ProlabNL has recently upgraded its HP multiphase flow loop in order to allow testing of (subsea) multiphase flowmeters at realistic conditions. The upgrades consist of new low flow reference flow metering lines in parallel to the existing high flow reference liquid and gas metering runs, additional temperature and pressure instrumentation and a dedicated area for testing multiphase flow meters. Furthermore the data acquisition system was upgraded to be able to log more than 500 signals every second. With the completed upgrades the facility is now able to pump and accurately measure liquid flow rates from 15 to 40.000 bpd (0.1 to 265 m3/hr) and gas flow rates from 10 to 1200 actual m3/hr.

Multiphase flow meters are increasingly used by operators for both topside and subsea field applications, there is however limited test data available of this still maturing technology operating in actual live hydrocarbon conditions and sufficiently large scales which makes it difficult for operators to estimate performance under actual conditions. Given the economic impact of measurement uncertainties over large measured volumes the accuracy of multiphase flow meters is critical for oil & gas operators and more sophisticated test facilities are needed to properly characterize the MPFM technology at real conditions and scale.

The ProlabNL flow loop operates with live hydrocarbons (natural gas and crude oil) and salt water up to pressures of 70 barg. In the facility (subsea) multiphase flow meters can be tested at full scale conditions with actual process fluids at similar pressures as seen in field applications. This approach prevents the extrapolation of test results obtained from small scale testing into performance predictions for large scale field applications which often leads to considerable errors in the estimated performance for a full scale multiphase flow meter.

With the new upgraded facility ProlabNL intends to assist to further unlock the potential of this technology by offering manufacturers and operators a state of the art, independent test facility where multiphase flow meters can be tested at process conditions similar to those in the field. The upgraded facility has in the last 6 month already been extensively used for testing of multiphase flow meters for operators BP, ExxonMobil and Statoil.

For further information or questions related to this press release please contact Toine Hendriks or Ewout Barents from ProlabNL.