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Types of Flow Meters Used in the Oil and Gas Industry

There are different types of flow meters helping to maintain the effective production of oil and gas. Here’s a guide with all the details to know about them.

Types of Flow Meters Used in the Oil and Gas Industry - KB Delta

Searching for energy around the world includes crude oil, natural gas, coal, nuclear power, and renewable energy. Crude oil has been less than $100 per barrel for most of the past years. Crude oil prices have fallen to $60 and below since August 2014.

This is positive for customers. But if the price of oil is sustained at this pace, it will likely have an effect on exploration and development over time. That being said, recognizing that many energy projects are long-term and cannot be stopped and started at will is crucial. So, the long-term prospects for oil & gas measurement flowmeters remain good.

Since oil prices can evolve so rapidly, it is premature to draw certain conclusions about the effect on oil output of the low oil prices. On the other hand, if low rates are retained, they are likely to have an effect on the acceptance of certain new projects. This depends on the price point these projects are still viable for.

While a rise in production combined with declining demand is typically a formula for lower prices, demand for oil in the world is rising every year. And it remains true that most of the Earth’s oil is found in volatile locations.

The world’s quest for energy will continue. There will always be a need for energy whether oil prices are high or low. Oil and gas flowmeter will always be used for long-term energy exploration.


The Sources of Natural Gas and Oil and How They Are Formulated

Most oil and gas fields are found within sedimentary rocks such as limestone and sandstone. These rocks have the permeability and porosity to transfer and absorb oil and gas into them. The porosity of the rocks themselves is the parameter. This influences the reservoir’s ability while its productivity is determined by the permeability.

Drilling to standard oil or gas accumulation will usually result in an immediate flow of at least a small volume. To start, continue or increase oil or gas follow-up and further stimulate this, water is pumped into the underlying layers of rock. The high-water pressure being pumped into the rock would lead to increased flow rates and improved production. This makes the well more effective and economical.

Sometimes natural gas or oil trapped in impermeable rock cannot migrate to form traditional deposits. These are considered unconventional hydrocarbons, which may include shale oil, methane from coal beds. Since the rock has a very low permeability, these unusual accumulations need to be stimulated to start the flow and enable the extraction efficiency.


Types of Flow Meters Used in the Oil and Gas Industry - KB Delta


Types of Flow Meters

The natural gas chances of success have never looked better than they do today. Natural gas is weighed as it comes out of the field, when it exits the gas production plants on the way, and several more times before it hits the point of use.

Although temperature, pressure, and analytical instruments all play a significant role in gas measurement, measurement of the gas flow is one of the most crucial of all measurements. For measuring gas flow, several types of flowmeters are used, and each type has its own advantages and disadvantages.


1. Coriolis Flow Meters

Coriolis flowmeters effectively act on the principles of motion mechanics. As the fluid travels through a vibrating tube, it is forced to accelerate as it progresses towards the point of peak-amplitude. Inversely, decelerating fluid travels away from the highest amplitude point as it leaves the tunnel. During flow conditions, the result is a spinning reaction of the flow tube as it travels each vibration stage.

Upon entering the sensor, the process fluid is splits. A drive coil, during operation, causes the tubes to oscillate at the normal resonant frequency in opposition. As the tubes oscillate, a sine wave is created by the voltage produced from each pickoff. That indicates the relative motion of one tube to the other.


2. Ultrasonic Flow Meters

Ultrasonic flowmeters are commonly used for measuring the gas flow. Inline models, including custody-transfer applications, are used where high precision is required. While inline ultrasonic meters have transducers mounted inside the pipe, clamp-on models are equipped with transducers that clamp on to the outside.

Although the accuracy of clamp-on models is not usually as high as that of inline variants, their ability to calculate flow without pipe entry makes them useful for metering tests and measuring temporary flow. Ultrasonic flowmeters are one of three primary types of flowmeters used for natural gas transmission supervision.


3. Vortex Flow Meters

The vortex flowmeters can sometimes be the best option for petrochemical applications. Also suited for a vortex flowmeter solution are many applications in the oil and gas industry, in particular the distribution of natural gas into smaller pipes (less than 8 inches).

Other applications where vortex flowmeters are the right option include applications in the process industry where multivariable measurement is needed, and broad applications in energy management such as universities, office buildings etc. Vortex flowmeters is also suitable for steam applications and mass flow detectors. Installing vortex flowmeters can save considerably on installation and maintenance costs with applications that require temperature, pressure, and flow measurement.


4. Thermal Flow Meters

Thermal flowmeters are almost exclusively used for measuring the flow of gas. Usually thermal flowmeters inject heat into the flow stream and then calculate how fast this heat dissipates. The value is proportional to the flow of water. There are two distinct thermal calculation methods, which are constant power and constant temperature. The measurement of stack gas flows is a major application for thermal flowmeters.

Usually, thermal flow meters operate by calculating the rate at which heat dissipates after being pumped into a flux of gas. They are almost exclusively used for measuring gas. Depending on gas composition and temperature, the heat dissipation can vary.


5. Turbine Flow Meters

Turbine flowmeters are commonly used for measuring the flow of liquids and gas, but cannot be used to measure the flow of steam. They outstrip in the measurement of safe, steady, medium to high flow rates of low viscosity fluids.

Turbine flowmeters use a mechanical rotor within a pipe attached to a shaft to determine the amount of oil, gas, or vapor that passes through it. The rotor blades use rotational energy from the flow stream and, as the fluid speed increases, the rotor spins faster.

The magnets on the rotary blades are widely used to allow sensors outside the pipe to detect the movement of the rotor. These signals are then used by the sensing and transmitting device to determine the amount of material flowing through the pipe.



This provides you with helpful details about the different types of flow meters, but to find more information, contact a manufacturing supplier, who works closely with the oil and gas industry.


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