American Oil and Gas Reporter - September 2020 - 77

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SpecialReport: Permian Powerhouse

Through cloud-based modeling software, producers, midstream firms and refineries can
validate meters' product quality measurements and estimate characteristics they lack
equipment to measure. According to Validere Technologies Inc., the software's provider,
more accurate and comprehensive quality data can help users access the most profitable
markets.

"Quality is often the underlying cause
of low margins," Le Dain argues. "Consider producers that miss their earnings
estimates for the quarter in part because
of high trucking costs. It turns out they
have been getting shut in from the targeted
terminal because their vapor pressure
measurements were inaccurate, which
forced them to pay truck drivers overtime
to go to other sites.
"Most producers know they can get
more for each barrel if they have reliable
information about product quality, such
as vapor pressure, water content, sulfur
or total acid number, to avoid unnecessary
penalties and find the best market," Le
Dain says. "The issue is that getting
better quality data traditionally requires
a significant investment in instruments
that sometimes can be hard to justify because the lack of data makes the return
unknown."
To generate quality data at a lower
cost, Validere has developed models that
Le Dain says apply physics and statistical
and spatial reasoning to infer quality
based on meter readings, samples and
other information. These models work
best when they can draw on readings
from several instruments, but Le Dain
says they are reliable enough to be useful
even for small companies that only take
a sample or two a day.
"By implementing these models in
cloud-based software, we can give producers, midstream firms and refineries
real-time product quality information,"

Le Dain reports. "The models predict
quality accurately enough that we can
tell when a meter needs to be recalibrated
and either alert the user or handicap the
readings in the software to correct the
drift automatically.
"By comparing data from several instruments, we can even infer measurements
that are not being taken," he adds. "For
example, our virtual analyzers can track
vapor pressure in real time and feed that
data into a producer's SCADA system so
they can make more informed operational
and marketing decisions."
For producers to rely on virtual analyzers, they need to offer reliable data,

Le Dain notes. "Before many customers
adopt us, they compare measurements
from our virtual analyzers with ones from
in-line meters and labs. The virtual analyzers usually are more accurate than
physical ones because quality varies so
widely that meters go off calibration more
quickly than the manual suggests. Most
meters need to be recalibrated more frequently."
Once customers are comfortable using
the software to optimize their sales points,
Le Dain says, the return can be significant.
"We often see 100% or 200% returns,"
he details. "The returns are strong whether
the client is a large company with a dedicated marketing group or a small producer
that relies on us to analyze its data and
send recommendations."
Validere's software also can help shrink
environmental footprints. "More precise
data can allow producers to get into a
closer pipeline that has stricter quality
specifications, which means fewer carbon
miles," Le Dain illustrates. He mentions
that the software can quantify undriven
miles to help with ESG reporting.
"In the long run, we think we will be
able to reduce emissions even more by
helping operators find molecules lost to
venting as they balance facilities," Le
Dain says. "Think about a tank or pipeline.
If the volumes at the outlet are lower
than the ones at the inlet, flashing or a
leak may be the culprit. This math-based
approach to finding emissions always has
been possible, but it should be far more
effective with software that can improve
measurement accuracy and automatically
flag concerns."
❒

Unit 7 Completes 10-Unit Elba Island LNG Facility
HOUSTON-With placement of Unit
7 into commercial service, Elba Liquefaction Company LLC (ELC) says it has
completed the 10-unit Elba Island Liquefaction project.
The $2 billion liquefied natural gas
export facility was built utilizing Shell's
movable modular liquefaction system, notes
ELC, a joint venture between Kinder Morgan Inc. and EIG Global Energy Partners.
The terminal near Savannah, Ga., which
was constructed originally to import LNG,
exported its first cargo in December 2019.
It has total export capacity of 2.5 million
tonnes a year of LNG, or 350 million
cubic feet a day of natural gas, ELC says.
"Developing this facility was a tremendous
undertaking, and we are extremely pleased

to have this project in service," says Kimberly
Watson, Kinder Morgan Natural Gas East
Region president. "The team coordinated
with our customer, and local, state and
federal agencies to put a new technology
for modular liquefaction units in service.
"(The facility's) functionality as a bidirectional import/export facility makes it
ideal for the changing flow patterns that
can occur from time to time," Watson adds.
Elba Island Liquefaction is supported
by a 20-year contract with Shell LNG
NA LLC, which is subscribed to 100%
of the liquefaction capacity. ELC owns
the liquefaction units and other ancillary
equipment. Certain other facilities associated with the project are 100% owned
by Kinder Morgan, ELC says.
❒
SEPTEMBER 2020 77



American Oil and Gas Reporter - September 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of American Oil and Gas Reporter - September 2020

Contents
American Oil and Gas Reporter - September 2020 - Intro
American Oil and Gas Reporter - September 2020 - 1
American Oil and Gas Reporter - September 2020 - 2
American Oil and Gas Reporter - September 2020 - 3
American Oil and Gas Reporter - September 2020 - 4
American Oil and Gas Reporter - September 2020 - Contents
American Oil and Gas Reporter - September 2020 - 6
American Oil and Gas Reporter - September 2020 - 7
American Oil and Gas Reporter - September 2020 - 8
American Oil and Gas Reporter - September 2020 - 9
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American Oil and Gas Reporter - September 2020 - 11
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https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aogr/202009
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