Cha-ching! Why are meters important? They’re our cash register

Estevan – If you want to get someone’s attention, start by talking about how they’re getting paid.

Brad Perin is corporate measurement coordinator with Kyera. He started his presentation called “Measurement 101” with this simple statement: “Why are meters important? They’re our cash register.”

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“It’s how we determine we get paid.”

The Canadian School of Hydrocarbon Measurement held a “school” at Southeast College in Estevan on Nov. 27. Perin was speaking to a novice level, and the room was filled with operators, instrumentation people, production accounting, engineers and regulators.

“If we have bad measurement in, we make bad decisions and bad choices.”

He pointed out that one erroneous meter operating for two years could cost $200,000 to $300,000 that has to be reallocated.

After all, he noted, “If we short someone, we overpaid someone else. And that person never calls and says we’ve paid too much.”

Production accounting needs to be kept in the loop if you slit flows between plants, Perin said.

“Why do we calibrate?” he asked, then held up a bent, defective plate. Such defects can result in millions of dollars of misallocated income. In one example, he said $3.4 million was affected over a 30 month period.

Charts have limitations at well, he said, providing examples of problematic charts at the low end and maxed out at the other.

“Electronic measurement is much more accurate than a chart,” he said, reminding those present to make sure your range matches your chart, and the range should be checked once per year.

Orifice plate meters have “so many problems,” Perin said they’re not as good as modern technology. They can have issues with debris, build up, can be bent or warped. Sometimes the plate can be inserted backwards. The result can be lower readings of up to 25 per cent. 

Keyera uses flow conditioners regularly.

“Maybe it’s time to look at a new technology like ultrasound meters instead of orifice plates.

As for liquid meters, he gave an example of someone doing temperature corrections, but doing it twice. 

A case of having “spun the meter,” means gas passed through a liquid meter, and may have damaged its bearings. As a result, it needs to be repaired and “proven.”

“It’s critical the proving part becomes part of the repair,” he said.

When it comes to vortex meters, low flow can hit the cutoff, where it is flowing, but not recording.

“When proving a meter, you need to use consecutive runs,” Perin said.

The most important meters are LACT, or lease automatic custody transfer, he said. “We are paying people on what those meters say.”

He noted that Measurement Canada only applies when shipping to a “non-knowledgeable” parties.

With regards to density, he pointed out that change in pressure can affect density.

Keyera uses a lot of Coriolis meters, he said, adding stiffness of the tub is a factor with Coriolis meters.

“Analysis is as important as the metering devices on your lines,” he said.


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