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Title: Ultrasonic Meter Condition Based Monitoring - A Fully Automated Solution
Author: George Kneisley John Lansing Toralf Dietz
Source: 2009 North Sea Flow Measurement Workshop
Year Published: 2009
Abstract: The customer requires a fiscal meter that measures with highest reliability within the required accuracy limits throughout the life time. Whenever this requirement isnt fulfilled due to changed process/flow conditions or changes to the meter, the user needs to be warned in real-time. To ensure such warning, the diagnosis parameters implemented into modern ultrasonic flow meter can be useful. Since the introduction of the global diagnosis concept major improvements in diagnosing a USM have been achieved. This requires a thorough understanding of the meters operation and also understanding what normal, and non-normal responses of all diagnostic parameters are in order to insure proper operation. The automated diagnostics will monitor, and alarm, on all important parameters such as Profile Factor, Symmetry, SNR, Turbulence, etc. These warnings are today an important factor for driving the condition based maintenance of the installation. Additionally, it is very important to have a long-term history of these diagnostics in order to properly determine if a meter is still operating accurately. Beside this features inherent to every ultrasonic flow meter with a multiple number of paths additional concepts to compare measurements directly exist. Two main concepts can be realised - permanent serial metering with two independent fiscal meters or with a combination of a fiscal and a check meter, introduced by TransCanada Pipeline (TCPL) several years ago. This concept involves using a single path USM downstream of the fiscal multipath meter. Papers have shown that single path USM meters are significantly affected by abnormal measurement conditions such as flow conditioner blockage, pipeline contamination from oil and mill scale, and any other change in operation that impacts accuracy. Since the single path meter has significantly more sensitivity, comparing the uncorrected readings of both meters provides a simple solution for determining if the fiscal meter is still operating accurately. If both are in agreement, then measurement must be OK. Should the two meters deviate, then more than likely there is some condition which might impact the accuracy of the fiscal meter. This paper will discuss the results and benefits in terms of reliability and economic impact of the TCPL-method installed in various field applications. Data will be presented on dirty vs. clean meters to show that the single path meter shifts significantly in a dirty environment while the 4-path custody meter is relatively insensitive to this.

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