Collect Gas & Liquid EFM Data in One Server—with Real-Time Data, Too

Two and a half years ago, when Kepware was starting their development of gas EFM data collection from flow computers (like ABB Totalflow, Emerson's FloBoss and ROC800 series, and Schneider's SCADAPacks), I met with Flow-Cal's President and CEO, Mike Squyres, at the American School of Gas Measurement Technology.

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Just like Mr. McGuire advised Ben in the movie The Graduate that the future could be summarized in one word—"Plastics"—Mike advised me that the future of the Oil & Gas Measurement Industry was "Liquids." At that time, his company was working with midstream companies like DCP Midstream to develop and add liquid measurement support to Flow-Cal's industry-leading FLOWCAL Enterprise Gas measurement application.

Previous to this, midstream companies were using disparate systems to measure gas and liquid products. Liquid measurement was often handled with handwritten tickets from truck, rail, and tanker transactions. Tank levels were then entered and "balanced" using an Excel spreadsheet, leaving many opportunities along the way for human error. Some companies developed their own in-house liquid measurement software solutions, but experienced headaches maintaining them in this ever-changing industry. 

These inefficiencies came to a head with the explosion of gas and Natural Gas Liquids (NGLs) that were being produced thanks to the unconventional technologies of the current shale and tight gas boom. The need for more accurate liquid measurement was also driven by the high value of NGLs due to the current high price of crude, which doesn't seem to be heading south anytime soon. With millions of dollars at stake, producers and midstream companies both need to feel assured that they are not leaving any money on the table per contracts with their partners that are based on custody transfer data.

iStock_000026809754SmallNow that Flow-Cal offers both gas and liquid measurement capabilities in their Enterprise edition, companies need just one Commercially Off The Shelf (COTS) solution to implement and maintain when tracking the gas and liquid products passing through their pipelines and processing facilities as the products start their long journey from the wellhead to the consumer.

Similarly, with Kepware's KEPServerEX version 5.14 release, midstream companies can rely on just one COTS solution to poll measurement data that is calculated and stored on the flow computers that are collecting data from liquid and gas meters on pipelines. Using typical telemetry mechanisms found in the field, KEPServerEX can connect to and collect data from the appropriate flow computers that are monitoring gas or liquid flow. Then, it can export the appropriate CFX files to FLOWCAL Version 8, which is Flow-Cal's first release with added liquid support. Both batch and historical (hourly and daily) liquid data is supported. The same Kepware server can also be configured to poll real-time monitoring and control data from the RTUs and PLCs that are placed at wellheads, compressor stations, fractionation and separation facilities, and other assets.

Together, KEPServerEX and FLOWCAL simplify and consolidate the collection, management, and analysis of data required for today's operational efficiency requirements—and provide the tools needed for their mutual customers to maintain the custody transfer audit trail. This ultimately aids companies in meeting API Chapter 21.2 guidelines.

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