Research in multiphase measurement has been accelerating over the last few years. The reasons for this interest level are primarily economic in nature. It has been estimated that more than 50% of the world's proven reserves of oil and gas are located in water depths greater than 1000 feet. These water depths demand innovative and economical developments, in order for projects to be viable. Some of the more promising methods for economical production in deep water include multiphase measurement, especially in conjunction with multiphase pumping. Subsea production, measurement and transportation to shore or to an existing platform may allow more efficient and less costly processing, thus minimizing platform costs. On some projects, it may be possible to eliminate separation equipment and test lines which will result in tremendous economic savings. This paper will explore the advantages of multiphase measurement, methods utilized for multiphase measurement to date, research to date, and projected future research.
What Is Multiphase Measurement?
Technically, multiphase means a single component existing in a variety of phases, such as steam, water, and ice. In the oil patch, multiphase refers to a stream of fluid containing a liquid hydrocarbon phase (crude or condensate), a gaseous phase (natural gas, light hydrocarbon, and nonhydrocarbon gases), a produced water phase, and a solids phase (sand, wax, or hydrates). In general, the quantities of solids produced are minimal and thus have less of an impact than the liquid and gas phases.