Non-invasive, ultrasonic fl ow measurement is only an outsider measuring technique in the technical sense: clamp-on ultrasonic transducers are simply mounted on the outside of the pipe so they always measure from the safe side. There is no need for any pipe work when setting up a measuring point which means there is no interruption to production or supply. The non-invasive technology on the discharging pier in Wilhelmshaven has proven successful.

“At least one fi fth of the crude oil imported into Germany is measured by our FLUXUS fl owmeters “, reports Ingrid Panicke, FLEXIM’s marketing manager who looks after the oil and gas industry sector. Anyone who believes that the fl ow measurement of almost 20 million tons of crude oil per year would require a huge number of instruments is sadly mistaken: “a total of four measuring systems are enough for 20% of the crude oil supply entering Germany”, she explains: “They measure the crude oil which is handled by the docked tankers at the discharging pier of Nord-West Oelleitung GmbH in Wilhelmshaven.“

Securely Transporting Crude Oil

Nord-West Oelleitung GmbH (NWO), founded in 1956, set out to build and operate the fi rst long-range crude oil pipeline in Europe, which would serve the refi neries in the Ems and Rhine-Ruhr regions in Germany, a goal it had already achieved by 1958. Its tanker discharging pier and oil tank farm facilities located at Jade Bay, Wilhelmshaven have been part of NWO’s permanent operations ever since, as has the long-distance pipeline stretching from its North Sea tank farm in Wilhelmshaven all

the way to Wesseling, near Cologne. In addition, NWO took over the operations of a second long-range pipeline between Wilhelmshaven and Hamburg, as well as the operations of a range of subterranean cavern facilities that are connected to NWO. Crude oil from the docked tankers at the discharging pier is pumped ashore via transfer-pipelines that connect the tanker pier jetties with the tank farm. Following the handling and storage of crude oil, NWO’s core business as a service provider can then begin: this is to transport and deliver crude oil through long-range pipelines to and from a network of oil refi neries and connected caverns.

Wilhelmshaven has the only deep water harbour in Germany and NWO acts as an important hub in the handling, storing and transporting of crude oil in Germany, making the city home to one of the most important petroleum ports in the country. There are comparable European facilities in Trieste, Rotterdam and Marseilles. Since the start of operations, more than one billion tons of crude oil have fl owed from approx. 18,000 tankers to the discharging pier of Germany’s most signifi cant port for incoming crude oil. In 2014, the turnover rate was 18.6 million tons, accounting for almost 21% of the total 89.6 million tons imported to Germany.

Following the Oil’s Route

Crude oil that arrives at NWO by tanker begins its journey through NWO’s facilities at the tanker pier. This can be reached by tankers from the sea and via a 670 m access bridge from the shore. The tanker pier itself is 1207 m long and is close to the shipping channel, so that the tankers can moor at it easily and unload their cargo. For the transfer of crude oil there are extremely effi cient state-of-the-art delivery platforms on it called jetties. These have proven to possess a high standard of environmental safety and guarantee short periods of mooring for the tankers while NWO operates day and night, seven days a week.

Clamp-on ultrasonic transducers are simply mounted on the outside of the pipeline during ongoing operation.

Altogether there are three jetties with a total transfer capacity

FLUXUS F709 measuring transmitter for installation in the 19‘‘ switching cabinet

(turnover rate) of 40,000 cubic metres per hour. This capacity is divided between two jetties which can be used to transfer 12,000 m³/h of crude oil and one large jetty, which can deliver the crude oil at a rate of 16,000 m³/h. The tankers pump the oil ashore using the ship’s on-board pumps via the jetties with their marine loading arms and into NWO’s storage tanks, meaning that the actual rate of delivery depends on the capacity of the respective tanker’s pumps.

As a rule, the bigger a tanker is, the higher the capacity of its pumps, meaning that the average unloading time of around 24 hours is hardly ever exceeded, even in the case of large tankers.

Safety and Effi ciency

For safety reasons, a fi xed fl ow rate per pipeline should not be exceeded and, for this reason, the unloading process must be monitored using fl owmeters. In addition to that, by measuring the turnover rate, the ship’s on-board pumps can be controlled so that the equipment and process run as effi ciently as possible. Last but not least, fl ow measurements allow for an initial recording of pumped crude oil quantities. The fi scally relevant quantity is


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