Integrated Oil and Gas Flow Metering

Custody transfer flow measurement is one of the most exacting and difficult applications in the hydrocarbon supply chain. Pipeline operators typically rely on custom control solutions that require extensive ongoing support and maintenance.

Emerson's Gary Collister


I caught up with Emerson’s Gary Collister about ways to perform fiscal and non-fiscal oil and gas metering from upstream production through the supply chain using a standardized approach to operator graphics, reporting, alarm management, historical trending, and system-wide security.

Gary noted that historically many software platforms have been used including PLC software, operator interface (human-machine interface-HMI) software, drivers to interface with other software and various data management software for configuration, calibration, audit trail and other function.

He described a recently announced DanPac Express system. It consists of a flow metering panel that includes Daniel S600+ flow computers, Ethernet switches and a Microsoft Windows-based engineering workstation along with optional operator workstations. This hardware configuration with no logic control panel helps to reduce complexity and cost. The user interface puts alarms and events in clear view and provides customization of reports, trends and more.

Modbus drives are available for communications with flow computers, gas chromatographs and other devices. Also, Modbus TCP connections are available for stream and station data. A HART interface supports multiple smart instruments, volume provers and analytical devices.

Gary noted that some fiscal and non-fiscal applications where the DanPac Express system fits well include pipelines, batch/truck loading, blending and onshore wellhead measurement.

He explained that a key part of any fiscal or non-fiscal measurement project is the expertise required for front end engineering & design, installation, commissioning, training and lifecycle support. Gary has a team of certified service engineers highly trained in the DanPac and DanPac Express systems as well as the key components—S600+ flow computers, DanPac standardized software and DanPac Reporting Web Portal. All service engineers must become certified to support these installations across their lifecycle.

Beyond flow metering the project engineers understand batching and proving, sampling and analysis, well testing and line control. They also have knowledge of the underlying instrumentation and technologies including ultrasonic meters, turbine meters, positive displacement (PD) meters, Coriolis meters, Mag meters and multiphase meters.

Given the importance of remote access in many flow metering applications, Gary also highlighted the importance of cyber-security in these systems. It’s important to think of control system security as a series of layers, with the goal to “harden” the system, since no system is invulnerable to attack. The goal is to make it difficult by applying a series of techniques and technologies by combining layered security with ongoing processes to manage anti-virus protection, security patching, hotfixes, user access control, workstation hardening, physical security and host of network-level defenses.

These network-level defenses include a secure network architecture, network lockdown, secure remote access, firewalls, and evergreen security policies. Administering this program on non-integrated systems is much more difficult and time consuming.

If your application requires fiscal or non-fiscal oil and gas metering from single-stream skids to complex on-site installations, the Daniel Metering Systems page has more. You can also connect and interact with other flow measurement and oil and gas experts in the Flow and Oil & Gas groups in the Emerson Exchange 365 community.

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