In today’s Wall Street Journal article, U.S. Oil Prices Fall Below $50 a Barrel, it chronicles the continuing decline in oil prices over the past 6 months. This increases the pressure on oil & gas producers to find ways to reduce production costs and optimize operations.In an Offshore Engineering magazine article, Remote Surveillance of measurement and allocation data, Emerson’s Charles Johnson describes how technology can help to bring pooled experts on an as-needed basis to oil & gas metering and fiscal allocation.
He opens the article:
Measurement and allocation of hydrocarbon resources and products is fundamental in the financial value chain of an oil and gas production company. Ultimately, this is the transaction point at which engineering units such as volume or energy are converted into financials units, dollars and ownership value.
Charles explains that these measurements and allocations are used for custody transfer of raw materials and refined products as well as for tax and environmental compliance reasons. He also notes that the pool of experts who understand flow measurement and hydrocarbon allocation is shrinking due in large part to retirements.
One way this challenge is being addressed is through pooled expertise and the use of data and communications technologies. He shares:
In nearly every oil and gas production company, the measurement and allocation data is available internally from remote locations across company intranet or internet using a variety of historians. Almost all have access to their offshore or remote production facility Distributed Control Systems (DCS) or historian system. Therefore, it is possible to connect the flow measurement expertise from the external metering specialists with the flow metering devices and the measurement and allocation of productions in the remote sites thus releasing expensive, in-house engineering time to core activities.
See the article for a diagram of the consolidated remote monitoring from the offshore platform and onshore production facility.
A challenge with the measurement systems is maintaining accuracy over time. Measurement consultants help to make sure the uncertainty of the measured values are kept as small as possible and within the contracted limits through ongoing calibration and maintenance routines.
Charles highlights some of the remote activities which include measurement and diagnostic surveillance, calibration monitoring, allocation oversight and environmental oversight. By having this pooled expertise available:
…the delivery of complex allocation calculations, the reconciliation of diverse measurement and allocation data can be coordinated in such a way as to meet the company reporting deadlines on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis, without compromising the integrity of the data.
You can connect and interact with other flow measurement professionals in the Flow group in the Emerson Exchange 365 community.