NEL’s recent work on issues related to produced water, has highlighted three key areas of industry interest. These will be taken forward as focus areas for future research and collaborations, including potential JIPs. They are the development of subsea water quality measurement devices, on-line monitoring for regulatory reporting purposes and testing of water cut measurement devices.
“These are areas of work that have been highlighted through our Produced Water Club, through the workshop events and webinars we run and through past JIPs,” says Environmental Consultant, Dr. Ming Yang. “The development of solutions in these areas will help the oil and gas industry move forward more sustainably while delivering benefits worth hundreds of thousands of pounds.”
According to Ming, subsea separation and produced water re-injection (PWRI) or discharge is a key enabling technology for oil exploration and production. However, much of the technology that has been developed to measure water quality in such applications needs further development.
“We have seen significant industry interest in R&D in this area,” says Ming. “However, most of the technologies that have been developed still only have a Technology Readiness Level (TRL) of 3. There is a definite need to continue development, to bring the technology fully into the field.”
With respect to on-line monitoring, Ming explains that there has been no case in the whole of the North Sea where results from an online oil-in-water monitor have been utilised for reporting purpose. “With the development of subsea applications and unmanned installations,” he says. “There is a clear a need to make this happen.”
“We’ve highlighted a real need to assess industry issues linked to the testing of online, continuous water cut measurement devices,” says Ming. “Industry trends show that such devices are having to measure higher water cuts at lower flow rates, which can affect measurements. This and other challenges need to be properly understood and addressed.”
For more details, contact Dr. Ming Yang.
An innovative new project will apply NEL’s expertise in flow modelling to a ground-breaking device designed to help doctors assess the health of many of the body’s major organs. The project has the support of Analysis for Innovators, a government funded programme run by Innovate UK.
“NEL is working with the company behind the system, Gold Standard Phantoms, and alongside the National Physical Laboratory,” says Principal Consultant, Dr Norman Glen. “Our input will facilitate the development of the system and its certification as an important new medical device.”
Gold Standard Phantoms (GSP) is developing a unique ‘phantom’ device that simulates the process of perfusion. Perfusion is the rate of delivery of arterial blood to an organ, and is a useful biomarker of health and disease in the brain, liver, heart and kidneys. It is of clinical importance for the assessment of dementia, strokes, cerebrovascular disease and cancer.
The company’s system can be used to assess the variability and linearity of perfusion measurements made with an MRI scanner using an approach known as Arterial Spin Labelling (ASL). This is an approach that can be repeated without risk for the patient, however, due to the lack of a standard with which to validate and calibrate such a measurement, ASL has not yet seen major clinical uptake, despite its advantages over other currently used techniques. GSP’s device aims to address this challenge.
To bring its device to market, GSP needs to fully understand how to account for all of the uncertainties in the physical phantom, and in the flow model it has developed for the phantom’s operation. To help provide this understanding, NEL will validate the current fluid mechanics sub-model, reviewing the assumptions made and quantifying their impacts. It will also cross-validate findings with its own CFD package and assist with the tuning of GSP's CFD model using real-world measurements.
The Analysis for Innovators programme is a one-off scheme offering R&D, expertise and facilities (worth up to £6.5 million) to UK companies that want to solve an analysis or measurement problem from within their existing business. It is a government funded programme run by Innovate UK.
For more details, contact Norman Glen
A major international research project to support the large scale roll-out of liquefied natural gas (LNG) and liquefied biogas (LBG) as transport fuels is underway. The three-year project, which began in June, is part of this year’s European Metrology Programme for Innovation and Research (EMPIR) and will draw on expertise from across the continent. NEL is participating in most aspects of the project and is leading a core component which is focused on reducing the uncertainty for dynamic flow.
“There are high levels of uncertainty linked to the flow measurement of these fuels” says Dr. Kenbar Asaad, who is leading NEL’s team on the project. “This is a significant problem as it is a large industry sector, meaning miscalculations due to uncertainty levels of just one percent will be worth huge sums of money. Using ultrasonic and coriolis meters we hope to be able to drive down uncertainties to levels comparable with those found for the measurement of conventional fuels.”
Overall the research aims to develop measurement traceability for large scale LNG custody transfer applications. To address this challenge, the project will combine expertise from industry, instrument manufacturers and research institutes to establish the required test facilities and validation methods. The outcomes of the project will also be implemented in relevant written standards to enable and promote the use of LNG and LBG as a transport fuel.
The project will make a significant contribution to the European “Clean Transport Fuel Strategy”. LNG and LBG fuels bring numerous environmental benefits. For example, LNG-fuelled truck engines produce around 25 % less carbon dioxide (CO2) compared to diesel engines and 85 % less NOx.
For more information, contact Dr Asaad Kenbar
Key issues relating to collaboration and the dissemination of information and technology were discussed at the third Flow Measurement Institute Conference, which took place in July at Coventry University.
“The importance of strengthening ties between industry and academia was one of the key challenges that kept coming up,” says Control Systems and Software developer, Gordon Lindsay. “In particular there was a lot of discussion about the importance of encouraging individuals from different organisations to meet, share ideas and showcase cutting-edge research.”
Gordon, who spoke on coriolis flow metering technology in extreme ambient temperature environments, was one of four NEL attendees at the Conference. In addition to the National Measurement Institute and academic delegates, a wide cross section of industrial representatives attended. The plenary speakers included Dr Simon Bittleston, VP Research at Schlumberger.
“The conference also looked at how flow measurement technology could be developed to have a wider application across industry,” Gordon adds, highlighting talks on prism signal processing as an example of this. “There was a lot of interesting discussion on how to use established technology in a new way, for example, using computerised analysis techniques to get additional data out of traditional meter technology.”
The event, which was open to everyone with research interests in flow measurement, was as popular as it has been in previous years and covered a wide range of technical topics, including enhanced data capture and analysis and advanced calibration techniques and methodologies.
“A new element at this year’s conference was a panel discussion at which industry experts fielded questions relating to the future of flow measurement,” Gordon explains. “This added an excellent element of participation to the proceedings.”
For more information, contact Anne Farr, Secretariat, FMI
Launch of three EMPIR projects highlights NEL’s commitment to the development of greener fuels and to measurement harmonisation
June saw the start of three ground-breaking projects under this year’s European Metrology Programme for Innovation and Research (EMPIR). Two of the projects relate to the roll-out of greener vehicle fuel options. The third project is designed to achieve measurement harmonisation between multiphase flow metrology testing facilities.
“We are very proud to be involved in this wide-ranging collaborative research,” says Brian Millington, NEL’s Managing Director. “The projects show the applicability of our research expertise and facilities to innovative energy solutions, they also highlight the central role we play within the wider European flow metrology community.”
“The multiphase flow metrology project, encompasses an extended inter-comparison testing programme that involves collaboration with 17 partners, including multiphase test labs, meter vendors and research partners,” says R&D Co-ordinator, Dr David Crawford. “It has been set up to address the acknowledged lack of standardised facilities (and procedures) for testing multiphase flow meters. It will drive improvements and enhance confidence in multiphase flow measurement, which is a fundamental enabling metrology for subsea oil and gas production.”
The first of the two EMPIR fuel projects (titled Metrology for Hydrogen Vehicles) addresses the fact that, although a large amount of hydrogen fuel infrastructure is currently in development across Europe, the industry sector cannot yet meet certain measurement requirements due to a lack of available methods and standards.
“There are currently no traceable methods to measure flow or fuel quality at the point of delivery,” says Principal Consultant, Dr Norman Glen. “It is therefore not possible to accurately calculate the amount of hydrogen dispensed. As a result, the customer cannot be charged correctly when buying hydrogen from a fuel station.”
One of the key aims of the research is to develop the necessary methodologies, standards and calibration facilities to allow hydrogen refuelling stations to accurately calibrate their hydrogen flow meters.
The other fuel project is designed to support the large scale roll-out of liquefied natural gas (LNG) and liquefied biogas (LBG) as transport fuels.
“There are high levels of uncertainty linked to the flow measurement of these fuels” says Dr. Kenbar Asaad, who is leading NEL’s team on the project. “Using technologies such as ultrasonic and coriolis meters we hope to be able to drive down uncertainties to levels comparable with those found for the measurement of conventional fuels.”
For more details, contact Dr David Crawford, Dr. Norman Glen and Dr. Kenbar Asaad.
Calibration and density measurement took centre stage recently in NEL’s knowledge transfer work, with consultants talking to manufacturers, end-users and metrology experts from around the world. Key events included a webinar conducted by Dr. Norman Glen and a talk given by Flow Measurement Engineer, Emmelyn Graham, at the Force Technology (re)calibration workshop in Denmark. Norman Glen’s webinar highlighted why density is such a vital aspect of flow measurement. It had over 100 attendees – the highest number to date for any NEL webinar.
“I think that we got this level of interest because of the wide importance of the topic to industry, across a wide range of sectors,” says Norman. “We got participation from academia, oil producers and manufacturers of instrumentation from around the world.”
Norman discussed the main approaches to density measurement and densitometer calibration, he also covered standards and elaborated on NEL’s work to improve density measurement.
At the Force Technology workshop, Emmelyn Graham talked about NEL’s experience with dry and wet gas calibrations, highlighting issues surrounding the calibration of Venturi tubes and Coriolis meters.
“Participants at the workshop were drawn from over 20 countries,” Emmelyn explains, “so it was a great opportunity to broaden our industry network and to let everyone know about our new Multiphase Centre of Excellence, which will provide world class testing facilities at near field conditions.”
“The workshop looked at the challenges and opportunities posed by the recalibration process from the metrological, technical, legislative and mechanical points of view,” Emmelyn adds. “There was a lot of interest in how temperature and pressure affect Coriolis meters, in manufacturers’ correction factors, in computerised meter diagnostics and in the importance of calibration standards.”
For more information, contact Norman Glen and Emmelyn Graham.
NEL is leading a major research programme that will enhance flow measurement standardisation across Europe between multiphase flow metrology testing facilities. The new three-year project is part of the European Metrology Programme for Innovation and Research (EMPIR), the main European programme for the scientific study of measurement.
Called MultiFlowMet II, the project involves 17 global partners, including meter vendors, research specialists and multiphase test laboratories. Project partners include OneSubsea Processing AS, DNV GL, Cesky Metrologicky Institut, PTB, VTT, CMR, Cranfield University, Industrial Tomography Systems, Petroleum Software Ltd, Roxar Flow Measurement, Tea Sistemi, Coventry University, University of Leeds, Haimo International, Rosen, Schlumberger Oilfield and VNIIR, covering the Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Russia, Singapore, UAE, and the UK.
Multiphase flow measurement is a fundamental enabling capability in subsea oil and gas production. However, field measurements continue to exhibit high measurement uncertainty, which is costing the oil and gas industry billions of dollars each year in financial exposure and production inefficiencies. MultiFlowMet II will develop a reference measurement capability that is consistent and comparable across the different multiphase flow measurement test laboratories, to improve industry confidence in these essential measurements.
Dr David Crawford, NEL, is the project co-ordinator and said: “The lack of standardised facilities and procedures for testing multiphase flow meters has led to test result variances between laboratories. This project aims to harmonise multiphase flow measurements to better support efficient subsea exploration of new oil and gas reserves, by boosting confidence in both the measurement system and the meters that labs are testing. The project is vital to the future development of oil and gas production as it will drive improvements and enhance confidence in multiphase flow measurement.”
To achieve harmonisation, the research team will roll-out an extended intercomparison testing programme. This will involve the design and provision of a mobile instrumentation suite that can be moved to multiple laboratories in order to enable comparison measurements to be taken. The project is also designed to gain an understanding of the factors that influence multiphase flow measurements, such as the geometrical features of each laboratory and the structure of the flow that develops in each set of flow conditions.
For further information contact: David Crawford
The European Metrology Programme for Innovation and Research (EMPIR) has been developed as an integrated part of Horizon 2020, the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation.
Horizon 2020 aims to reinforce and extend the excellence of the EU's science base and to consolidate the European Research Area in order to make the research and innovation system more competitive on a global scale.
The EMPIR calls, launched between 2014 and 2020, have an allocated total budget of 600 M €, with 300 M € from the participating states and up to 300 M € from the European Commission, using Article 185 of the European Treaty.
EMPIR Joint Research Projects (JRPs) from these calls will focus on priority areas, known as Targeted Programmes (TPs), to address the EU's Grand Challenges in Health, Energy, Environment and Industry, and to progress fundamental measurement science.
The first large scale research project to tackle the measurement challenges facing the development of Europe’s hydrogen fuel industry has started. The research, which began in June, is part of this year’s European Metrology Programme for Innovation and Research (EMPIR).
“NEL are primarily involved in the flow metrology aspect of this collaborative endeavour,” says Principal Consultant, Dr Norman Glen. “The BEIS-supported research will make full use of NEL’s facilities and our knowledge of flow metrology and the thermophysical properties of fluids. It will support the introduction of hydrogen vehicles and will therefore have significant economic, environmental and social implications.”
The EMPIR Metrology for Hydrogen Vehicles project has the backing of hydrogen fuel vehicle manufacturers, hydrogen refuelling station (HRS) operators, gas producers and standards bodies. It addresses the fact that, although a large amount of hydrogen fuel infrastructure is currently in development across Europe, the hydrogen fuel industry cannot currently meet certain measurement requirements (set by European legislation) due to a lack of available methods and standards.
“When hydrogen is transferred to a fuel cell vehicle the machinery experiences very challenging conditions, with pressures as high as 700 bar and temperatures that can drop down to -40oC,” Norman explains. “There are currently no traceable methods to measure flow or fuel quality, so it is not possible to accurately calculate the amount of hydrogen dispensed. As a result, the customer is unlikely to be charged correctly when buying hydrogen from the station.”
One of the key aims of the research is to develop the necessary methodologies, standards and calibration facilities to allow HRSs to accurately calibrate their hydrogen flow meters. The project’s other aims include the development of analysers to monitor low level impurities at refuelling station and the dissemination of best practice for sampling.
For more details, contact Dr. Norman Glen.
Challenges relating to the recalibration of flow meters and the importance of calibrating meters at service conditions were just some of the issues discussed during a recent visit to the United States and Canada by NEL Project Engineer, Chris Mills.
“Overall the trip was very useful,” says Chris. “There was interest in NEL’s work from several major oil and gas operators and some interesting leads in the areas of Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) and multiphase meter calibration.”
Chris first spoke at the CEESI North American Custody Transfer Measurement Conference, which took place in San Antonio in June. This event brought together meter manufacturers and end users to share information about challenges in the hydrocarbon measurement industry. As part of this meeting, Chris also attended the second meeting of the Flow Recalibration Working Group (FRWG).
“We talked a lot about Coriolis meters and how they are affected by increases in pressure and temperature,” says Chris, who gave a talk on the importance of calibrating meters at service conditions. “Many of the people involved in the discussion were not aware of the sensitivity of these types of meters, so they found it very informative. We also discussed multiphase flow meters and issues around the real-time validation of data.”
According to Chris, the key issue highlighted at the FRWG meeting was the variabilities that exist in relation to the recalibration of meters. “There is a pressing need to introduce more consistency in terms of timescales, costs and regulations in this area,” he says.
Chris also travelled to Houston where he had a number of meetings with operators and end-users. At these he highlighted NEL’s capabilities and new facilities while reviewing opportunities for JIPs and other business development. He then went on to Canada where he met with the industry regulator in Alberta to understand their approach to calibrating meters at service conditions.
For more information, contact Chris Mills.
Over 100 attendees took part in a recent webinar that highlighted why density is such a vital aspect of flow measurement.
“I think that we got this level of interest because of the wide importance of the topic to industry, across a wide range of sectors,” says Principal Consultant, Dr Norman Glen, who ran the webinar. “We got participation from academia, oil producers and manufacturers of instrumentation from around the world.”
“It’s amazing how many end-users don’t appreciate the importance of density as they generally deal with volume measurements,” says Norman. “I explained that in many process applications density is used for process control and product quality assessment and that accurate density measurement is vital throughout the process industry. I presented the work NEL has done on calibrating densitometers at operating conditions and why this is so important.”
The webinar also covered the main approaches to on-line and off-line density measurement (including the advantages and disadvantages of each approach). It looked at density measurement standards and elaborated on NEL’s work to improve density measurement.
“The webinar generated a wide range of questions,” Norman adds, “including one which highlighted the importance of this issue. One of the webinar participants asked: “Are there any flow measurement applications where accurate density measurements are not required?” My answer was “very few!””
Norman also highlighted the limitations of the calculations in the American Petroleum Institute’s Manual of Petroleum Measurement Standards, Chapter 11. There was a lot of interest in this aspect of the webinar and Norman is now getting in touch with relevant parties to look into the potential of addressing the issues raised.
For more details, contact Norman Glen.
An audience of industry experts from the UK subsea sector recently received a briefing on the development of an innovative holistic flow meter management system. This took place at the Subsea Springboard event, which was hosted by Subsea UK and the National Subsea Research Initiative (NSRI) in June.
“This innovative system is currently under development,” says Group Manager, Lynn Hunter, who gave the presentation at Subsea UK’s offices in Aberdeen. “When finished it will integrate NELs bespoke software solutions with our world-established flow expertise and streamline the coordination and management of vast amounts of metering data.”
“Of particular interest to the industrial audience is the fact that, in the field, the system’s live dashboard will provide a health check on individual meters and alert users when they are performing outside their specifications,” says Lynn. “This will help instill confidence in meters destined for subsea use and will play an instrumental role in their ongoing maintenance.”
The presentation was well received, with NSRI choosing the management system as its technology of the month for its website.
“With the growth in big data and analytics,” Lynn adds, “the streamlining of metering data is becoming more and more important to support effective production measurement, fiscal taxation and allocation reporting.”
Once it is fully developed, the system will operate from a remote cloud platform. It will ensure that multiple users are working from one set of controlled, traceable data. It will correct for installation effects and variations in field production fluids. This will ensure a true reflection of measurement uncertainty. Added benefits will come from the online support and troubleshooting that will be provided by NEL’s flow measurement experts.
For more details, contact Lynn Hunter.
Water leakage took centre stage at a recent meeting of the Sensors for Water Interest Group (SWIG) which took place at NEL in East Kilbride. The meeting highlighted the important role that sensors, measurement systems and data analytics play in managing and reducing leakage. Attendees were also able to see a project that is being undertaken at NEL to measure the accuracy of water meters used in association with large diameter pipes.
“Leakage is a major concern in the water industry and for water users,” says Consultant Engineer, Brendan Robson. “Recent deregulation in the industry in England has further heightened interest in the issue with new water retailers pressing the wholesalers to fix leaks faster. Ofwat are also challenging water wholesalers to reduce outages and leakage as part of long term business plans - with significant fines for missing leakage targets.”
The meeting brought together representatives from water companies, researchers and the supply chain. As NEL’s contribution, Brendan discussed developments in Network Monitoring and Leakage Identification. He emphasised the importance of Data Validation & Reconciliation (DVR) techniques and more advanced tools such as Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD). He also highlighted the case of Singapore as a country that has seen substantial benefits from its investment in the latest leak detection sensors.
As part of the event, delegates were given a tour of NEL’s facilities. Of particular interest was a project being undertaken for Evaluation International (EI). EI is a technology club for large-scale users of measurement and control instruments. Members include Severn Trent, EDF Energy and BAE Systems.
In 2016, Severn Trent Water proposed an EI project to measure the accuracy of water meters used in association with large diameter pipes (up to 500mm in diameter). This project is now underway and SWIG attendees saw the flow test rig under construction.
SWIG promotes the dissemination of information on sensor developments and fosters collaboration through targeted workshops. It provides a forum for manufacturers, end users and researchers in the sensor community to test new ideas, exchange views and network.
For more information, contact Andrew Fisher.
Consultancy support is being provided to a new multiphase flow study that is being undertaken in Qatar. The research, which is taking place at the Qatar campus of Texas A&M University, has been set up to provide important input into the development and design of an efficient process to clean holes during drilling operations.
“NEL is supplying guidance and technical input to this project,” says Flow Measurement Consultant Craig Marshall. “Three of our experts will travel out to provide the project team with CFD and other technical support. We’ll also review the work and the testing protocol that is being used.”
“Texas A&M University asked us to get involved because NEL is at the forefront of multiphase research,” explains Craig. “The request highlights our capabilities in providing expertise and guidance in this field, not just in the UK, but wherever such services are needed around the world.”
The proposed study, which is taking place over the next few months, will help provide an understanding of the behaviour of multiphase flows (which contain gas, water and solids) in annuli. Annuli are the voids that are found between pipes and their cases and are often found in oil wells.
In addition to overcoming technical challenges, it is hoped that knowledge from the project will provide a major resource in improving multiphase annuli standards and that it will contribute to the development of the transportation of multiphase flows.
The project research team comprises researchers from Texas A&M at Qatar, Texas A&M at Collage Station, Petroleumsoft, Total, GRi Simulations, Rasgas and NEL.
For more information, please contact Craig Marshall.
A major research study that will enhance flow metrology across Europe is underway. The project, which is being co-ordinated by NEL, is part of this year’s European Metrology Programme for Innovation and Research (EMPIR).
“The ground-breaking project is designed to achieve measurement harmonisation between multiphase flow metrology testing facilities,” explains R&D Co-ordinator, David Crawford. “Called MultiFlowMet II, it involves collaboration with 17 partners, including Onesubea Processing, DNV GL, Schlumberger and other multiphase test labs, meter vendors and research partners covering the UK, Norway, the Netherlands, Germany, Italy, the Czech Republic, Russia and Singapore.”
The project, which builds on the work done on a preceding EMRP project, has been set up to address the acknowledged lack of standardised facilities (and procedures) for testing multiphase flow meters. It started in June and will run for three years.
“This lack of standardised facilities has led to variances in test results between laboratories,” says David. “The project will help boost confidence in the measurement system, and hence in the meters that are tested. This project is vital to the future development of oil and gas production as it will drive improvements and enhance confidence in multiphase flow measurement, which is a fundamental enabling metrology technology in subsea oil and gas production.”
To achieve harmonisation, the research team will roll out an extended intercomparison testing programme. This will involve the design and provision of a mobile suite of instrumentation that can be moved around different laboratories in order to enable comparison measurements to be taken.
The project is also designed to gain an understanding of the factors that influence multiphase flow measurements, such as the geometrical features of each laboratory and the structure of the flow that develops in each set of flow conditions.
For more details, contact David Crawford.
The importance of efficient and cost-effective data management and delivery was highlighted by NEL at the BHR Group’s 18th International Conference on Multiphase Technology, which was held recently in Cannes, France.
“My main message was that, for the oil and gas industry, we need to deliver the right data to the right person at the right time in an efficient and cost-effective way,” says Senior Consultant, Dr Bruno Pinguet, who gave a presentation at the conference. “I emphasised the fact that the industry is using an increasing number of digital tools to optimise the economics of its business and highlighted the role that NEL is playing in this process thanks to its expertise in the areas such as remote monitoring, multiphase metering and visualisation techniques.”
Bruno’s talk looked at the evolution of the market for multiphase flow metering, showed how the technology can have an impact on production and outlined future industry demands. He also noted that the oil industry is going through a revolution with the current growth in the exploitation of shale oil and shale gas fields.
“Smarter sensors and metering devices with self-diagnostic capabilities will be key for the future of the industry,” Bruno explains. “As part of this, a new generation of multiphase flow meters will be instrumental to meeting the complex challenges that companies face.”
“On the positive side,” he says, “there is now a greater confidence in multiphase equipment, software and modeling tools than ever before." "There is significant potential synergy between multiphase flow meters and virtual metering.”
Feedback on the talk was very positive. “The conference was hosted for highly technical people with extensive industrial experience,” he says. “Despite this experience, numerous people wanted to talk to me about the trends I outlined and said how much they appreciated NEL’s role in delivering an unbiased picture of the future for the multiphase flow meter market.”
For more information, contact Bruno Pinguet.
NEL is a world class provider of technical consulting, research, measurement, testing and programme management services to clients across many industries including oil & gas, renewable and sustainable energy, process and government.
NEL also holds the UK National Standards for flow measurement and has an international reputation in key engineering areas such as flow measurement, computational fluid dynamics, environmental and thermal engineering.