Automation system integrators and main automation contractors are subject to the needs of clients and the pressures that drive projects. Sometimes these pose interesting challenges, as Emerson and engineering firm Wood discovered.
Putting all the design work together for a new offshore production platform is no trivial task under the best circumstances, but when the client puts a project on hold after most of the design work is done and then decides to make major revisions, things can get very complicated. My colleagues and I told this particular success story at Emerson Exchange in 2018 and then again in an article in World Oil, November 2018, Versatile DP Flow Metering Technology Solves Redesign Challenges on Offshore Platform Project. Here’s how it started:
In May 2017, Wood received a call from a client wanting to restart work on a major offshore wellhead platform project that had been suspended in 2014. Some of the engineers, who had carried out the original work, were still available, but mostly the project team was new and had to restart from the original notes, specifications and drawings. Much of the piping and instrumentation layout work had been completed, but a request from the client meant it had to be re-opened.
The client in this case wanted to change the flow metering technologies used throughout the platform to a single choice: differential pressure (DP) flow meters. Normally this would be fine since Emerson offers a large range of these products in all shapes and sizes, and they work very well. The problem related to the piping, which was not designed with this technology in mind. DP flow meters in their traditional configuration require long runs of straight pipe upstream and downstream of the meter installation, often difficult or impossible to accommodate in the cramped confines of an offshore platform.
Wood engineers consulted with Laurentide Controls, a local Emerson Impact Partner serving the client, to find a practical alternative to conventional DP flow meters. The solution had to fit into the existing piping layouts, while still delivering accurate and reliable measurement performance. Conventional single-hole orifice plates, as the primary element, could be mounted between standard flanges to minimize the overall size, but the meter run requirement would be too long. Laurentide suggested replacing the conventional plates with conditioning orifice plates to reduce the straight run piping requirements.
Emerson’s Rosemount Conditioning Orifice Plate technology solved the bulk of the problems for this project. It is engineered for enhanced measurement accuracy and requires a straight pipe run of only two pipe diameters upstream and downstream, thereby providing a significant reduction in piping requirements. With drop-in replacement capabilities and a wide range of flow meter assembly options, this solution offers flexible and simple installation and can be applied to a variety of applications.
There were other challenges encountered, which the article addresses, including one where a single flow meter had to perform across a wide turn-down range with a very high degree of accuracy across the board. The Daniel Senior Dual-Chamber Orifice Fitting provided a critical solution since it allows operators to change the primary element without breaking any piping.
Emerson Exchange is a great place to hear success stories like this and interact with users from a variety of industries. Until the next gathering, you can find more information like this and meet virtually with other people looking at the same kinds of situations in the Emerson Exchange 365 community. It’s a place where you can communicate and exchange information with experts and peers in all sorts of industries around the world. Look for the DP Flow Group and other specialty areas for suggestions and answers.
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