How to Accurately Measure Natural Gas Outputs


When you are measuring a natural gas application, it’s a good idea to use an ultrasonic flowmeter. Ultrasonic flowmeters can give you better performance, lower capital costs, lower ownership costs, and greater reliability. They have an advantage over mechanical meters.

The industry surrounding natural gas is the key segment of a multitude of different economies all over the globe. The consumption of natural gas energy is expected to reach 23% of the total energy consumption globally by 2040. Natural gas is the fastest-growing form of fuel, with its use rising at rates of approximately 1.7% every year from 2010 to 2014. Globally, people are expected to consume a staggering 820 quadrillion Btu of natural gas.

This growth is important to the oil and gas industry. Unconventional gas production, paired with the use of conventional resources, has led to a critically important role regarding metering. When you use flow metering, you’re able to quantify the movement of natural gas from its initial wellhead to the point of the generated flame.

Companies that deal with the natural gas industry are dealing with a critical operational demand. Accurate flow metering technology is required for the measurement and analysis of the volume and quality of natural gas. The industry gives two categories to its meters: Traditional meters; and New Technologies. This categorization is relative and based in historical timelines that span several centuries of technology.

Traditional measurement devices for flow can sometimes be unreliable. They’re also expensive both to install and to maintain long-term. This is why the new technologies were developed in the first place.

One of the new technologies is called ultrasound-based measurement of flow. When natural gas processes have abrasive gases, corrosive gases, or wet or dry gases, an ultrasonic measuring device has an advantage over a traditional device. This is also true regarding natural gases that need to have a bi-directional measurement done.

Ultrasound technology is used in a huge variety of areas of our lives. It’s a key component of security, industrial, navigational, and electronic applications. It’s also used in the medical field to view a patient’s internal organs. Audible sounds surround us every day.

Metering has existed for several centuries, but ultrasound techniques have been utilized only in recent decades. There are records dating back as early as the 1930s that show proof that Doppler techniques were used. Around 1970, people began to employ time-transit methods.

Over the past thirty years or so, ultrasonic meters have gone from engineering laboratories to wider commercial use. They’re considered the go-to device for the measurement of gas volume when fiscal accounting is being done. Metering path arrangements are significantly different depending on the manufacturer and design that you use, but the underlying principles of the ultrasound technology are the same.

Scientists have published standards for the accuracy and efficiency of their meters. These studies and standards help to increase the confidence of people who use a particularly developed metering technology. The most influential example of this regarding ultrasound technology is the report made by the American Gas Association (Report Number 9.4). As new technologies for metering develop, the demand for impartially set standards increases exponentially.

The standards will be updated occasionally in order to better reflect the market developments regarding the technology. Rigorous testing is done at all levels of the ultrasound testing and technology deployment, from the manufacturing to the end-user experience.

Ultrasonic flowmeters are used by gas companies because of these pros:

  • Reliable measurements
  • Repeatable measurements
  • Increased capacity
  • Increased range
  • Low necessity for maintenance
  • Surpasses industry standards for accurate measurement
  • Condition Based Monitoring completed online in real time

One of the key advantages is that once an ultrasonic meter has its flow calibrated, it’s possible to use diagnostic assessments to describe the performance of the device. This means that frequent re-calibration isn’t often required. That said, there are certain regulatory authorities that mandate the re-certification of these tools at predetermined intervals. Mandates vary depending on your local and state jurisdiction.

Transit-time ultrasonic meters are a type of meter that depend upon the transmission and recognition of sonic pulses through precise geometry and timing measurements.