Multiphase flow metering is considered one of the most essential technologies in well testing. Since the mid 1990's, Multiphase Flow Meters (MPFM) have evolved from a revolutionary new technology into a consolidated solution widely adopted by the major operators worldwide. This evolution has taken place thanks to the high quality of measurements, low operational cost and the capability of enabling remote monitoring of wells' performance and testing with ease.

The installed MPFMs in Northern fields of Saudi Aramco have contributed effectively to enhancing the semi-real time measurements' quality as well as improving reservoir characterization. Though, MPFMs are prone to mechanical and firmware failures. The MPFM technology largely seems to be performing as expected and delivering high quality data. So far, 58% of the systems have been in service for more than 8 years and continuing to operate efficiently.

Thorough analysis of the routine maintenance and checkups conducted during the past 10 years revealed the following:

  • The MPFMs Mean Time between Failure (MTBF) and Mean Time to Repair (MTTR) indicated that the MPFMs have been available 97% of the time.

  • The use of a probabilistic approach (Monte-Carlo™ Simulation) to study the P10, P50 and P90 values of the maintained MPFMs indicated that the variance between these values is small, demonstrating the reliability of these equipment.

  • The classification of the diverse types of problems faced while operating the MPFMs highlighted the dominant cause of failures and enabled the initiation of a surveillance and subsequent failure mitigation program.

This paper discusses the lessons learnt and experience gained from operating 168 MPFMs provided by different vendors in different environments during a 10-year period, along with the appropriate solutions that were implemented to mitigate the challenges faced and subsequently improve the efficiency and data quality of the MPFM.

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