Custom flowmeter manufacturer Litre Meter has supplied a new GOST-certified VFF positive displacement flowmeter for installation on the Orlan Platform, on Sakhalin Island in Russia.

Production capacity on the Orlan platform has been increased so additional equipment was required. This latest contract is in addition to the 16 VFF meters previously supplied and had to be GOST-certified to comply with Russian import legislation.

GOST certification is the standards certification that applies to Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Georgia and Turkmenistan. It is similar to ISO9000, which is not recognised in much of Eastern Europe. It develops stringent safety standards for flow meters intended for use in Russia.

Litre Meter’s VFF instrument complies with these standards and helps to minimise production costs by accurately measuring the flow of corrosion inhibitor that is added to crude oil. If too much is used it needs to be removed when the oil is refined – and this can cost nearly 10% of the price of a barrel of oil.

These chemicals are also expensive. Typically 30% of the running costs of an oil rig are associated with the chemicals used to pre-treat crude oil before it is pumped shore side. The VFF flowmeters measure the flow of the inhibitor chemical to an accuracy of 0.5%, making it possible to control its use to a very high tolerance.

The corrosion inhibitor is added to the crude oil at rates of between zero and 25l/hr through 2in diameter ANSI 2500 RTJ flanges. It has a maximum viscosity of 285cPs at the minimum operating temperature of -45°C. The combination of low flow rates and a large diameter line is a particularly challenging application.

Litre Meter’s VFF flowmeter is ideally suited for use in the petrochemical industry and in particular low-flow / high-pressure applications. The instrument has been tested and proved capable of operating reliably in the harsh offshore environment and dealing with very high particle contamination – such as some chemicals that are added to crude oil.

The meter is designed to operate in the harshest of winter conditions. The new VFF flow meter will work alongside 16 instruments that were previously installed by Litre Meter. Each instrument provides a pulsed output to a display mounted in a Zone 1 hazardous area. This is contained within an EExd enclosure, which also includes barriers to isolate the flowmeters.

The VFF flowmeter is suitable for measuring liquids at pressure ratings up to 4,000bar (60,000psi) and flow rates from 0.0004l/m (0.5l per day) to over 270l/min. It is of intrinsically safe design and manufactured to operate reliably at temperatures ranging from -40°C to 100°C.