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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Emerson’s Flowmeter Operations Pursue European Opportunities

Emerson Process Management (EPM) recently announced two petrochemical-based projects in Europe that have expanded the development and supply of its flow control and process monitoring equipment and yielded major savings for a facility operator.

A division of St. Louis-based Emerson, EPM’s specialties include products and services in such areas as measurement, analysis, and process and control for heavy industries.

The Roxar flow-loop facility in Norway builds and tests multiphase flowmeters. Credit: Emerson Process Management

The Roxar flow-loop facility in Norway builds and tests multiphase flowmeters. Credit: Emerson Process Management

On June 24, EPM reported that a business unit, Roxar, opened a flow-loop facility in Stavanger, Norway. The site, which is 200 sq m (2,153 sq ft) in size, will increase the production of multiphase meters, which are primarily used by oil and gas companies to develop continuous well and flow-rate information and to maximize reservoir performance through use of multiphase meters and production data.

The facility will also accelerate developments in multiphase meter technology and allow the company to offer more factory acceptance tests of its equipment without using third-party vendors, thereby reducing delivery times.

Stavanger is, of course, a key part of Norway’s offshore oil and gas industry. The Roxar facility is the latest in a global network of flow measurement technology and service centers run by EPM. As such, it represents an ongoing effort by the company to address — with enhanced technology and product innovations — the mounting challenges of growing reservoir complexity and rapidly changing well conditions.

To achieve realistic testing conditions, the flow-loop facility mixes diesel, saltwater, and nitrogen to simulate the multiphase flow from oil and gas wells. During testing, reference measurements are made by EPM’s Micro Motion Elite Coriolis flowmeters. A DeltaV distributed control system operates and controls flow-loop and log data from the reference instrumentation and multiphase meters being tested.

Meanwhile, in Romania, a major petrochemical production and distribution facility reports improvements in operational efficiency through use of Micro Motion Coriolis flowmeters and EPM’s Rosemount 8800D Vortex flowmeters. Specifically, the Carom Onesti plant has in the past year improved mass balance, increased the efficiency of the nine boilers at the facility, and reduced road and rail tanker turnaround times due to the accuracy and reliability of the flowmeters.

Mass balance refers to an ideal operating condition in reactors and distillation columns, the achievement and maintenance of which, EPM says, relies on accurate flow-measurement data. Carom Onesti had used differential-pressure flowmeters, which periodically became clogged when process fluids polymerized within them; this affected measurement accuracy and required maintenance.

The use of Emerson flowmeters saves the Carom Onesti petrochemical complex in Romania over $1 million annually from previous flow-related losses. Credit: Emerson Process Management

The use of Emerson flowmeters saves the Carom Onesti petrochemical complex in Romania over $1 million annually from previous flow-related losses. Credit: Emerson Process Management

The Micro Motion flowmeters, which have no moving parts, have largely overcome this problem and generated accurate and reliable readings, saving €700,000 ($952,000) per year by reducing losses of the gasoline additive MBTE (methyl tertiary-butyl ether).

The nine boilers provide superheated steam to production units at the site. Three orifice flowmeters had been used to measure steam flow, but these often leaked. This not only resulted in the loss of as much as 2 metric tons of steam per hour, it required 300 hours of maintenance a year. The Rosemount 8800D Vortex flowmeters reversed these problems.

Engineers at Carom Onesti say the EPM meters eliminated steam loss, saved more than €200,000 ($272,000) in annual fuel costs, and virtually eliminated maintenance. As a result, the facility recouped its initial investment in the flowmeters in only 25 days, according to the engineers.

At the site’s fuel distribution terminal, it is essential that rail and truckloads be measured accurately. As these carriers leave the facility, they are weighed. If filling isn’t accurate and the loaded weight doesn’t match the weight on a shipping manifest, the trucks and rail tankers must return for refilling. This delays transit and incurs costly downtime for personnel, trucks, and locomotives.

Seeing positive results from the use of Micro Motion Coriolis controls elsewhere in the facility, plant operators installed them in the truck and tanker loading areas. The result has been greater loading accuracy, operational savings of more than €90,000 ($122,400) annually, and labor savings of over 300 hours per year for train crews.

The installation of the EPM flow-control systems are thus yielding annual savings of almost €1 million ($1.36 million) at the Romanian facility, while also improving productivity and in many cases freeing maintenance workers for other work.

 

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