Sensor calibration for the oil and gas industry

Sensor calibration for the oil and gas industry

Increase turnover with high accuracy tank gauging systems

In the oil and gas industry, high accuracy measurements are critical in both tank gauging and custody transfers. Since accurate measurements and valuations have a great and positive influence on refineries’ turnover, the demand for sensor calibration is increasing.

Errors and imprecision in temperature measurements create uncertainty about the content volume in tanks. This affects the precise accounting of transactions when substances are transported from one operator to another – influencing the businesses of both the selling company and the recipient. Being a finite resource, oil is a high-value product. Inaccurate measurements could lead to wrong valuations, causing significant revenue losses.

There is no reason not to have a tank gauging system with the most accurate sensors. The refineries need to know exactly how much oil they are selling and buying. The financial benefits are enormous.

Max Jensen Global Sales Director, Sensor - Senmatic A/S

Besides valuation challenges, imprecise measurements entail a potential safety risk when gas is transported in the marine industry. Temperature variations can lead to gas seeking downwards, creating explosion risks. To avoid imprecise measurements and unstable temperatures in oil and gas tanks, the industry needs reliable and efficient sensor calibration.

How calibrated sensors impact tank gauging   

Calibration basically means comparing measurement values. The measured values of a given sensor are compared with those of a calibration standard of known accuracy. This ensures a greater precision and removes uncertainty in tank gauging.

In tank gauging systems, the content of a tank is measured through single entry temperature sensors with up to 16 measurement spots throughout the tank. Land-based tanks need a minimum of six measurement spots. On the basis of the tank gauging measurements, the valuation and pricing of the content is established. Precise valuations are vital, especially when trading oil. The oil industry has a high influence on the world’s resource inventory, and the scarcity of oil makes it absolutely critical to obtain high levels of accuracy when determining volume and value.

Besides temperature, it is important to be able to measure the tank water level. In oil tanks, a certain percentage of the content will consist of water, below the oil. Temperature sensors with integrated water level sensors will be able to determine the level of water. The water can then be drained thereby increasing the amount of oil that can be stored within the tank and later sold.

Higher accuracy equals lower uncertainty

All measurements hold an uncertainty. However, compared to regular sensors properly calibrated sensors make it possible to achieve much higher accuracy. Regular sensors without calibration do not necessarily cause imprecise measurements, but the uncertainty of the net standard volume is higher. The schedule below illustrates how measurements with calibrated sensors are close to ten times more accurate than without calibration, entailing a more precise valuation and the possibility of increased turnover for refineries. The decision to purchase a calibrated sensor versus a regular sensor depends on how much uncertainty a refinery is willing to accept.

How we ensure the highest level of accuracy, reliability and flexibility

At Senmatic’s in-house calibration plant, we use advanced technology to ensure the highest level of accuracy, reliability and flexibility. Our sensors are placed in four different calibration vessels, which contain four different, known temperatures. The sensors’ measurement values are compared to the temperatures of the vessels, giving our experts data about the sensors’ accurate measurement values. These values can then be used in our customers’ tank management systems. The parameters of the calibration are loaded into the sensors, which are later installed in the tanks.

The superior accuracy of our calibrated sensors creates the best possible conditions for our customers’ businesses – and no two sensors are the same. We customize our sensors to make sure their accuracy and measurements fit the specific assignment and needs of our customers.

Max Jensen Global Sales Director, Sensor - Senmatic A/S

As leading specialists in industrial sensor solutions, we offer temperature sensors with integrated water level sensors for both marine and land-based tanks. See our wide selection of sensor types or contact us today.

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