Flow Research: Industry Approvals and Supplier Innovations Drive Growth in the Gas and Steam Vortex Flowmeter Markets

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Suppliers and end-users have worked with the American Petroleum Institute (API) to develop a draft standard for using vortex flowmeters for gas and steam measurement. At the same time, product innovations are giving vortex meters a bigger foothold in the gas flow measurement market.

With the development of the API standard and continued product innovations by suppliers, vortex flowmeters are finally beginning to realize their full potential in the gas flow measurement world.

A new research study, The World Market for Gas Flow Measurement, 3rd Edition, by Flow Research (http://www.flowresearch.com) finds substantial growth in the gas flow measurement market. Vortex flowmeters stand out in that the American Petroleum Institute (API) has developed new approvals for the use of vortex meters in gas and steam.

According to this new study, the worldwide gas flowmeter market exceeded $1.7 billion in 2014. While traditional technology gas flowmeters revenues are still strong in this market, accounting for $930 million of the total, new-technology gas flowmeters made up $788 million of the market total. The vortex gas flowmeter market exceeded $26 million in Europe in 2014.

It is difficult to describe vortex flowmeters in a few words. They have some disadvantages when compared to other new technology flowmeters. Vortex flowmeters are not as accurate as Coriolis meters, are more intrusive than ultrasonic meters, and are less widely used than magnetic meters. They are more expensive than differential pressure (DP) flowmeters. Yet despite these comparisons, vortex flowmeters offer a number of important advantages when compared to both new-technology and traditional technology meters. They can handle a wider range of process conditions than almost any other flowmeter. Vortex flowmeters provide accurate and reliable flow measurement at a competitive price.

API Standards Development

One of the most important recent growth factors for vortex flowmeters has been the development of a draft standard for use of vortex flowmeters for custody transfer measurement. The American Petroleum Institute (API) has developed the API 14.12 draft standard for the use of vortex meters for gas and steam applications.

Custody transfer of natural gas is a fast-growing market, especially with the increased popularity of natural gas as an energy source. Natural gas changes hands, or ownership, at a number of points between the producer and the end-user. Custody transfer is tightly regulated by standards groups such as the American Gas Association (AGA) and various regulatory bodies of other geographic regions.

In January 2007, an API committee approved a draft standard for the use of vortex flowmeters for custody transfer of liquid and gas. This standard is likely to boost sales of vortex meters over time, as suppliers develop products that conform to the standard. The standard was updated in 2010, and includes liquid, steam, and gas.

In February 2015, a draft standard called “Natural Gas Fluid Measurement – Measurement of Gas by Vortex Meters” was published by the API. This draft standard, called API 14.12, applies to single phase gas flows and steam, and is intended for process and fiscal metering applications. The standard lays out the design and installation requirements for using vortex flowmeters for these types of applications. Receiving such approval should give a boost to the use of vortex flowmeters for steam and gas applications.

Users today are looking for flowmeters that do not require a great deal of maintenance. Rather than purchasing a flowmeter that needs to be checked regularly for accuracy and repeatability, they prefer to purchase flowmeters with minimal maintenance requirements. In many cases, users will spend more for a flowmeter that has reduced maintenance requirements.

This study, http:// The World Market for Gas Flow Measurement, 3rd Edition (http://www.gasflows.com) analyzes the world market for all types of flowmeters used for gas flow measurement. It includes a technology analysis, 2014 market size and market share data, market growth projections through 2019, and provides in-depth segmentation of the market by various product and geographic categories.

According to Dr. Jesse Yoder, president of Flow Research:
“For many years the vortex flowmeter market suffered from a lack of industry approvals for the use of vortex meters in industrial applications. This changed in 2007 when the API drafted the first standard for vortex meters for custody transfer applications. In 2010 and 2015 more important steps were taken to bring this standard to adoption. At the same time, vortex suppliers have introduced important innovations like reducer vortex meters and improved sensor designs. In October 2015 Sierra Instruments introduced a new series of multivariable vortex meters that measure five process variables and have advanced diagnostic capabilities. Suppliers are now beginning to exploit some of the major advantages of vortex meters, and this should provide solid growth for gas vortex meters in the future.”

About Flow Research

Flow Research, with headquarters in Wakefield, Massachusetts, is the only independent market research company whose primary mission is to research flowmeters and other instrumentation products and markets worldwide. Flow Research has years of experience in doing both off-the-shelf studies and custom work. Published studies can be purchased by anyone interested in the topics. These studies are developed through interviews with suppliers, distributors, and end-users, and are presented in a clear and consistent manner. Topics include all of the flowmeter technologies – both new and traditional – as well as temperature sensors, temperature transmitters, level products, and pressure transmitters.

A growing area of interest – especially related to custody transfer – is flowmeter calibration. Flow Research has recently completed two studies, one on gas and one on liquid, of flow calibration facilities and markets. This series is called Worldwide Flowmeter Calibration Facilities and Markets (http://www.flowcalibration.org).

The company also focuses on the energy industries, especially on oil and gas production and measurement. Special topics include custody transfer, multiphase measurement, and liquefied natural gas (LNG). A series of quarterly reports called the Worldflow Monitoring Service (http://www.worldflow.com).provides regular updates on both the flowmeter markets and the energy industries

For more information, visit http:// Flow Research at http://www.flowresearch.com or call +1 781-245-3200.

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