What is Tomography?
Tomography is the technology that allows us to provide solutions that see inside pipes and separators/tanks, removing doubt from your multiphase flows to cut downtime and optimize your production.
The general idea in tomographic measurements is to expose the target of interest to a physical stimulus, e.g. electromagnetic waves, radiation beam, acoustic waves or electrical signals, and measure the response caused by the target. From the response signals it is possible, with the aid of mathematical models, to infer the distribution of different material within the target. Results of tomographic measurements are displayed as an online cross-sectional or 3D image of the target and indices.
Rocsole's process imaging solutions are based on a tomographic technology called Electrical Tomography (ET). The basic idea in Electrical Tomographic image construction is to find a permittivity/conductivity distribution for which the observations predicted by the model are in good agreement with actual ET measurement data. See illustration how the principle of Electrical Tomography is applied Rocsole's Pipe and Probe Sensors.
Electrical tomography can be easily deployed to solve problems other technologies are not suitable for, especially in a case of heterogeneous process conditions:
Why Tomography in Oil & Gas?
Rocsole’s solutions are based on Electrical Tomography (ET), which enables whole volume imaging of a process pipe or separator/tank without using a radioactive source. Indices, such as a percentage of free volume in a pipeline with deposition growth, are calculated from the image.
One of the main advantages of the technology is that it can differentiate all the fluid (oil, gas, water) and solid (waxes, scales, hydrates, sand) phases inside pipelines and tanks—even when there is deposition present on the sensor. Using tomographic technology to address flow assurance challenges that have been previously unsolved, Oil & Gas operators can now see and monitor—in real-time—deposition and flow regimes inside pipes and interfaces and the emulsion layer inside separator tanks. From the image, we can crosscheck the accuracy of the indices. Other monitoring technologies—that do not have the benefit of the image—require a blind trust of the index alone.
Read more about our use of tomography in industry articles: Eyes in the Pipe and New Instrumentation Effectively Monitors & Manages Scale and by checking application examples on our separators solutions, tank solutions and pipeline solutions pages.
Tomography versus Nuclear
While safety can be a concern, the cost of ownership is the most significant drawback to nuclear technology. Costs and associated challenges include:
- Maintaining dedicated personnel to handle the device
- Ongoing training of personnel
- Meeting complex regulations related to shipping, transporting, handling and storing of the device
Tomography versus Pressure Loss Monitoring
An increasing loss of pressure in a pipeline due to increasingly constricted flow can be an indicator of solids deposition in the line. The use of pressure loss in a segment of pipeline, however, is poor indication of deposition. First, the loss of pressure, or pressure drop, in multiphase flow can be attributed to a number of causes, such as changes in flow regime, liquid viscosity, gas fraction, water fraction, etc., so an increase in pressure drop doesn’t necessarily point to flow constriction caused by solids. Second, in cases where there has been deposition, we repeatedly see there must be a substantial reduction in flow path cross-sectional area to give a significant pressure drop versus time signature. In essence, as a lagging indicator, monitoring pressure drop in a pipeline is not a very good method to detect solids deposition, except to warn of the final closure of the flow path.
Tomography's Improvement of Fluid Modeling
Modeling to predict solids appearance is widely practiced in some sectors of the industry, but is currently done without deposition measurement data. A fluid model is most often the best indicator—or only indicator—an operator has to predict deposition growth rate. Instrumented pigging or permanent pipe sensor measurement can provide key data to tune and improve models for more effective management strategies. The combination of measurement and modeling is better than either effort alone.
Rocsole: The Tomography Pioneer in Oil & Gas
We are a leading provider of tomography technology for industrial purposes. Established in 2012, and venture-backed by Shell and Repsol, we serve some of the world's largest oil and gas companies, along with other heavy industries.Excerpt from press release.
Rocsole's Pipe Deposition Scanning Technology Secures Shell Investment
"Rocsole's smart ILI tool could change the way we inspect subsea pipelines by allowing us to quickly obtain flow and deposition insights using their non-invasive and accurate analytics", says STV Managing Director Geert van de Wouw. "Their tomographic imaging techniques mean that measurements can be conducted from inside the actual pipe without damaging or disturbing it. Technology that can reduce down time and optimize production is critical for Shell operations, both for on- and offshore."
Read the full press release.
Harness the Power of Tomography
For Flow Assurance and Process Engineering
Finally, there's a real eye opener. By seeing inside pipes and tanks in real time, Rocsole's systems allow you to overcome tough and costly flow assurance challenges such as deposition and undesired flow regimes in pipes or the emulsion layer in separator tanks. Delivering practical value, our Oil & Gas products offer numerous unmatched benefits with examples of applications showing how each innovative solution has helped overcome real challenges.
Deposition Watch(part of our pipeline solutions)
By monitoring deposition such as wax, scale and ashphaltenes in pipelines, you can:
- Extend Cleaning Cycle and Reduce Production Loss
- Measure Conductivity and Permittivity in Build-up Conditions
- Measure Mass Flow Build-up Conditions
Flow Watch(part of our pipeline solutions)
Monitor flow regimes such as slugging, water breakthrough and homogeneity in pipelines in order to:
- Optimize Pipe Flow Conditions to Manage Slugging
- Water Cut and Water Holdup Measurement in Stratified Conditions
- See Mixing Efficiency
- Optimize Multiphase Metering by Seeing the Flow Regime
Sand Watch Pipe Sensor(part of our pipeline solutions)
Quantify the actual percentage of sand in your pipeline while monitoring the sand layer in multiphase flow containing gas:
- Measure solid levels in separators to optimize cleaning periods
- Measure solid levels and mass flow in pipelines
- Measure solid levels in sand processing units to optimize discharging periods
Emulsion Watch(part of our tank solutions and separator solutions)
By monitoring your separator tank's emulsion layer thickness and interfaces, you are now able to:
- Improve separation efficiency by optimizing the emulsion
- Avoid the cost of ownership associated with radioactive devices
Deposition In-Line and Liquid In-Tank Inspections
As the pioneer of tomographic technology in Oil & Gas, Rocsole also offers:
- A full pipeline deposition profile like no other with our Deposition In-Line Inspection, read more here!
- The ability to actually sees your tank’s full profile and define the water content of the product with our Liquid In-Tank Inspection, read more here!
For Instrumentation and Measurement
Rocsole's Tomographic Systems
Designed for demanding industrial conditions, our systems are as useful as they are user-friendly. Convenient features include:
- Easy to install and maintain, with no moving parts
- Without radioactive sources, safe to use and hassle-free from regulations
- No calibration needed
- Certified for hazardous areas (ATEX, IECEx)
- Modbus/TCP, Modbus/RTU or mA signal
- Images and trends available through Web-based software
- Compatible with industry standard SCADA or Distributed Control Systems (DCS) for communication and data storage
- Optional remote communication via cellular modem
Learn more about Rocsole's sensors and tomographical systems.
For Facilities and Maintenance
Keep your facilities running and minimize downtime with services from Rocsole. Through patented tomographic technology, we deliver the vital information you need to optimize maintenance activities such as pipe and tank cleaning. Facilities and maintenance professionals in the Oil & Gas industry count on big benefits from our innovative services:
Deposition In-Line Inspection(part of our pipeline solutions)
- Maximize production throughput
- Optimize your pigging program from the number of runs needed to the sizes used
- Detect blockages in the early phase to avoid significant costs caused by blockages
- Improve efficiency of smart pig integrity campaigns by identifying what deposits are present and where before the pipe cleaning and by ensuring cleanliness of your pipeline before integrity measurements take place
Learn more about our Deposition In-Line Inspection.
Liquid In-Tank Inspection(part of our tank solutions)
- Liquid In-Tank Inspection tells the type of deposit layer, e.g. sand or was at the bottom of the tank. This helps to optimize the tank cleaning methods to avoid extra costs and surprises.
- Reduce operational costs by optimizing residence time and water content in oil
Learn more about our Liquid In-Tank Inspection.
For continuous monitoring of deposition, flow regimes and sand in pipelines, as well as emulsion and interfaces in separators and tanks, Rocsole has pioneered Oil & Gas applications.
For Research and New Application Development
For the first time, you'll now be able to answer the most relevant flow assurance questions. By seeing inside pipes and tanks, Rocsole's systems help Research and New Application Development professionals discover previously unavailable information about the flow, such as variety of flow regimes and deposition growth in pipelines and emulsion in tanks. In addition, our systems provide feedback to flow and deposition models.
Have a process monitoring problem without a solution?
Let us know. Utilizing process visualizing tomographic technology, Rocsole collaborates with customers to develop new applications that deliver real value.
Download the case study to see how we developed a boundary phase monitoring solution that led to zero failures in phase separation during decantation.
Rocsole's case studies can be found here.
Quickly and cost-effectively verify or test tomographic technology in your application.
The Rocsole application lab offers an agile way to test the measurement with different process media and test new applications before entering the full development phase. Contact us to get started!
We are here to help you, don't hesitate to contact us!