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It is required to enable the determination of the amount of gas being produced or sold, and also as a basic parameter for almost all of the design procedures. The produced gas stream is in a continuous state of flow from the instant it leaves the reservoir until it is consumed at the delivery end. Gas measurements must be done mostly on a flowing stream of gas.
Gas is most commonly measured in terms of volume because of the simplicity of procedure.


Flow is one of the most difficult variables to measure because it cannot be directly measured like temperature. It must be inferred by indirect means such as the pressure differential over a specified distance, speed of rotation of a rotating element etc.

Many flow measurement techniques and devices have been developed for a wide range applications.



Accuracy Rangeability



This is a measure of a flow meters ability to indicate the actual flow rate within a specified flow rate range. It is defined as the ratio of the difference between the actual and measured rates to the actual rate.
Accuracy = Actual rate-Measured rate ----------------------------Actual rate

X 100%

Accuracy is represented in either two ways : percent of full scale, or percent of reading.


A flow meters rangeability is the ratio of the maximum flow rate to the minimum flow rate at the specified accuracy. Rangeability= Maximum rate that can be measured -------------------------------------------------Minimum rate that can be measured Rangeability is usually measured as a ratio x : 1


It is also known as reproducibility or precision ,repeatability is the ability of a meter to reproduce the same measured readings for identical flow conditions over a period of time.

It is computed as the maximum difference between measured readings.

This is a measure of the deviation of the calibration curve of a meter from straight line. It can be specified over a given flow-rate range, or at a given flow rate. A linear calibration curve is desirable because it leads to a constant metering accuracy.

Accuracy desired Expected useful life of the measuring device Range of flow ,temperature Maintenance requirements Power availability Liquid or gas Cost of operation Initial cost Availability of parts Acceptability by others involved Purpose for which measurements are to be used Susceptibility to theft


There are basically two types of differential pressure devices The pressure difference is measured across a flow restriction. Eg: Orifice, venturi The difference in pressure measured upon impact Eg: Pitot tube



This is the most commonly used device for metering natural gas. It consists of a metal plate with a circular hole ,centered in a pair of flanges in a straight pipe section. The pressure differential is measured across this plate to yield the flow rate .

This is a rugged, accurate, simple, and economical device and can handle a wide range of flow rates.

Orifice flow meters are used to determine a liquid or gas flow rate by measuring the differential pressure (P1 - P2) across the orifice plate.
They are generally less expensive to install and manufacture than the other commonly used differential pressure flow meters;


A venturi is a point in a pipe that has been narrowed so that the flow is restricted slightly. The venturi is widely used because it has no moving parts and the small amount of restriction it produces to induce a pressure drop does not disturb the fluid flow too much. The change in cross-sectional area in the venturi tube causes a pressure change between the convergent section and the throat, and the flow rate can be determined from this pressure drop. Although more expensive that an orifice plate; the venturi tube introduces substantially lower nonrecoverable pressure drops.


The pressure recovery is much better for the venturi meter than for the orifice plate. The venturi tube is suitable for clean, dirty and viscous liquid and some slurry services. The rangeability is 3.5:1. Pressure loss is low. Typical accuracy is 1% of full range.


The pitot tube measures the difference between the static pressure at the wall of the flow conduit and the flowing pressure at its impact tip where the kinetic energy of the flowing stream is converted into pressure.
It gives the flow velocity only at a point.

The tip can be easily clogged by liquids or solids.

Because of the relatively poor accuracy of this device it is not used very often.

Turbine flow meter

These meters are sometimes classified as positive displacement meters. They consist of a turbine or propeller that turns at a speed proportional to the velocity of the gas , converting linear velocity to rotational speed. Turbine meters have been used for measuring liquid flow rates rather than gas flow rates. Fluctuations in velocity, caused by pressure fluctuations, turbulence or unsteady state flow conditions, will cause the turbine meter to give a higher than actual value.


A Rotameter is a device that measures the flow rate of liquid or gas in a closed tube. It belongs to a class of meters called variable area meters.

A rotameter consists of a tapered tube, typically made of glass, with a float inside that is pushed up by flow and pulled down by gravity. The fluid entering at the base of the tube causes the float to rise until the annular area between the float and the tube wall is such that the pressure drop across this constriction is just sufficient to support the float.


A rotameter requires no external power or fuel, it uses only the inherent properties of the fluid, along with gravity, to measure flow rate. A rotameter is also a relatively simple device that can be mass manufactured out of cheap materials, allowing for widespread use in places such as third world countries


Due to its use of gravity, a rotameter must always be vertically oriented and right way up, with the fluid flowing upwards. Due to its reliance on the ability of the fluid or gas to displace the float, the graduations on a given rotameter will only be accurate for a given substance. The main property of importance is the density of the fluid. Either separate rotameters for different substances must be used, or the read out adjusted.

Rotameters normally require the use of glass (or other transparent material), otherwise the user cannot see the float. This limits their use in many industries to benign fluids, such as water.
Rotameters are not easily adapted for reading by machine: although magnetic floats that drive a follower outside the tube are available.


A typical transit-time flow measurement system utilizes two ultrasonic transducers that function as both ultrasonic transmitter and receiver. The flow meter operates by alternately transmitting and receiving a burst of sound energy between the two transducers and measuring the transit time that it takes for sound to travel between the two transducers. The difference in the transit time measured is directly and exactly related to the velocity of the liquid in the pipe.

To be more precise, let's assume that Tdown is the transittime (or time-of-flight) of a sound pulse traveling from the upstream transducer A to the downstream transducer B, and Tup is the transit-time from the opposite direction, B to A. The following equations hold: Tdown = ( D / sin ) / ( c + V*cos ), (1) Tup = ( D / sin ) / ( c - V*cos ), (2) where c is the sound speed in the liquid, D is the pipe diameter and V is the flow velocity averaged over the sound path. Solving the above equations leads to V = ( D / sin2 ) * T / (Tup * Tdown), (3) where T = Tup - Tdown. Therefore, by accurately measuring the upstream and downstream transit-time Tup amd Tdown, we are able to obtain the flow velocity V. Subsequently, the flow rate is calculated as following, Q = K *A* V, (4) where A is the inner cross-section area of the pipe and K is the instrument coefficient.

Because orifice meters are simple, accurate, relatively inexpensive they are most widely used of the flow meters for gases. An orifice meter consists of a thin plate ,0.115-0.398 in. thick depending upon the pipe size and pressure, held perpendicular to the direction of flow by a pair of flanges, with a circular sharp square edged orifice accurately machined to the required size in the centre of the plate. Pressure taps are provided on the upstream and down stream end in the fitting that holds the orifice plate. A pressure measuring and recording device is connected to the pressure taps.

Different kinds of orifice plates include concentric, eccentric, and segmental, each of which has different shapes and placements for measuring different processes.

The concentric type is the most common ,because of its low cost, ease of fabrication and ease of calibration.

The eccentric and segmental types are very useful for two phase flow streams and for flow streams with suspended solids such as dirty gases or slurries. Rangeability -3:1
Accuracy; +/- 1.5-2%


The magnitude of the measured pressure differential is obviously affected by the location of the points across the orifice between which it is measured. Pressure taps are designated as P1 and P2. "D" is the diameter of the pipe and "d" is the diameter of the orifice. The four types of pressure tap locations that are used: Flange type Pipe tap

Corner type


Flange type: In this type the pressure is measured 1 in. from the upstream face of the plate and 1 in from the down stream face of the orifice plate. This is the most common type of pressure tap. Pipe taps: 2.5 IDs from the upstream, and 8 Pipe IDs from the down stream. Corner types: In this type the pressure taps are located immediately adjacent to the upstream and down stream faces of the orifice plate.


Straightening vanes are used to minimize the flow disturbances in meters. Flow eddies, rotation swirls and other undesirable flow patterns are minimized as the flow passes through the relatively small tubes. Straightening vanes are available as pin type or flange type in carbon steel or stainless steel.

The relationship for orifice meters can be derived from the general energy equation written between two points in the flowing stream point1 being some point upstream of the orifice plate & point-2 the orifice throat. 12 Vdp+1/gc 12 v dv + g/gc 12dz = ws lw ---------(1) For most meters ,change in elevation between points 1 and 2 , dz is zero, and no work is done by the flowing fluid stream. Therefore equation 1 is written as 2 2 1 Vdp+1/gc 1 v dv + lw =0 -----------(2) The lost work term expresses the frictional losses due to viscosity and turbulence of the fluid.

These losses can be handled in a manner convenient for meter calculations without reference to friction factor. The basic orifice equation can be written in the form: C212 Vdp+1/gc 12 v dv=0 -----------(3) C= Empirical constant that takes care of friction and other irreversibilities. Multiplying with C2 12 dp+1/gc 12 v dv =0 -----------(4) Assuming a constant , average density av for simplicity and integrating the equation (4) we get: C2 (p2- p1) =( av / 2gc)(v22-v12)=0 -------- (5) Converting to commonly used pressure units of psia (lbf/in2) and rearranging we get:

(v22-v12) = 2(144) C2 (p1- p2) / av -------------(6) The mass flow rate ,m (lbm/sec),is given by m = vA where A= cross sectional area of flow ,ft2 This analysis assumes steady-state flow conditions , for which the mass flow rate is constant. Equation (6) can now be written as: (m2/ av2 )[1/A22-1/A12]=2(144)gcC2(p1-p2)/ av -------(7) Taking A22 as common (m2/ A22 )[1-(A2/A1)2]=2(144) gc C2 (p1-p2) av -------- (8) Let d1 and d2 be the diameters of the pipe and the orifice , respectively, in inches. Defining =d2/d1 and solving equation (8) for m:

m= C A2 [(2(144)gc (p1-p2) av ) /(1- 4) ]0.5 Or m= C d22 [gc (p1-p2) av ) / 1152(1- 4) ]0.5 -------(9) Using the gas law, the gas density can be expressed as : av =28.97 g p av / Zav R Tav ------- (10) The pressure differential (p1-p2) is generally expressed in terms of inches of water. This conversion can be achieved ,using the relation p = g h/gc and is written as (p1-p2) = {62.43 h /(144)(12)} -------(11) h =pressure differential in inches of water.

Using equations (10) and (11) ,(9) becomes :

m = C d22 [ (28.97) (62.43)gc g h pav ) / (1,152)(144)(12) (1- 4) Z 0.5 --------------------(12) av R Tav]

Gas flow is generally reported in terms of the flow rate qsc in scf /hr at standard conditions , which is related to the mass flow rate m in lbm/sec as follows (m=q) m=(qsc /3600) {(28.97) g psc/ ZscRT sc} Using standard conditions of psc=14.73psia,Tsc=520oR and Zsc=1 we obtain: m= {(28.97)(14.73)/(3600)(520)R} g qsc -----------(13) Using equation (13) in (12) substituting R=10.732 psiaft3/lb mole-oR and solving for qsc we obtain: qsc= {7,717.96 Cd22 }/ {(1- 4) g Z av Tav }0.5 {h pav }0.5

In equation 14 qsc is in scf/hr d2 is in inches h is in inches of water Pav is in psia Tav is in oR C, , g, Z av are dimensionless The equation 14 is commonly expressed as: qsc = Ko {h pav }0.5 The constant Ko is given by Ko = 7717.96 Cd22 / [ (1- 4) g Zav Tav]0.5 ------------(15)

In metering practice ,the average pressure pav is replaced by a measurable gauge pressure pf. Factors are provided to account for this pf being ,measured at the upstream or down stream, or being measured as the mean of upstream and downstream static pressures and for the type of pipe tap. Equation is then written in the following form: qsc=K [hw pf]0.5 -----------(16) hw=differential pressure at 60oF , inches of water pf=absolute static pressure of the flowing fluid, psia And the constant is expressed as a product of several different as follows.

K= Fb Fr Y Fpb Ftb Ftf Fg Fpv Fm Fl Fa ------------(17) Fb = basic orifce factor, scf/hr Fr = Reynolds number factor Y = expansion factor Fpb = pressure-base factor Ftb =Temperature base factor Ftf =flowing temperature factor Fg = specific gravity factor Fpv =supercompressibility factor Fm = manometer factor Fl =gauge location factor Fa = orifice thermal expansion factor

Basic Orifice Factor , Fb : The factor is simply the constant in equation (16) Its value depends upon the type of pressure taps and the pipe and orifice diameters. Fb can be obtained from tables 10-2 and 10-7 for flange taps and pipe taps respectively.

2) Reynolds Number Factor, Fr: This factor accounts for the variation of the orifice discharge coefficient with Reynolds number. Tables 10-3and 10-8 show the value of Fr for flange taps and pipe taps, respectively. If Fr is small it can be neglected.

3) Expansion Factor , Y: This factor accounts for the change in gas density with the pressure changes across the orifice. The expansion factor can be obtained from Tables 104,10-5,and 10-6 for flange taps, and Tables10-9and 1010 for pipe taps. These tables indicate the pressure tap from which the absolute static pressure pf is measured Y1 for upstream,Y2 for down stream and Ym for static pressure recorded as the mean of the upstream and down stream static pressures.

4) Pressure Base Factor ,Fpb: This factor corrects for cases where the base (standard) pressure , pb in psia , at which flow is to be measured is other than 14.73 psia: Fpb=14.73/pb
5) Temperature- Base Factor, Ftb: This factor corrects for cases where the base (standard) temperature ,Tb in oR at which flow is to be measured is other than 520oR: Ftb=Tb/520

6) Flowing Temperature Factor, Ftf: The flowing temperature factor corrects for cases where the flowing temperature Tf(oR) , is not 520oR, using the fact that the gas flow rate varies inversely as the square root of the absolute flow temperature: Ftf=[520/Tf]0.5
7) Specific Gravity factor, Fg: The basic orifice factor ,Fb, is determined assuming a gas gravity of 1.0 .So, a correction for gas gravity is required, as follows: Fg=1/g0.5

8) Supercompressibility Factor , Fpv: This factor corrects for the deviation of an actual gas from ideal-gas behavior . It is calculated as follows: Fpv=Zb/Z0.5 Zb assumed to be equal to 1.0 Z at operating conditions Due to variations in gas compressibility factors with gas composition, pressure and temperature, Fpv is determined experimentally or through empirical techniques. Specific gravity method Heating value method

1) Specific gravity method: This uses the specific gravity and the carbon dioxide(CO2)and nitrogen (N2) contents of the gas to calculate the pressure and temperature adjustment indices, fpg and ftg respectively, as follows: fpg = g- 13.8yC+5.420yN ftg = g- 0.472yC0.793yN g=specific gravity of the gas (air=1) yC=mole fraction of the CO2 in the gas yN=mole fraction of N2 in the gas

These values are used to determine the pressure and temperature correction factors from Tables 10-11a and 10-11b , that are added to the actual flowing pressure and temperature of the gas, respectively. these corrected pressure and temperature values are used in Table 10-11 e to estimate the supercompressibilty factor, Fpv.

2) Heating Value Method: The heating value method uses the specific gravity , total heating value (Ht in Btu/scf), and the CO2 content of the gas to calculate the pressure and temperature adjustment indices, fph and fth as follows: fph=g-0.0005688Ht+3.690yC fth=g-0.001814Ht+2.641yC

These values are used to determine the pressure and temperature correction factors for Tables 10-11c and 1011d, that are added to the actual flowing pressure and temperature of the gas respectively. These corrected pressure and temperature values are used in Table 1011e to estimate the super compressibility factor ,Fpv.

9) Manometer Factor, Fm: This factor is required only where mercury manometer is used for measuring the differential pressure. It compensates for the different heads of gas above the two mercury columns of the manometer. It is generally negligible and is totally ignored for pressures below 500 psia. Table 10-12 gives this correction factor as a function of gas gravity, flowing pressure, and ambient temperature.

10) Gauge Location Factor, Fl: The gauge location factor fl given in Table 10-13 is used where orifice meters are installed at locations other than sea level elevation and 45o latitude. This is also a very small correction.

11) Orifice Thermal Expansion factor, Fa: This factor accounts for the expansion or contraction of the orifice hole with flowing temperature, calculated as follows: Fa=1+[0.0000185(Tf-528)] for stainless steel Fa=1+[0.0000159(Tf-528)] for monel Tf= gas flowing temperature at the orifice, oR


Several factors need to be considered in choosing an orifice metering system: Flow rate : flow rate uniformity, maximum and minimum flow rates expected. Pressure: expected static and differential pressures and their range ; permissible pressure variations. the size of the orifice affects the range of flow rates that can be measured and the pressure differential that will be obtained. A well designed metering system can only be achieved if all these factors are carefully considered in choosing the size and type of orifice and the pressure measuring devices.

Question: An orifice meter with a

2-inch orifice equipped with pipe taps using upstream static connections in a 6-in nominal(6.065-in. internal diameter) pipe line shows an average differential head=60in.water and an average upstream static pressure=90psia. The flowing temperature is 50oF and the gas gravity is 0.65. Using a base pressure of 14.9 psia and base temperature of 50oF, calculate the gas flow rate indicated by the meter.


2. 3. 4. 5. 6.


Following are the sources of constant errors: Incorrect estimate of orifice size Convex or concave contouring of the orifice plate Thick or dull orifice edge Eccentricity of orifice with respect to the pipe Incorrect estimate of pipe diameter Excessive recess between the end of pipe and the face of the orifice plate Excessive pipe roughness.


3. 4.

6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13.

Flow disturbances Imprecise location of the pressure taps Pulsating flow Buildup of solids Liquid accumulation Differences or changes in operating conditions Incorrect zero adjustment Non-uniform calibration Corrosion or deposits in the metal internals Emulsification of liquids with mercury Leakage around the orifice plate Formation of hydrates in meter piping Over dampening of the meter response


Some of the common measurement problems encountered in gas metering are: Hydrate formation Pulsating flow Slugging Sour gas

Hydrates may be formed at the orifice ,or in the meterpiping or internals, whenever the gas temperature falls below the hydrate-forming temperature for the gas. Hydrate formation can be prevented using any of the following : Gas dehydration Use of hydrate inhibitors Installation of heaters along the line or near the meter Other methods


flow is flow comprising sudden changes in pressure and flow rate of the flowing fluid. Common sources of such flow in gas measurement are: Reciprocating systems-compressors ,or engines Improperly sized, loose, or worn valves and regulators Two-phase flow conditions Intermitters on wells and automatic drips.




Prevention: Locate the meter along the flow line in a position where pulsations are minimized. Reduce the amplitude of the pulsations by placing a volume capacity ,flow restriction, or specially designed filter between the pulsation source and the meter. Operate at pressure differentials as high as possible by using a smaller diameter orifice.


2. 3. 4.

Slugging refers to the accumulation of liquids in the gas flow line. Liquid accumulation Liquid is swept through to the orifice and beyond Prevention is the installation of liquid accumulators in the flow line.



Sour gas is detrimental for two reasons: Corrosion Accelerated hydrate formation

Preventive measures are: 1. To ensure proper gas metering include using H2S resistant components in the meters. 2. Sealing the meters against the atmosphere.