Laser Technology Cuts Through Haze With Moisture Analyzer

July 21, 2006 (PRLEAP.COM) Technology News
Often it’s the “young turks,” the new enterprise, that hits the ground running by quickly assessing and adopting a better technology — to grab a competitive advantage. In the field of natural gas measurement, specifically a moisture analyzer, such an opportunity has been a long time coming. Wet gas, high maintenance costs and frequent replacement of conventional natural gas sensors has been a thorn in the side of producers and pipeline operators.

That’s why Premier Services (Watonga, OK) began to look for a better moisture analysis technology soon after the firm opened its business in instrumentation, automation and measurement of natural gas and associated fluids three years ago.

Looking for a more efficient and accurate technology than conventional quartz crystal and electrochemical sensors, last year Premier Services discovered the new standard in reliable, trustworthy and trouble-free measurement — the laser-based natural gas analyzer.

“This was like comparing a new Cadillac to a 1960s hatchback,” says Premier Services president David Liebensohn. “The laser-based technology is a quantum leap over conventional natural gas sensors. It is the best one out there in terms of ongoing accuracy, and it pretty much takes care of itself in the field.”

Operating mainly in the mid-continent areas of Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas and Oklahoma, Premier Services strives to be a lean and highly competent organization. Because the firm consults with producers and pipeline services on selecting instrumentation as well as measurement and maintenance, dependable moisture analysis is a high priority.

“Wet gas can lead to expensive producer shut-ins and high legal costs if it breaks an end-user contract,” Liebensohn says, “and that can easily amount to tens of thousands of dollars per incident. We have found that the new laser-based technology, while more expensive than conventional sensors, will pay for itself in the long run — through improved accuracy and lower maintenance requirements.”

Liebensohn views the problems with conventional gas sensors as twofold: lack of consistent accuracy, and high maintenance costs. When a conventional sensor probe becomes coated with contaminants present in the natural gas stream, such as glycol carryover from the dehydrators, the moisture readings can become erratic or even frozen.

“If the conventional analyzer becomes flooded with any type of liquid, you have to take it apart and clean it out and reinstalled, all of that takes time and maintenance efforts. With the newer, laser-based moisture analyzer, even if it is flooded, it will come right back on line with dependable accuracy.”

Liebensohn adds that even routine checking and calibration of conventional sensors is maintenance intensive, requiring that moisture tubes are manually pulled as well as recalibrated and, often, refurbished or replaced. He says that the laser-based analyzers, which he buys from SpectraSensors (San Dimas, CA), are shipped pre-calibrated from the factory and require virtually no maintenance.

Using a “tunable-diode” laser-based technology, the SpectraSensors natural gas analyzer accurately monitors moisture content by precisely measuring the absorbance of light by moisture molecules, thereby measuring the exact amount of water (or carbon dioxide). There are no chemical conversions involved, and no natural gas sensor contact with the sample gas. This eliminates “coating” problems, erratic measurements, and exceeded tariffs.
Liebensohn as well as many producers, services and pipeline operators have determined the cost difference is overcome very quickly, especially with the prevention of a single incident by utilizing a laser-based moisture analyzer.

For more information contact: Sam Miller, Director of Marketing — Energy Tel: (909) 542-0394 x228 Fax: 909-542-0402 SpectraSensors, Inc. 972 North Amelia Avenue, San Dimas, CA 91773