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Monday, Sep 22, 2003

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Hydrocarbon measurement traceability — Cos should go for high accuracy levels: FCRI

Sajeev Kumar V.

Palakkad , Sept. 21

THE hydrocarbon industry in the country has realised the importance of high accuracy levels of measurement as well as the relevance of the flow measurement traceability at national and international standards.

Senior officials at the Fluid Control Research Institute (FCRI), Palakkad, said the high accuracy levels of measurement has to come out in accepted norms for companies in the hydrocarbon sector, even a small measurement errors in oil/gas transfers could have significant commercial implications. Slight variations in measurements can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars for companies involved in trading petroleum products.

FCRI, the first of its kind in South East Asia, has been involved in calibration, custody transfer, model approval programmes for more than a decade. The competition among petroleum companies after the dismantling of the administered pricing mechanism and the growing demand of oil and gas in the country, which is at an annual rate of 6 to 7 per cent, has also necessitated companies to go in for high accuracy levels of measurement.

More often companies find measurements do not match up and this may lead to serious disputes. It is observed that typically measurements conducted on a petroleum cargo by 10 officials results in 10 separate figures. A clear understanding of the intricacies of liquid measurement will obviate such problems, they said.

According to officials, the available data indicated that the present oil production is 32 million tonnes per annum and the natural gas production is 65 million cubic metres per day. India's Hydrocarbon Vision - 2025 has projected the demand for oil and gas at around 368 mmtpa and 200 million cubic metres per annum by 2025.

FCRI is involved in technical auditing of natural gas metering stations and it conducts complete checks of metering stations for their conformity with respective standards. For both, custody transfer system and in-house metering system, auditing is required for reconciliation, prediction of losses and unaccounted losses and energy balance etc.

Hence, metering system requires upgradation to the current specifications of standards and stipulated uncertainty, the officials said.

The institute has just completed an international inter-comparison test with the oil flow laboratory of FCRI, Netherlands Measurements Institute and the National Engineering Laboratory, UK.

Initially, the flow of meter package was calibrated in the oil flow measurement facility of FCRI and then in NEL and NMI. The package will be returned to FCRI and it will be re-calibrated to establish the stability of the system, the officials added.

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