Oil and gas companies will come under increasing pressure to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) they release into the atmosphere when strict new laws are introduced next month (January). Fines imposed by the European Union as part of the second phase of its emissions trading scheme (EU ETS) will more than double from €40 to €100 per tonne of CO2 released over operator's allocated amount.
From 1 January 2008, companies will have to keep to stringent CO2 emissions limits and also prove the accuracy of the equipment that they use to measure their CO2 output. This could cost companies a significant amount in shutdown time and logistical costs with gas flow meters being sent to an onshore facility to be tested.
Specialist flow measurement company, Tracerco, based in Aberdeen has launched unique technology which could save companies more than £50,000 per installation, in direct costs associated with calibration. Part of its Precision Diagnostics suite of services, the technique allows the uncertainty value of flare flows to be tested in-situ on an installation and so removes the logistical costs involved with sending the meter to an on-shore facility, reduces the time flare systems are shut down and also limits safety concerns by removing the need for the meter to be manually removed.
Raymond Lovie, Business Manager at Tracerco, said: “The emissions legislation could have a huge impact on the oil and gas sector and it's vital that companies are prepared for it. We've used our extensive experience in improving pipeline flow to develop a system that will accurately check the flow of gas in-situ without the need for equipment to be removed.
“By adding a tracer to gas that flows through the meter, our engineers can accurately measure its volume by time of flight and provide essential information to companies to ensure they comply with the new regulations. Our system is more accurate than others that are currently available because the tracer is not affected by any impurities that might be in the pipeline such as oil or water droplets.”
Previously, the meter would have to be transferred from the installation to a laboratory onshore where it is calibrated. Where the Tracerco technology differs is that a tracer is injected directly into the gas, in-situ and the speed at which it flows through the system is measured to give a much more accurate reading.
When the introduction of the legislation was first announced there were concerns that the energy industry would wait to see if the rules would be enforced. However, in recent months the sector has actively sought advice on the issue.
Mr Lovie added: “Initially there was some reluctance among oil and gas companies to proactively invest in monitoring equipment. However, the significance of the legislation cannot be underestimated and we have seen a dramatic increase in the number of organisations looking for the most effective ways to monitor the uncertainty of their emissions levels. We have even had circumstances where we are calibrating flows that do not have installed metering and occasions where we are being asked to monitor provide uncertainty measurements for produced water”
Tracerco, part of the Johnson Matthey Group, works with some of the world's leading operators, including BP, Total, Halliburton and ConocoPhillips, providing them with advice and expertise to ensure the flow of oil and gas through their pipelines remains as effective as possible.