MechChem Africa

Following the commissioning and construction of the KISS mobile measurement station for Shell’s reservoirs on the coast of Holland, the station’s successor, KISS Next, enabled by the SICK FLOWSIC600 ultrasonic gas flow meter, is adding new features for stable gas volume measurement. 

Shell’s plants off the coast of Holland pump gas from 5 000 m below the surface for either internal processing or for direct sale to customers. As such, it is crucial that gas flow is measured accurately, even in the event of widely fluctuating pressures. Another consideration is the varied quality of untreated gas which, depending on the deposit, may contain water and condensate, sand and dirt – and its temperature can fluctuate from anywhere between -20 to 115 °C.

SICk Automation KISS Next Shell Flowsic600When it comes to measuring gas, the bar has been set high, which creates challenges and imposes conditions – on the measuring device, on the technology, and on installation and maintenance. The KISS and KISS Next measurement project, therefore, is not just attractive for Shell, one of the largest oil and natural gas companies in the world, but it is important to meet the Dutch government’s energy policy as well as that of gas producers worldwide.

Dutch natural gas

In the Netherlands, natural gas is accounts for nearly half of the total energy mix. As we enter a new era in terms of energy, an intelligent approach to gas production is crucial. Even small gas fields can support the Dutch government’s energy policy.

“Economical production is a fundamental requirement for this. This includes lowering costs, using new technologies and taking ad- vantage of infrastructure,” explains Ying Tang, metering engineer at Shell in conversation with Jörg Wenzel, head of product marketing services at SICK.

Keep it simple and smart – that’s KISS – a compact and mobile gas system, approximately 12 m long, 2.0 m wide, and 2.0 m high, that is ideal for small gas fields. SICK launched KISS in 2004. In doing so, the goal was achieved: to design an innovative type of technology for extracting natural gas in small fields – in a simple, standardised and automated manner, with reduced production, commissioning and project costs.

If a well dries up, KISS is loaded onto the truck and transported to another well. The practical construction and installation also simplifies the entire process, from planning right through to delivery. Positioned on the well, KISS has plug-and-play functionality, meaning it can be quickly and directly connected to control centres. The gas flow is controlled and the pressure and temperature are monitored from there.

Why KISS Next? “When you’ve launched something new on the market, you want to keep perfecting it. Optimising the gas flow measurement was crucial as the gas flow meter is one of the main components in KISS Next,” says Tang.

The differential pressure measurement used previously with Venturi was too restrictive when it came to the flow range. As a result, different designs were required and this often resulted in con- version work – while also having to cope with fluctuating flows, Tang explains. “In the end, the installation conditions meant that the overall design of the Venturi was too large and costly. We had to find a feasible solution that was fit for purpose. That is now the FLOWSIC600,” he says. 

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