With the proliferation of horizontal drilling allowing access to tight oil formations, liquid production in the U.S. has significantly increased over recent years. Consequently, there is renewed interest in accurate measurements for both custody transfer and allocation purposes. Advances in measurement automation have yielded operators’ savings in the millions of dollars annually.
Over the last several years, the increase of shale play drilling has created a problem within the industry. Most of the shale plays have been developed in primarily natural gas production areas, where a lack of liquids measurement knowledge may exist. While there certainly are knowledgeable people in these areas, measurement personnel can be spread thin due to the many active drill sites. Both allocation measurement and custody transfer measurement occur in these areas, so measurement personnel must be well versed on both. Typical questions that come up are: What is the right technology to use in each of the areas of measurement? Should I use turbine meters, Coriolis meters, or maybe just orifice meters? What data do I need to get back to my host system? Should I just count barrels or do I want to get some real insight into the process?