Vous êtes sur la page 1sur 9

Electronic Gas Measurement Audit - ...

Page 1

Electronic Gas Measurement Audit


Gary P. Menzel & R.Michael Squyres Coastal Flow Measurement, Inc. P.O. Box 58965 Houston, Texas 77258-8965 18th Annual Measurement Short Course Acadiana Flow Measurement Society April 29-30 Lafayette, LA

As Electronic Gas Meters (EGM) replace the more traditional chart recorders as the method of recording and calculating custody transfer volumes in the natural gas industry, it becomes more and more important to be able to audit the volumes produced by these devices. Our company has been doing some audits on electronic flow meters since 1984 and currently audit over 30 different pipelines at EGM custody transfer stations. Over the twelve month period ending December1 1992, we found errors on over 3% of all of these stations audited which were resolved by agreement between the parties involved. The incidence of error on the BOM stations we audit falls in the same range as that of the chart recorder stations audited. We have summarized the types of errors we have found in EGM auditing and these results are listed in table one. Where a category is listed as .00%, it is an error which has occurred in the past but that did not occur in during the twenty four month period included in the table. Where possible, we have kept the same code numbers as we use to classify errors found in chart auditing, though in fact the location where naany of these occur has moved from the office to the field. Many of these errors were only found because check metering equipment was installed and used to identify areas where problems existed. Check metering equipment is one of the best tools available to identify problems in measurement. Many problems can only be identified and corrected where there is a properly installed check meter. Even a check recorder installed on the same tube is helphil, though it will not identify problems with the primary device. Where there is a check meter, the auditor has the advantage of being able to compare two different sources of measurement and can easily find problems affecting only one of the meters. If a complete check meter station exists then the auditor should be able to identify and correct for most errors that occur. If a check meter does not exist, even ifa problem is identified, there may be no way to determine a more accurate volume than that originally determined. To receive an audit adjustrnent, not only must an error exist. but them has to be a method to calculate a better answer. In order to properly audit a measurement station, the auditor needs access to all of the measurement

http://www.afms.org/scourse/97sc2.htm

08/03/2010

7:09:05 PM

Electronic Gas Measurement Audit - ...

Page 2

information concerning the station. This includes the measurement and definitions sections of the contract, test reports and meter tube inspection reports, gas analyses1 check meter records, original and edited (if any) data from the custody transfer station and any other infornnation that is available about the measurement station. All of the data available to the original party responsible for the measurement should be made available to the auditor. For EGM audits, it is better if the original and edited flow records are provided in electronic format to facilitate review and recalculation. Since most stations will not have problems, computer tools can be used to identify areas where problems may exist If problems exist, the computer can also be used to recalculate the volumes, if this is the method which gives the best answer. Even though changes to flow parameters and calibration are logged by the meter, it is a good idea to continue to produce meter test reports independent of the meter event logs. This allows comments to be recorded which may provide valuable insight into measurement problems, especially those not associated with the calibration and programming of the recorder. Witness testing is also a valuable contributor to the audit program. A properly conducted witness test eliminates some errors before they happen. snce' the witness should catch most mistakes made by the meter tester. Also, it gives the auditor the resource ofhaving theirown meter technician to call upon with questions about the meter installation and flow conditions. If samples are pulled it can give the auditor a check on the gas quality. Even with the best equipment and personnel, problems will still occur. Equipment will fail, or mistakes will be made. Auditing is generally the last chance to insure the measurement is being done properly. It should also be a tool to identify equipment, procedural and operational problems that are adversely affecting measurement sothat they can be corrected. The least that can be expected from an audit program is that it will improve the overall measurement quality at the cash register of the industry. In the worst case, it can result in millions of dollars of recovered revenue. Audit Errors The classes of errors found in auditing have been divided into major categories representing the type of error. Orifice Plate These errors occur at the orifice plate. They will always be present when orifice metering is used. These problems occur more often on EGM stations than on chart recorder stations due in part to the difficulty of reviewing historical data in the field with many EGM models. If no check meter exists or only a check recorder, these errors may be difficult to identify or correct. 101. Orifice Plate Reversed: This condition can sometimes be detected during review, but variable flow rates and other factors may mask this condition. Usually this condition is noted, when found, on the meter test report If no properly recording check meter station exists. This condition can be corrected for by establishing a ratio of the indicted flow with the plate properly installed to that with the plate in backwards. This ratio may change slightly over the flowing range. If the flow is steady enough, this estimate can be made from the flows before and after the plate was installed improperly and when the problem was fixed. Care must be taken to allow for pressure build up, if the flow is shut-in while the p! ate inspection is being made. It may be necessary to conduct tests with the plate installed properly and backwards to establish this ratio after the fact This problem can easily account for 20% or more of flow. 102. Out of Beta Ratio: The only thing that can be said about this condition is avoid it, or be prepared to get your volumes somewhere else. because answers computed from such sources are generally unreliable. However, if it is a choice of accepting a plate that is below the minimum recommereded, or of

http://www.afms.org/scourse/97sc2.htm

08/03/2010

7:09:05 PM

Electronic Gas Measurement Audit - ...

Page 3

not properly measuring the flow due to low differential, then the smaller plate is better. Better still would be to change the differential transducer to a lower range. Unless the check meter is a different tube id, there is probably no way to get an adjustment where this problem exists, only fix the problem. 103. Damaged Plate: The plate is nicked, dished, dulled or otherwise damaged. Usually this does not affect the indicated flow to a noticeable extent This is true beeause the plat6s are replaced when there is only minor damage and should not be used Man excuse not to replace damaged plates. Occasionally the plate is so damaged that an adjustment is required. This can be made in a similar manner to a backwards plate. Damaged plates should not be disposed of before it is determined that no adjustment is required. If the plate is severely nicked, then the orientation of the plate should be noted, if possible. 104. Dirty Plate: This is a sneaky problem which can happen so slowly that it will not be detected by merely observing the recorded flow. Also it cannot be verified that this is the problem unless there is a lest repon or other documentation that indicates the plate was found dirty and was cleaned. Even then, it may not be possible to properly calculate an adjustment without a check meter, since this problem will change over time as the dirt or other material builds up on the plate and meter tube. A check meter must be tested to verify that it does not suffer from the same problem. If this problem is found repeatedly, the tubes will probably need to be inspected for build up as well. 105. Plate Too Large: This problem results in the flow, or much of the flow being called zero by the meter due to its low differential cut-off. This is a point, below which the EGM meter will call all differential zero so as to not attribute flow to periods of no flow. The meter may have no other data for these periods of lower flow rate. For this reason check meters are essential 10 distinguish between these periods and periods of actual no flow. Also the measurement where the meter is recording flow, is not asgood as it would be further up in the meter range. As an EGM device offers additional information and therefore advantages as a check meter to a chart recorder station, so a chart recorder will offer additional information and therefore advantages Macheck meter to an HOM station. One of these advantages is that a chart recorder will record the differential at zero. Many SCM devices have a low flow alarm wbich can be set above the low differential cut-off. This alarm can be usedto determine when a plate change is required; If most of the flow has the low flow alarm condition then the plate is too large and a plate change may need to be made. 106. Plate Too Small: This problem results in the meter operating above its calibrated range. The transducer will have a maximum possible differential and will not record above that point. Most EGMs have a high differential alarm which can give an indication that this problem might be occurring. Some also have an alarm which tells you when the stop at the top is reached. If these conditions are occurring and no low-flow alarms are occurring then a plate change needs to be made. If both low and high alarms are occurring then whether a plate change needs to be made or not depend upon the percent of time each is occurring and where the alarm points are set. In fact the plate may be prpperly sized to measure the flow as accurately as possible with the existing plate during normal flow conditions. If the meter is overranged and the check meter does not have a larger plate, then no adjustment may be possible. Sometimes an adjustment can be made by estimating the flow rate at the rate after a plate change was made, but only if the meter is still flowing at a similar rate. 107. Plate Missing : Fortunately rare. Either there was no plate installed, or the plate was left in the upper chamber of a "Senior" type fitting during inspection. Meter Problems 204. Calibration: If the meter is found out of calibration by greater than the contractual amount at the flowing conditions then the volume it calculated needs to be corrected, usually half way back to the preceding calibration test especially on EGM devices which are usually off on zero. If a check meter exists it maybe possible to more closely determine when the problem occurred. It may also be possible to determine when the problem occurred by looking at alarm conditions if the problem is severe enough.

http://www.afms.org/scourse/97sc2.htm

08/03/2010

7:09:05 PM

Electronic Gas Measurement Audit - ...

Page 4

Calibration is usually the only tolerance addressed in the measurement contract. This contractual tolerance which is usually two percent, should be lowered for EGM devices since they are supposed to have much better tolerances for calibration. For BOM stations this error includes the error in zero which is listed as a separate error for chart recorders. . On some of the meters when the meter shuts itself down due to low power in order to preserve the data it has already taken, it will lose calibration. If it is brought back on and not recalibrated, its calibration may be wildly off until it is recalibrated. 207. Meter Out of Service: The meter manifold valves were left closed, the equalization valve was left open, or the meter tube was left totally or partially bypassed. This problem is normally only identifiable with a proper check meter, & if it is noted on a field test. If no check meter exists, the volume needs to be estimated from periods where the meter was in service. Well meters may be used, even if not up to custody transfer standards, to identify flow rate changes and down time. 208. Overranging: Of course, for the period when the overranging occurs, the plate is too small, but errors are placed in this category only when the plate is correctly sized and the overranging is for relatively short periods, usually occurring after periods of down time, or as the result of brief and unpredictable surges. Corrections can be made for this condition only where another source of measurement exists which is not overranging. If the problem recurs, operational changes may need to be made. Data Entry Errors This category of errors includes incorrect data, entered either into the EGM device itself by field personnel with failure to correct for it in the office or entry of incorect data in the office resulting in erroneous corrections. This problem is usually a maner of not entering the correct data rather than entering incorrect data. 403. Wrong Plate Size: Usually a plate change was skipped or incorrectly entered. Seldom is it a case that the wrong plate size was entered. The data can usually be racalculated using the proper plate size. 405. Wrong Specific Gravity: This is usually a failure to use the most current specific gravity. It may also be the failure to correct in the office for an estimated specific gravity used in the field. This problem is especially likely when a new meter is placed in service since it may be some time before a routine sample is taken. 408. Reported Wrong Volume: This represents the cases where the volume was not supposed to have been changed, but somewhere in transferring it from the EGM to the final gas accounting statement something was changed. This can occur due to a bug in the software or hardware. It may also he due to a procedural error on the part of any of the people translerring the data. EGM Errors This class of errors are those unique to the EGM devices. Though similar errors may occur on chart recorders, the correspondence is not exact. These are listed out of order in the text to preserve continuity with the errors found for chart recorders. 601. Bad Transducer: These errors nesult when the transducer fails either partially or completely. or where it exhibits excessive calibration drift If no check meter exists then estimates may have to be made using flow from before and after the problem occurred. The transducer should he replaced if this has not alraady been done. 602. Calibration Zero is off, Leak During Test: This represents a leak in the test equipment or manifold resulting in a high or low zero on the meter being used to set its zero point at working pressure. A similar

http://www.afms.org/scourse/97sc2.htm

08/03/2010

7:09:05 PM

Electronic Gas Measurement Audit - ...

Page 5

problem can occur if the taps an left open to the flow line while the pressure is being tested if pulsation exists due to gage line error. In this latter case, it may further exaggerate the measurement errors due to the presence of pulsation. 603. Calculation Methodology: This represents errors from recalculating the volume on separate computers, usually related to not carrying enough precision in the transferred data or from not calculating or recalculating using the proper factors. 604. Missing Data: Either data was not collected before it vanished from the field device or it was lost in transmission to the office or once it reached the office. No estimate was made for the missing data in these cases. Care must be taken in designing a downstream processing system so that missing data is identified and cannot be mistaken for no flow records. Thene should be some backup method for identifying and collecting missing data before it disappears from the meter. 605. Data Deleted: A decision was made that the data presented by the meter was false flow and this data was deleted. Unless precise production records are kept or check meters are available, it rnay be impossible to prove that this data represents valid flow. 606. Set Up Factors Incorrect: The original programming of the EGM was incorrect when it was placed in service or these factors were changed incorrectly at some point after the meter was installed. Thiis includes setting it up as an incorrect transducer range or tube I. D. or incorrectly specifying included or excluded factors. 607. Bad Board: The electronics in the meter failed and no corrections wern made. This problem may be indistinguishable from missing data. 608. Dead Battery: The battery ran out of charge and the meter shut itself down for low power. No estimate was made for the time during which the meter was not recording. Upon restatting the meter, it should be recalibrated as some meters lose their calibrating during a low power time-out 609. Not Resetting Volume After Plate Change: When a plate change is made, care must be taken that the meter begins calculating wing the new plate size immediately after the meter is put back in service. Otherwise the meter may calculate for the remainder of the hour, using the new differential but the old plate size. 610. Zero Cut-Off Set Incorectly: If the zero cut-off point is set too high it will call all or part of the flow, no-flow. We believe that the tern cut-off should be set only to account for transducer drift, if that, and that other problems which cause a false differential during no flow should be corrected by zeroing them out in the office. Because most BUMS make no record of the differential during periods below the low zero cut-off, data is lost by setting it higher than absolutely nccessary 611. Meter Zeroed During Test: During most tests the EGM should be locked in to its prior reading before the manifold valves are equalized to test the meter. If the flow must be shut in during a portion of the test- the meter should be locked in at zero only for that time. Miscellaneous 501. Meter Freeze: A very common problem. Though most frequent in winter, it can occur any time the physical conditions for hydrate formation are present. These conditions may be a temperatures up to about seventy degrees. and may occur regardless of flowing temperature, since the meter manifold and leads have no flow through them. The error may be the result of incorrect estimates for the affected periods. or ofsimply failing to attribute any volume for those periods. However it is also likely that the condition was not recognized and no correction to the original erroneous volume was made when this

http://www.afms.org/scourse/97sc2.htm

08/03/2010

7:09:05 PM

Electronic Gas Measurement Audit - ...

Page 6

condition occurs on an BUM station. Without knowledge of the flowing conditions andlor a check meter. it may be impossible to determine that this condition even exists. A check meter is likely to freeze during similar time periods. but ifit is recording different from the sales meter, it indicates that a problem exists. 502. Leaks: The leak could be at the seal ring or meter or somewhere in the upstream section of the custody transfer equipment. Depending upon the site of the leak. it can remain undetected for long periods. unless them is another sounce of measurement for comparison. 503. Fluids: The meter should not have its low zero cut-off raised to account for fluids since this will have the effect of calling any low flow rate zero and it prevents themeter from recording the flow -meters during these times. Instead, any false flow created by liquids should be eliminated in the office. Also, if possible, the conditions causing liquids to become trapped in the manifold or tubing should be rectified in the field. This category represents cases in which false flow due to fluid was not zeroed out and also cases where real flow was erroneously attributed as false flow due to fluids. 505. Incorrect Estimate: These are erroneous estimates. Sometimes these were the best estimates possible with the in-formation available to the original party and sometimes false assumptions were used to make these estimates. This category shows that at least this data was reviewed and some effort was made to correct a problem. There is an all to common tendency to sul:oose that if the BUM indicates a volume, it does not need to be reviewed for measurement errors. These then are some of the areas in which to look for errors in BUM auditing. The data presented for EGM audit must enable the auditor to find these errors and make a reasonable estimate for their effect To do this, original, unedited values recorded by the SCM device should be presented in a format that will enable the auditor to review the data and make recalculations on a computer the same as the original party responsible for measurement In addition the anditor should have copies oftest reports on themeterandtheatiditingparty should witness these tests. This isa must, since now not just recording of mw data, but all of the factors involved in measurement are done in the field. The witness should also collect enough data from the field unit to venfy that any changes made to the data downstaeam are logged as being changed. The auditor should also ohtain any check meter records which pertain to the station or even line balance information ifthat is all that is available. The auditor should receive a copy of the final gas accounting statement showing the custody transfer volumes. Finally, if any changes were made between the EGM data and the final statement then the auditor should receive a description of the changes made and the reasons for those changes. There will always be errors, both simple mistakes and errors of judgment in any measurement. At first look you would expect to see many fewer errors using BUM since many areas of human judgment have been eliminated. However, this has not been our experience. The incidence of error found on SCM audits has been about the same as that found in conventional chart audits. Some of this can be attributed to the learning curve involved with using this new, more sophisticated equipment. Some, unfortunately, can be attributed to the tendency of people to think that if a computer says its right then it is and does not need to be reviewed. Computers malfunction the same as other equipment and the answer a working computer gives is only as good as its programming and data. Another reason for error which is common to all measurement departments is a lack of time to fully research a problem. The auditor will allways have the advantage of being able to spend more time on a problem to find the right answer and will usually have access to more information. These reasons, plus simple human error, insure that regardless of the technology, there will always be a need to audit.

The following is a partial outline of a typical EGM audit

http://www.afms.org/scourse/97sc2.htm

08/03/2010

7:09:05 PM

Electronic Gas Measurement Audit - ...

Page 7

1. Verify Station Set-Up Information 1. Station name 2. Station number 3. Meertype 4. How is information provided 5. Contract terms 1. Pressure and BTU base 2. Calibration Tolerance 3. Test Frequency 4. Contract day and hour 5. Calculation methodology 2. Verify receipt of data 1. Hourly History 2. Events 3. Alarms 4. Current characteristics 5. Analysis data 6. Final GM Volume Statement 7. Reconciliation report 8. Field test report(s) 9. Any other data for station 3. Check meter information 4. Verify that data meets contract terms 1. Base conditions 2. Contract day and hour 3. Test frequency 4. Calculation methodology 5. Test Report data 1. Previous test report 2. Current test report 3. Following test report 4. Any calibration adjustments required 5. Were they applied correctly? 6. Is the test frequency per contract 6. Analyze data 1. Previous analysis 2. Current analysis 3. Was it applied properly? 4. Was it a bad sample? 7. Characteristics 1. Verify current characteristics 2. Back calculate each characteristic 3. Check back calculated characteristics versus test reports and last months characteristics 4. Calculate coefficients for each characteristic and verify flow rates calculated 8. Alarm 1. Review alarm settings

http://www.afms.org/scourse/97sc2.htm

08/03/2010

7:09:05 PM

Electronic Gas Measurement Audit - ...

Page 8

2. Review alarm histories 9. Review flow data 1. Freeze 2. Liquids 3. Other 4. Is low flow cutoff set properly 5. Is plate sized properly 6. Cornpare to check meter 10. Document findings
Coastal Flow Measurement, Inc. TABLE 1 Classification of Measurement Errors for EGM Stations Code 101 102 103 104 105 106 107 Orifice Plate Reversed Out of Beta Ratio Damaged Plate Dirty Plate Plate Too Large Plate Too Small Plate Missing Subtotal Orifice Meter 204 207 208 Calibration Meter Out of Service Overranging Subtotal Data Entry Errors 403 405 408 Wrong Plate Sir Wrong Specific Gravity Reported Wrong Volume Subtotal EGM Errors 601 602 603 604 605 Bad Transducer Calibration Zero Off - Leak During Test Calculation Methodology Missing Data Data Deleted .70 .00 6.99 3.50 4.19 .70 18.18 4.19 23.07 11.89 2.80 6.99 23.68 Orifice Plate Percent .00 .00 1.40 .00 8.39 3.50 .00 13.29

http://www.afms.org/scourse/97sc2.htm

08/03/2010

7:09:05 PM

Electronic Gas Measurement Audit - ...

Page 9

606 607 608 609 610 611

Set Up Factors Incorrect Bad Board Dead Battery Not Resetting Volume After Plate Change Zero Cut-Off Set lncorrectly Meter Zeroed During Test Subtotal Miscellaneous

2.10 2.10 .00 .00 .00 .00 19.58

501 502 503 505

Meter Freeze Leaks Fluids Incorrect Estimate Subtotal Total

4.20 .00 15.38 2.80 22.38 100.00

[ Electronic Flow Measurement ] [ Gas Measurement ] [ Liquid Measurement ] [ Regulatory Issues ] [ Sampling / Chromatography ] [ Web Sites ] [ Miscellaneous ] [ News Archives ]

[ News ] [ History ] [ Contact ] [ Library ] [ Forum ] [ Search ] [ Sponsor ] 1999,98 Net-Step Media, LLC. All rights reserved. Web Design by Net-Step Media, LLC. E-mail us your thoughts or suggestions.

http://www.afms.org/scourse/97sc2.htm

08/03/2010

7:09:05 PM