Emerson Process Management today announced that its Roxar subsea wet gas meters are to be installed in the Greater Gorgon fields, one of the world’s largest untapped natural gas fields. The contract was signed with Vetco Gray, a GE Oil and Gas business. The operator is Chevron Australia.

The Gorgon project, 130km offshore Western Australia, is believed to contain over one trillion cubic meters of liquefied natural gas (LNG). A phased subsea development is currently taking place, where subsea wells will be directly tied back to an onshore LNG plant on Barrow Island. The LNG plant is estimated to have an annual capacity of around 15 million metric tons per year. The project is estimated to cost approximately AUD$43 billion (US$39.8 billion) for the first development phase, with first gas planned for 2014.

The Roxar subsea Wetgas meter, which will operate in depths of between 200m and 1,300m, will provide Chevron Australia with real-time, accurate measurements of hydrocarbon flow rates and water production, as well as the online detection of formation water breakthrough.

By accurately measuring the early onset of formation-water production in real-time and accurately, Chevron Australia will be able to take immediate preventative or remedial action, such as adjusting the concentration of MEG injection, injecting the right amount of corrosion inhibitor, choking back or shutting in the well, or instigating zonal isolation. The result is continuous flow assurance.

“We are very proud to be providing flow assurance and production optimisation to such an important LNG field,” said Gunnar Hviding, Roxar CEO and president. “Whether it be production well testing, improved reservoir management, or hydrate and scale prevention, the accurate and real-time measurement of wet gas flow is crucial to today’s operators, particularly with subsea tiebacks, as is the case with the Gorgon development.”

“The Roxar subsea Wetgas meter addresses these challenges head-on, providing operators with vital information for optimized reservoir and process management. The meters’ exceptionally compact design, low weight and low power consumption also ensure easy integration with subsea systems, as is the case here.”

The Roxar subsea Wetgas meter’s high availability, its 100% true redundancy, and cost effective intervention methods were also key factors in the decision, as was the track record of delivering wet gas meters on time and of the highest quality to similar-sized, high profile projects. These include the Ormen Lange field, the largest natural gas field on the Norwegian Continental Shelf, and the independence hub development in the Gulf of Mexico, representing 13% of the offshore Gulf’s natural gas production.

The Gorgon gas fields project is being developed by the Gorgon Joint Venture, which consists of Australian subsidiaries of three international energy companies, Chevron Australia, which has a 50% share and is the main operator, Shell Development Australia, and Mobil Australia Resources, a subsidiary of Exxon Mobil, who have a 25% share each. In May 2008, Vetco Gray was awarded a five-year frame agreement to supply subsea equipment and support services for the project and, in October 2009, GE Oil and Gas announced a US$400 million contract to deploy advanced LNG technology in the fields. Delivery of the Roxar meters will be in the third quarter of 2010.