Oil & Gas News
Wednesday, 4 November 2009
Recent Developments in Multiphase Meters
By Lars Anders Ruden, Commercial Manager Topside Reservoir, Roxar
Multiphase meters have become a vital component of operators' development and field production plans.
With demand outstripping supply and pressures on operators to optimize production, increase recovery rates and make marginal fields viable, multiphase meters are a highly effective alternative to complex and expensive well testing.
Multiphase and wet gas meters provide the operator with critical information on a well's capabilities - information such as water saturation and break through, gas coning, permeability and flow characteristics.
And with the ever increasing ambitions of operators, it's clear that multiphase meters are going to be much in demand in the future. StatoilHydro has ambitions to raise recovery factors to 70% and Petrobras has indicated a goal of a multiphase meter on each of their subsea wells and trees.
What is clear is that there is still much to come from multiphase meters as well as a growing market. According to the Subsea Processing Gamechanger Report 2006-2015 from Douglas-Westwood Limited and OTM Consulting, expenditure on subsea processing systems is expected to climb to US$3.4 billion over the 2006-2015 period, with one thousand additional multiphase meters expected to be deployed
So how is multiphase metering rising to these challenges and opportunities?
Firstly, spurred on by Roxar, we are seeing a much greater involvement of multiphase meters in realizing the vision of the digital oil field.
Working with intelligent downhole sensors that monitor temperature, pressure and other variables, a problem in development can now be detected by the multiphase meter and then pinpointed by the downhole sensors.
For example, if unwanted water or gas enters the well bore, the multiphase meter detects the change in multiphase composition at the subsea wellhead and the operator can then locate the problem area for remedial action by examining information from the downhole pressure and temperature gauges. Decisions, such as choke setting and artificial lifts, for example, can now be made with the maximum amount of information.
Barry Irani, president and CEO of The Information Store, said that in order to achieve a truly effective digital oil field, "companies must shift the burden of orchestrating data from people to systems." Multiphase meters are enabling this to happen.
Secondly, the technologies behind multiphase meters are also advancing fast. Roxar's new third generation multiphase meter - the Roxar Multiphase meter 2600 (MPFM 2600) and new Zector Technology, is an example of this.
Whereas previous meters tended to simplify complex flow patterns, the MPFM's new signal processing defines the flow into separate volumes - voxels or volumetric pixels which are frequently used in the visualization and analysis of medical and scientific data.
The result is a better and more detailed characterization of flow rates and dynamics. Other innovations include a new compact sensor geometry which allows for more detailed fraction measurements and a new field electronics system which includes enhanced electrical impedance techniques for multiphase measurements. By measuring electrical impedance - the amount of resistance to the flow of electricity - properties of the flow mixtures (such as capacitance and conductance measurements) can be determined.
Thirdly, multiphase meters are getting smaller. With managing costs so important to today's operator, the MPFM's simple and light-weight design at 25.5 inches and 220 lbs (20% of the weight and half the height of the previous meter) opens up enormous potential cost savings in terms of installation, maintenance, weight and deck space.
Multiphase meters today are helping operators optimize production, progress the digital oil field and make marginal fields competitive again - particularly important with today's fluctuating oil prices.
When Roxar's wet gas multiphase meters were being utilized in the Ormen Lange field, the largest natural gas field on the Norwegian Continental Shelf, StatoilHydro's subsea managers described the meters as crucial to "the whole development concept." These words are likely to be repeated many more times with multiphase meters over the coming years.17:39