure (Inlet and outlet) influences the design of the Metering station. APR-JUNE 2010 Visit our website at: http://www.Main/ Backup etc. Header should be designed to ensure even flow distribution. the total utility consumption should be calculated. For future increase in flow rate. Safety The electrical equipments selected should be Gas Feature 38 HYDROCARBON ASIA. In case of USM. H2S. The location of the control valve should be at the downstream of the meter. Header design should ensure that the header velocity would not exceed 15 m/s due to accelerated erosion rates. A proper flow conditioning device should be selected depending upon the type of meter. For Turbine meter applications. Eccentric pipe reducers are reported to considerably disrupt the flow profile hence are not recommended. If there’s a possibility of liquid accumulation in the pipeline. double block and bleed valves are recommended. it is recommended that the Primary Device be calibrated for its whole range rather than for the particular process flow rate.
Base and Flowing Density. APR-JUNE 2010 39 . An IS barrier should be installed in the safe area cabinet whenever the protection type is IS for the field instruments. Base Density.certified for use in the Hazardous area classification in which the metering system to be installed. Wire size should be sized based on the voltage levels and distances. This is sometimes also referred as Base/ Normal conditions. armored cables should be used for instrument signals. All valves. Reference conditions may differ country to country based on Government Regulations. Compressibility (base and flowing).01325 Bara. The cable should have a temperature rating high enough for the antici- HYDROCARBON ASIA. flowing density. fittings. The gas composition is obtained from the analysis and some of the calculation parameters (Energy Content. 6. the layout and installation of these devices play a major role in performance of these devices. the basis of segregation may be power levels of the signals. pipe should be based on a suitable design factor. While segregating the signals in and out from the FNGMS. Secondary and Tertiary devices form majority of instrumentation. Calculations Reference Conditions. Normally the reference conditions are 60 Deg F and 14. The contract. Based on the geographical location of the site where the metering station is to be installed. each pair should be individually shielded and grounded at a single point. i.73 psia OR 15 Deg C and 1. Stranded wire should be used for flexibility and resistance to breakage due to bending. The type of protection explosion proof/ intrinsically safe (IS) should be selected as per owner’s specification. Instrumentation Design While Primary.e. Wobbe Index. Cables Wherever possible. energy content and billing units for custody transfer application. 5. For offshore /corrosive application conductors may be tinned for additional protection. There should be different outer sheath colors for IS and Non IS cables. the need for surge protection should be evaluated for field instruments and/ or receiving instruments in the control room. regulatory requirements normally specify the reference conditions. Outer sheath color for IS cable is generally blue. Speed of Sound etc) are determined using the appropriate standard. conditions (pressure and temperature) to which the measured volume is to be corrected forms the basis of the flow calculations. The instruments/ equipments selected for use should meet the type of protection specified. There are many Industry standards for calculating these calculation parameters with the gas analysis composition. Whenever it’s required to mix different signal levels (similar) in a single cable.
while the digital signal cable use overall shield. Junction Box Typically for skid based systems. The cable trays should be free from burrs and sharp edges. Trays should not be installed on walkways.safan. It’s recommended that the same level of segregation as in the cables should be maintained for cable trays. Use of 3 D design software has proved to be effective in deciding on the cable tray routing. Aluminum trays are not effective in reducing the electromagnetic noise. pulse signals use Individual and Overall shield.com . Cable Trays The material of the cable tray should be selected based on the environmental conditions. Fiberglass trays may be used in more corrosive environments. while they are economically preferred. The cable should be shielded to minimize the effect on electrical noise strike.SS trays may be used on offshore installations. Generally analog. single-pair / multi-pair cables from field instruments are run to a junction box on the skid edge from where a home Gas Feature 40 HYDROCARBON ASIA. APR-JUNE 2010 Visit our website at: http://www. wherever possible. draining point etc.Figure 4 pated environment. The cable trays may be installed (preferably vertically) on the pipe supports below the pipe.
the interior color could be white to improve visibility. Uncertainty Errors in the measurement can cause both immediate and long term effects on the profit. JB should be mounted at an accessible height. installation. Control Panel The control panel is an important component of the FNGMS. method of calibration. This uncertainty figure may vary depending on the type of primary device used. The material of the impulse tubing should be compatible with the process fluid. The operator interface may be provided with the panel high temperature alarm (Ventilation Failure) and Power supply failure alarm (24VDC PSU failure). The design and installation of panel internals should be done keeping safety and operation/maintenance access in mind. Tubing (>1m) should be supported at suitable intervals. IS/ NIS installations c. the designer of FNGMS determines the primary. Impulse Tubing If conditions warrant. There should be no splicing / joints on the wiring inside the panel. 7. Size of the Junction box g. reduce water accumulation. The operator interfaces (Flow Computer. Hazardous area classification (Electrical) b. 8. Double compression tube fittings are recommended. The following factors should be considered while selecting a junction box: a. HMI. calculation method.7 to 1. External Interface The external interface with the FNGMS should be clearly defined and documented properly in the FNGMS documentation. Atmospheric conditions d. Redundant 24VDC power supply is recommended for power to the flow metering instrument on the panel and in turn to the field instruments. The wiring color codes should be as per the appropriate IEC/ IEEE/ NEC standards. The impulse line should be properly sloped to drain the liquid back to the pipeline. For easy access to the instruments having remote configuration/ diagnostic provisions. Hence it becomes imperative that the measurement is precise and accurate with minimum errors. Locking arrangement f. secondary and tertiary devices to be used in FNGMS. Material of the JB e. human factors etc. It’s preferred that the incoming power supply feeder to the metering panel be UPS and redundant. The overall uncertainty of the metering system is generally 0. Size of the control panel along the opening (front/back) should be decided based on the control room layout.5% for today’s instruments & technology. Insulating spacers should be provided between the tubing and its support to avoid galvanic corrosion. substantial penalties and legal liabilities. a local port HYDROCARBON ASIA. the impulse line should be insulated and heat traced. There are many factors influencing the uncertainty of a FMGMS.Based on this uncertainty limits. should be made available in the panel front to felicitate the diagnostic/ configuration operation. Controllers etc) should be mounted on the control panel keeping ergonomics in mind.run cable is run to the control room. The wiring inside the panel should be through the proper ducting and with appropriate segregation for the signal levels. Length of the impulse tubing should be as small as possible and no of joints should be as less as practicable. The major factors that contribute to the uncertainty are performance of the hardware and software. Ingress Protection for outdoor installations In case of painted Junction Boxes. APR-JUNE 2010 41 . Drain from the instrument should be routed downward and away from maintenance area. Breather drain provision helps to discourage insects. Inaccurate measurement may result in loss of customers. The grounding system also should be carefully designed to cater for instrument body earth/ IS earth/ Safety Earth.
Conclusion A properly designed metering system is the one which accurately performs flow measurement functions without obstructing system operations & complies with the applicable rules.Flow Measurement using Electronic Measuring Systems-Electronic Gas Measurement. Relevant flow measurement standards.com . The validation software may be installed in a laptop or alternatively it may also be installed in the supervisory computer to centralize the information related to FNGMS. see us on the web at http://www. Presently working as a Systems Engineer.5. wherever possible should be twice accurate than the instrument being calibrated.EL Upp.A practical guide to accurate flow measurement. and standards.Gas Supply Natural Gas Metering Stations-functional requirements IP Measurement Manual Part XV Section 2. Validation equipments should be calibrated periodically as per manufacturer’s instructions.8. it is recommended to perform a periodic calibration and validation of the metering station component. Venkatesh Deshpande. APR-JUNE 2010 Visit our website at: http://www.Process Measurement Instrumentation API RP 552. Validation equipments should be traceable to internationally recognized standards such as NIST. Tertiary Devices 5. The validation software helps to keep track of the validation/ calibration schedules and generate validation reports. Emerson Process Management.7. Singapore. for providing this paper.safan.Gaseous Custody Transfer.Design and Installation of Online Analyzer systems Fluid Flow Measurement. Normally the following Metering System components require validation/ calibration: 1. BS 1776. HA Enquiry Number 04/06-01 This publication thanks Mr. wherever applicable 3.safan.9. manufacturer’s guidelines and owner’s specifications shall still be referred for building a Natural gas metering station. policies. Pulse Generators & counters Validation equipments. Asia Pacific Pte Ltd. The content in the paper should be treated as source of information and in no way be considered as a recommended practice. Have you read our other magazine? References: AGA Gas Measurement Manual Part 9.Transmission System EEMUA 138. On line analyzers. (Daniel Measurement and Control Division). Static Pressure. Temperature. Differential Pressure Transmitters 2.9.3. API MPMS Chapter 21 Section 1. Validation In order to maintain the reliability and accuracy of the metering system. he has accumulated over 10 years of experience with more than 6 years in Design & Engineering of gas & liquid metering systems. API RP 551.Design of Meter and Regulator Stations AGA Report No.A guide to gas metering systems. Densitometers 4. PJ LaNasa Natural gas measurement handbook – James E Gallaghar Instrument Engineers Handbook – Process Measurement and Analysis .BG Liptak GPSA Engineering handbook DTI Measurement Guidelines Module 4. A validation (online/offline) is generally performed using a validation software.11.com Gas Feature 42 HYDROCARBON ASIA.
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