The midstream industry average lost and unaccounted for (LAUF) for natural gas storage, processing, and transportation averages 0.40% of throughput. While LAUF may include a small component of estimating errors for pneumatic device integrity and venting, it is dominated by persistent measurement errors. Root causes of measurement errors include obstructions, faulty or damaged equipment, and even human errors introduced while performing routine maintenance. These events are common but occur randomly, with new events typically amounting to 0.1% of total throughput each month.
Digital transformation and the Internet of Things have brought rapid change to natural gas measurement with the introduction of ultrasonic meters, flow computers, and connected gas chromatographs exponentially increasing the availability of diagnostics data. Despite these digital advances, technology and data are largely underutilized.
Manual data curation and analysis impede timely diagnosis of gas measurement errors at a time when teams have the unprecedented opportunity to prioritize meter troubleshooting based on real time and continuous monitoring of remote measurement stations. For measurement assurance, the status quo of monitoring and responding to equipment problems through inflexible routine maintenance and top-down system balancing pose myriad risks by allowing measurement errors to persist for 90 days or more before resolution, amplifying the impact of LAUF on an organization.
Scheduled maintenance exposes your team to:
- Higher operating costs (e.g., large staffs or third-party technicians and consultants)
- Financial risk from under- or overreported volumes
- Operational inefficiencies and data wrangling that consume days of an analyst’s week
- Carbon intensity uncertainty that masks your true emissions baseline
Deploying cloud-based augmented intelligence to work on data from source of gas measurement diagnostics, C-SMART Analytics is bringing much needed automation and analytics to gas measurement, enabling teams to monitor and manage equipment by exception and dispatch field staff to the highest priority errors at metering stations. As a result, C-SMART has successfully shifted the paradigm from scheduled maintenance and manual analysis to real time optimization of gas measurement assurance, enabling errors to be rapidly diagnosed and resolved in a matter of hours compared to scheduled inspections that take weeks or months and, even then, may not catch or correctly diagnose LAUF errors.
Leveraging C-SMART, your team is empowered to proactively manage meter maintenance by exception, reduce unnecessary scheduling of limited field resources, and address the financial and ESG costs associated with LAUF thanks to the resolution times that are now possible. This example dramatically shows the results. Over the course of a year, C-SMART’s error identification and quantification capabilities allowed this customer to steadily improve both LAUF and resolution time.
Now that you’ve seen just how powerful measurement maintenance by exception is, learn what the measurable results are for the bottom line in this blog post.