One of the world’s largest oil and natural gas exploration and production companies was using a competitor’s thermal mass flow meter in a flare gas application. The meter’s fragile sensor was frequently damaged during upset flow conditions, and the company challenged Sage Metering to solve the problem. Sage Metering developed a new sensor and probe that resolved this client’s problem.
Challenge: Measuring Flare Gas in Upset Conditions
We use flare gas systems to burn off waste gases and dispose of surplus gases, which protects people, the environment, and equipment. Measuring and monitoring flare gas are necessary to assure the flare system is functioning properly. Additionally, environmental regulations often require measurement of flare gas emissions. There are some inherent challenges, however, associated with determining flare gas flow, one of which is extreme flow variation. We discuss these problems at length in our white paper, Flare Gas Measurement Using Sage Thermal Mass Flow Meters.
A major oil and gas producer had been using a competitor’s thermal mass flow meter to determine flow in a facility’s flare header. During upset flow conditions, at high gas flow rates, however, the sensor of the meter was frequently damaged. We speculate that during upset conditions either the presence of ice in the flare line, or debris build up inside the pipe loosened, broke off, damaging the fragile ½ inch flow sensor probe.
Solution: Heavy-duty ¾” Sensor & Probe
This gas producer is also a customer of Sage Metering and challenged us with this problem. Clearly, the competitor’s ½ inch flow sensor was not durable enough to sustain the harsh conditions of the flare gas system.
A team of Sage Metering engineers set out to develop a heavy-duty sensor probe designed to work in harsh industrial environments such as the client’s flare application. What emerged was a fast responding ¾ inch diameter sensor and probe. The Sage sensors are resistance temperature detectors (RTDs), consisting of extremely durable reference-grade platinum windings housed in a protective 316 SS sheath.
Sage Prime Thermal Mass Flow Meter
The Sage Prime with the new ¾” sensor and probe was installed at the client’s location. Since the installation, through several upset events, the Sage meter has performed well and solved the customer’s problem in high flow and similar adverse conditions. Even under upset conditions the Sage heavy-duty probe and sensor withstood damage.
Sage meters are factory calibrated and configured for specific applications. They are easy to install directly into the pipe without the need for field set-up and calibration. Sage offers insertion as well as in-line meters, with built-in flow conditioners. These direct mass flow meters are highly accurate and repeatable and have a negligible pressure drop.
The Sage meter has extraordinary rangeability of 1000 to 1. Because of its low-end sensitivity and wide turndown, the meter accurately measures down to 5 SFPM, making it extremely useful in flare applications as it can measure the low flow in typical venting, as well as high flows associated with upset conditions. The meter provides 4 – 20 mA and pulsed output with Modbus compliant RS485 RTU communications. The Sage meters feature clear graphical displays of flow rate, totalized flow and gas temperature, with continuous diagnostics. For difficult to reach pipes or locations with intense radiant heat, a remote style meter offers up to 1000 feet of lead length compensation between the sensor and transmitter.
With the installation of the Sage meter with the ¾ inch probe and sensor, the client can now measure and monitor flare gas at this facility even under upset conditions, which helps keep their facility safe and comply with environmental regulations.
If you have a challenging flow application and would like some Sage advice, email Jorge[at]SageMetering.com or call us today at (866) 677-7243.