Multiphase and Virtual Flow Metering Selection

ARC has been conducting research related to oil and gas industry technology for over two decades.  Recently ARC conducted detailed research specifically for Multiphase and Virtual Flow Meters.  Based on this research, ARC analysts have developed a comprehensive set of criteria to help you select the best multiphase flow metering solution available in the market.

Proper Multiphase Flow Metering Selection Can Empower Production Optimization

multiphase flow meteringARC Advisory Group research on the Multiphase and Virtual Flow Metering market reveals that owner-operators and independents are increasingly relying on multiphase flow metering and virtual flow metering solutions for real-time measurements for production monitoring, production allocation, and production optimization. Multiphase and virtual flow metering solutions are enabling end users to save on the cost and space of production and test separators while simultaneously obtaining more real-time flow measurements. This provides real-time visibility, greater operational agility, and flexibility to adapt to changing flow regimes characteristic of mature oil and gas wells. 

Oil and gas flow measurement is not a simple process. Multiphase and virtual flow metering technologies are designed to help. The fluid being measured may be a mixture of oil, gas – wet and dry, condensate and water, and therefore requires specialized technology to measure such a multiphase condition. The oil and gas production fields both onshore as well as offshore require specialized solutions to accurately measure the oil and gas production. Accurate measurement is an important part of the information systems used for production allocation and production accounting as well as flow control. Different sensing technologies are required depending on such factors as pressure and temperature, the density and composition of the fluid, and the mass/volume fractions of oil, gas, and water, as well as the condition of the oil that is being produced.

Selecting the correct multiphase or virtual flow meter solution can be crucial to the production operation for accounting and business reasons as well as operational reasons. The multiphase flow meter must be able to handle the specific kind of crude, and any associated gas, from such sources as conventional oil production, oil shale, or fracking.  Failure to correctly measure the flow can impact downstream analysis as well.

Multiphase Flow Meter Selection Strategic Issues

Suppliers Need to Act as Partners

Investing in a multiphase flow metering solution as part of an overall strategic approach to enhance oilfield operations is not a trivial matter given the relative expense of the actual unit and associated testing, installation, maintenance, and calibration related expenses, which some sources indicate can comprise 25 percent, 50 percent, or more of the cost of the hardware. In addition, there is the cost in downtime of stopping well production to install the multiphase flow metering unit on a well that is already producing. Therefore, end users are recommended to seek out suppliers that are willing to invest sufficient time, resources, product development/customization, and service and support necessary to enable the successful deployment and operation of the multiphase flow metering solution for the duration of the project. 

One area of consideration for end users lies in seeking partnerships involving well testing services, particularly in mobile well testing, as a means of outsourcing some or all aspects of this operational area to keep costs low and manage projects more effectively in lieu of likely reductions in staff due to the departure of seasoned personnel to due volatile oil and gas prices. Several suppliers have developed more extensive well testing service offerings and capabilities in recognition of this growing need to outsource some or all aspects of well testing and/or monitoring. Users seeking to consider virtual flow metering solutions should also expect their chosen supplier to work closely with them to ensure the development of the most robust and accurate models possible, as both parties have the same common objective in terms of deploying a solution that provides sufficient real-time accurate measurements to enable effective well monitoring, production optimization, or multiphase flow metering backup/validation.

Multiphase Flow Metering Solutions Should Be Designed to Handle Operational and Environmental Challenges

Users should take the time to investigate the expected flow regimes from the wells to be measured and determine the production envelope, and then select suppliers that can provide a multiphase flow metering solution with a corresponding envelope and the measurement technologies best suited to meet any specific challenges, such as high GVF, wet gas, heavy oil, etc. Since fluid flow in the bore is influenced by several factors, including pipe diameter, flow rate, fluid type and characteristics–density and viscosity–and well bore deviation, end users should make sure to work closely with suppliers and/or testing organizations to better understand the impact these factors can have on MPFM solutions. Since an increasing number of wells are being drilled horizontally or at least with some deviation from perfectly vertical, the challenges of multiphase flow measurement are even more complex.

Some customers may be dealing with light oil producing wells, which have low to moderate production. In such instances, ARC believes that an overly complicated MPFM solution may not be required, and it would be prudent for the end user to consider a solution based on less expensive technologies such as advanced Coriolis, water-cut meter, virtual flow meter, etc. In short, end users should only invest in multiphase flow metering solutions that are good enough in terms of accuracy, reliability, and repeatability to meet their requirements; otherwise, they run the risk of overpaying for performance that may be unwarranted for low production wells. Virtual flow metering solutions are based on models that can be tailored for the parameters of a specific well and by phase measurement. However, they need to be validated and calibrated in a timely manner to ensure that they are providing accurate real-time measurements in order to be worthy of the initial investment.  

Multiphase Flow Meter Selection Guide Table of Contents

Strategic Analysis

  • Executive Overview
  • Market Trends
  • Buyer Strategies
  • Growth Contributors and Inhibitors

Scope of Research

Technology Evaluation and Supplier Selection Criteria

  • Integration
    • Physical Meter Integration
    • Software Integration
    • System Integration
  • Product and Technology
    • Functionality
    • Standards Support
    • Technology/Architecture
  • Product Development and Upgrades
  • Services and Support
    • Training
    • Engineering & Project Management
    • Operations & Maintenance Support
    • Well Testing
  • Supplier Business Scope
    • Financial Capability
    • Market Presence

Leading Supplier Analysis

  • Market Shares of the Leading Suppliers
  • Market Shares by Region
    • North America
    • Europe, Middle East, Africa
    • Asia
    • Latin America
  • Market Shares by Measurement Methodology
    • Multiphase Flow Metering 
    • Virtual Flow Metering
  • Market Shares by Revenue Category
    • Hardware
    • Software
    • Services
  • Market Shares by Project Location
    • Onshore
    • Offshore
    • Subsea
  • Market Shares by MPFM Application
    • Artificial Life Optimization
    • Custody Transfer
    • Fiscal Monitoring
    • Flow Assurance
    • Heavy Oil/SAGD
    • Mobile Well Testing
    • Production Allocation
    • Production Optimization
    • Reservoir Monitoring
    • Stationary Well Testing
    • Well Monitoring
  • Market Shares by VFM Application
    • MPFM Backup/Validation
    • MPFM Replacement
    • Production Allocation
    • Production Monitoring
    • Production Optimization
  • Market Shares by Technology
    • Non-Radioactive
    • Gamma Ray Attenuation
  • Market Shares by Measurement Configuration
  • Market Shares by Sales Channel
  • Market Shares by Customer Type

Leading Supplier Profiles

For More Information

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