By Robert Adamek
Accurate flow measurement is key when transferring crude oil across state lines. This is why oil producers & pipeline companies use Lease Automatic Custody Transfer (LACT) units to generate economic value from every drop of oil and condensate. LACT units are systems that measure the quantity and quality of liquid hydrocarbons to be moved from the upstream oil and gas producer to the midstream oil and gas company for storage and transportation (e.g. via pipelines).
Accurate and reliable quantity and quality measurements are critical with regard to maximizing the value of crude oil. LACT units precisely meter quantity, and more important, they automatically sample and analyze oil quality while transferring the metered volume from the tank battery into a pipeline or truck.
LACT units automatically measure temperature, pressure, gravity, flow, and other variables. LACT units can be configured to meet a wide range of specifications and conditions, however, they should be designed specific to the application in order to maximize the return on investment.
Hydra-cell Seal-less pumps can handle contaminates in the oil, manage solids, eliminate the need for a vapor recovery system, offer zero discharge, prevent leaks, and decrease maintenance—making them ideal for LACT units.
Hydra-Cell is a multiple diaphragm, positive displacement pump designed and engineered with seal-less pumping technology, which provides accurate and reliable custody transfer of crude oil, produced water, and NGL’s. The seal-less design separates the power (hydraulic) end from the fluid end.
It features a compact design, requires minimal maintenance, and is energy efficient. The seal-less design means no packing to leak, replace, or adjust. There is less downtime, less environmental containment costs, and less annual maintenance compared to conventional plunger pumps.
Hydra-Cell can pump water-thin fluids without having to adjust the pump speed. The required flow is delivered due to very low slip rates. They offer an accurate control of the flow rate by varying pump speed over a wide range of discharge pressures and fluid viscosities.
Combined with other Hydra-Cell design features and materials of construction, it provides several other performance advantages in the operation of LACT units, including:
- No mechanical seals to fail, leak, or replace.
- Handles sand or other solids up to 800 microns in size. No fine filtration is required. No equipment failures when all the frac flow-back sand has not been removed from the well.
- Can run dry indefinitely; the pump does not use the process fluid for lubrication.
- Higher volumetric efficiency than centrifugal pumps and gear pumps when pumping low-viscosity crude oils.
- Alternative materials available for the manifold, valves, and diaphragms if hydrogen sulfide (H2S) is present.
- Hydraulically balanced diaphragm design for long life.
- Patented diaphragm position control technology protects the pump and enables operation in case of a closed inlet due to abnormal or adverse conditions, or operational error.
- Rugged construction for long life with minimal maintenance.
- Compact vertical V-belt skid design for a smaller installation footprint.
When the cumulative value of every drop contributes to profitability, it is important for oil and gas companies to select a capable LACT unit pump that delivers high-quality product and reduces maintenance.
For more information about Hydra-Cell LACT unit pumps, please contact Robert Adamek at Wanner Engineering.