Oil & gas

increasing precision in custody transfer

ABB’s Flow-X flow computer module has obtained Class 1 Division 2 and ATEX/IECEx Zone 2 certification for highly accurate measurement in mid- and downstream oil and gas, even in the harshest of conditions.


ccurate measurement is crucial to custody transfer. Minor errors can potentially create high financial impact, but precision can be hard to maintain when operating in harsh field conditions. In

response to this challenge, the ABB Flow-X gas and liquid flow computer has been improved to meet the Class 1 Division 2 and ATEX/IECEx Zone 2 certification, which extends operating temperature range from -40°C to +75°C with five per cent to 95 per cent humidity.

Its analogue inputs provide unmatched accuracy of 0.008 per cent and

make the Flow-X series a high-accuracy flow computer for hazardous areas that complies with the most stringent standards for custody transfer and legal metrology for the control room and the field. Flow-X is also the most versatile and cost-effective automation platform

used for measurement and control of gas and liquid pipelines, LACT units, and truck and rail loading and offloading systems. Its complete control functionality eliminates the need for any programming, an additional PLC or a sampler controller. Besides the typical proving, batching and PID control functions, Flow- X also provides configurable valve, sampler, LACT and liquid (un)loading control. It does not require additional purging, Ex enclosures or junction boxes. With reliability being one of the top priorities, the entire Flow-X series

provides a secure and stable solution for legal metrology. Rigorously tested for immunity for radiated and conducted electro-mechanical disturbances, it also incorporates role-based access control and secure communication to prevent unauthorised access and data tampering. Ease of use comes with a multi-lingual user interface with a guided setup

and configuration of the flow metering system. Its traceability is fully compliant with API MPMS Chapters 21.1 and 21.2, including as-found/as-left verifications.

ABB Protecting hazardous areas from corrosion

equipment approvals. Certification facilitated the delivery of an intrinsically safe cathodic protection (CP) system with remote monitoring and testing to help combat corrosion at NSW Port’s Bulk Liquid Berth 1 (BLB1) site in Sydney Harbour, where there is the potential for exposure to volatile, flammable substances. In 2019, NSW Ports embarked on a two-year programme to


rehabilitate concrete structures and combat corrosion levels at BLB1 using a CP system. This was a challenging endeavour because BLB1 plays an active role in loading and unloading hazardous liquids and gases, meaning any excess voltage or current could become an ignition source for a major explosion. To overcome this, the consultants engaged Omniflex, who assisted with designing an intrinsically safe, remotely monitored hybrid CP system that could protect critical infrastructure at the port from corrosion. The system allowed hybrid CP anodes to be charged during the impressed current phase and monitored during the galvanic phase, with loading and unloading of hazardous gases at the site continuing normally. “Because this was the first project to use a hybrid CP system in a

hazardous area on this scale anywhere in the world, some of the components required certification for the design to meet the necessary standards as an intrinsically safe certified system,” explains David Celine, managing director of Omniflex. “The system used a network of 35,000 hybrid anodes expressly for the purpose of creating current, which created


emote monitoring specialist Omniflex has gained IECEx certification to manufacture intrinsically safe electrical equipment for the global market, supplementing its existing hazardous area

a new use case that wasn’t covered in the existing documentation.” The IECEx international standard

governs the installation and use of electrical equipment in explosive atmospheres — all equipment located in hazardous areas must comply. However, getting approval can be complicated when working across different countries, as they each have their own interpretations of the testing and documentation required. “Because the anodes were from a UK-based supplier, Omniflex’s

technology is manufactured in South Africa and the project site is in Australia, navigating certifying bodies was challenging,” continues Celine. “Furthermore, IECEx certification requires all equipment made for use in the hazardous area to be manufactured at a facility that is itself certified as being IECEx compliant. This meant that Omniflex’s factory in Durban needed this approval too.” “Despite the hurdles, both Omniflex’s factory and the BLB1 system

design was approved and certified as being intrinsically safe for use in areas classified as Zone 1 hazardous for gas group IIB. This enabled us to deliver the project as planned and put a system in place to protect structures at the port from corrosion for the next 50 years,” concludes Celine.

Omniflex March 2021 Instrumentation Monthly

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