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Analyzing the analyzer— Metrology in gas pipelines

J. Apgar, Contributing Writer, Chino Hills, California  Upstream, gas producers and processors deliver natural gas to fill growing demand for the clean-burning fuel. Downstream, hundreds of miles of pipeline infrastructure deliver the gas to market. In between, at the points of custody transfer, are multitudes of analyzers ensuring that contaminants, such as hydrogen sulfide (H2S), are low enough to protect the pipelines and the public (Fig. 1). This critical measurement prevents corrosion, which, in the worst case, can lead to pipeline rupture. What happens if the gas supplier and user each use a different H2S analyzer? There is a saying in the natural gas industry: “If you have one analyzer, you have a measurement; if you have two analyzers, you have an argument.” Hunter Brown, a measurement control supervisor for Access Midstream, explains this saying: “Sometimes, you will have a …