Leading industrial technology specialist Tracerco, part of the Johnson Matthey group, is celebrating the 10th anniversary of its groundbreaking Profiler™ technology, which has revolutionised separator level measurement and control within the oil, gas and petrochemical industries.
Providing unparalleled insight and reliability, widespread acceptance of the technology and advances in the oil and gas industry mean that the Profiler is expected to play a significant part in developments for many years to come.
Almost 300 TRACERCO Profilers™ have now been deployed by major operators in the world's leading oil and gas producing regions. Originally intended for topside operations, the Profiler™ is now used in some of the most challenging and diverse applications including Deepwater Seabed Processing, on Floating Production Units, at Onshore Refineries in high temperature desalter vessels, in onshore Oil Sands in Canada and in LNG/Gas plants.
The Profiler™ is a unique instrument. It measures accurately, in real time and high resolution, the vertical distribution of all phases within multi phase vessels. This information gives operators the means and confidence to realise maximum benefits from their process including optimising throughput, cutting chemical costs, eliminating maintenance and the additional benefit of keeping a clear environmental record. The Profiler's ability to give a clear picture of activity within the separator vessel has led to it being labelled as "the sat nav of separation"
By contrast, conventional separator instruments were designed to give a single point measurement, not a profile. Conventional instrumentation cannot accurately measure sand, emulsion or foam and incorrect levels of these can lead to problems in the outlet and discharge phase, affecting the efficiency of a vessel.
"The major oil producing companies told us that they wanted to see precisely what was happening inside separator vessels and we responded by designing the greatest advance in separator measurement and control in 50 years."
"The Profiler™ is the only instrument of its kind. It is the next best thing to having a glass vessel where you can see all of the contents," said Tracerco Managing Director Andy Hurst.
"But the Profiler™ provides much more than a series of outputs that relate to the various phase elevations, it provides a complete picture of what is happening within a vessel and delivers this using the most reliable, information rich technology available. Designed and built to the highest safety and integrity standards, the Profiler™ has the benefit of being able to accommodate SIL2 trip and shutdown requirements whilst also providing accurate level and interface visualisation. Advances in control systems have allowed remote connectivity, the ability to replay process events and for operators to visualise separation performance and behaviour.
"We see several growing markets for the Profiler™ in future," said Mr Hurst "One of the big questions yet to be answered by the industry is to what extent separation will take place in sub-sea locations. If multi-phase separation is to develop in this area then nucleonic profiling technology, with no direct contact with the process and no moving parts, is the best available technology. "Oil exploration into deeper waters means that heavier, more viscous crudes, are discovered. Equipment like the Profiler™ , which does not come into contact with this process and has no mechanical parts to suffer wear and tear, aligned with its ability to reliably identify all possible phases, is seen by operators as the best way forward and has become the industry standard."
A series of seminars headlining the Profiler™ are to be held at Tracerco bases including in the UK, China, Brazil, US, Middle East, South East Asia, and Scandinavia.
"The Profiler™ is evolving. From its original starting point, it is now used in a number of different application areas and will continue to be modified to meet the needs of the market," said Mr Hurst.