There are many in our industry who would consider the advancement of the ultrasonic meter to be one of the most important improvements in gas measurement in the past twenty years. It is my opinion that the immense improvement in gas measurement is not so much the ultrasonic meter itself. Instead, I believe it is the meter’s ability to detect conditions that would compromise its own accuracy and ability to communicate those conditions to the user. It is in the area of communicating those conditions, that we often under-utilize the meters capabilities.
The natural gas pipeline industry has seen tremendous changes in the past twenty years, including a smaller multi- skilled workforce. The reality of today’s pipeline workforce is fewer technicians performing a wider range of tasks. Much of their measurement work is performed with less frequency, and on more complex equipment than ever before. Gaining the proficiency needed to recognize and troubleshoot ultrasonic meter problems, requires time and experience to learn. By bringing the meter’s diagnostic data into our SCADA system, we can provide alarms and trending capabilities that are not dependent on the frequency at which a Technician can visit a measurement facility. Furthermore, it is not dependent on whether a Technician has the necessary expertise to recognize potential meter problems.