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Multiphase Flow Meters vs. Virtual Flow Meters

Multiphase Flow Meter

A multiphase flow meter is a measurement device with a predefined sensor configuration. The meter does not measure the individual phase flow rates explicitly. Rather, it estimates the flow rates based on knowledge about the device geometry, sensor configuration, and fluid properties. This is achieved by a device-specific flow computer. For optimal performance, the flow computer must be calibrated periodically to ensure that it correctly reflects the current conditions.

Virtual Flow Meter

A virtual flow meter is a software solution which relies on already existing sensors. Where the flow computer in an MPFM models the device installed, a VFM models the well itself. Further, where the MPFM consumes sensor data from its built-in sensors, the VFM consumes data from any existing sensors. Thus, with information about the well, its completion, its sensor configuration, and fluid properties, the VFM can be viewed as a flexible flow computer. Similar to an MPFM, the VFM requires periodic calibration for optimal performance.

FLUX VFM

FLUX VFM is a hybrid technology delivered by Turbulent Flux which combines physics-based modeling with machine learning. The solution is self-adjusting and utilizes available sensor and reference data to maintain the highest level of accuracy at all times.

FLUX Virtual Flow Meter Architecture
FLUX VFM Architecture

Data Availability for Best Performance

  • FLUX VFM can be assessed for any sensor configuration.
  • A sensor configuration with downhole pressure & temperature, wellhead pressure & temperature, pressure drop over the production choke, and reference flow rate measurements are recommended for optimal self-calibration.

Additional Insights

  • Scenario capability: plan future operations, e.g. well shut-in / start-up procedures; investigate past events
  • Synthetic sensors: data where no sensor is available, e.g. flowing bottom hole pressure at the reservoir contact

FLUX VFM vs. MPFM

Where a multiphase flow meter provides the flow rates through the device now, FLUX VFM can deliver flow rates at any location in the well both now and in the near future. Furthermore, FLUX VFM can be extended to offer operational support and address the impact of changing operation conditions.

In contrast to an MPFM which requires periodic, manual calibration to stay performant, a key differentiator for FLUX VFM is its self-adjusting capability. FLUX VFM continuously consumes available data and automatically recalibrates without human intervention – a very cost-effective means to ensure always valid flow rates.

An MPFM relies on its internal sensors to deliver flow rates for a predefined phase composition validity range. FLUX VFM is a flexible software solution which can address any phase composition. Furthermore, if a sensor fails, FLUX VFM can easily be re-configured and continue to deliver flow rates.

Finally, while an MPFM is a substantial investment with long delivery lead-time, FLUX VFM is quick to deploy and offered on a monthly subscription basis. Thus, FLUX VFM offers a cost-effective and reliable means to attain individual well rates throughout the life of an asset.

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