The Multiphase Flowmeter, A Tool for Well Performance Diagnostics and Production Optimization

Kettle, R.J. (Schlumberger) | Ross, D. (Schlumberger) | Deznan, D. (Apache Energy Limited)



The Dual-Energy Venturi Multiphase Flowmeter (MPFM), has gained acceptance within the Oil and Gas Industry as an accurate and cost-effective solution to multiphase metering. has now been implemented by the Australian Petroleum industry on the Apache Energy Simpson Alpha, Bravo and Gibson remote mini-wellhead platforms.

Eliminating the conventional test separator has led to wide-ranging improvements in engineering, financial and Operations areas. In addition, the field data are being used in a wide range of new and beneficial applications, including new field development, rapid deployment, artificial lift optimization and well-clean up optimization operations.

Integration of the MPFM packages into Customer supervisory control and data acquisition system (SCADA) and the connectivity achievable through these compact metering packages, has shown the benefits the customer may obtain by providing real-time data to operations and reservoir critical management functions. Connectivity for remote fault diagnosis and maintenance actions significantly reduces Field Service Operational Expenditure (OPEX) costs, and nonproductive time for field service personnel, which is particularly beneficial for installations in areas that lack infrastructure.

The applications, and commissioning of the MPFM packages and other low-cost technologies are illustrated in the paper. The straightforward nature of the Vx* multiphase well testing technology installation process brings distinct advantages to these applications, provided that methodical preparation is performed beforehand.

The key to the success of the multiphase flowmeter, as a tool for well performance diagnostics and production optimization, is its high availability and long-term performance stability, underpinned by the local and regional support network available to customers.

In the future, challenges remain in the interpretation of the new information being gathered, which document previously unrecorded inflow and outflow behaviors, with unmatched resolution and dynamics.


Multiphase flowmetering can demonstrate wide-ranging benefits over conventional Test Separators. While the minimization of capital expenditure and engineering achieved by adopting a multiphase approach to well testing are clear, the potential benefits that may be attained with the MPFM by providing real-time data acquisition and remote connectivity still need to be quantified. It is the aim of this paper to identify some of these benefits.

The principle of operation of the Dual-Energy Venturi Multiphase Meter has been the subject of numerous previous publications, and is included in the Appendix 1, for reference.

Apache Simpson

In 2001, Apache Energy embarked on the Simpson field development, consisting of two remote mini-wellhead platforms, located 2 km from the existing Varanus Island processing facilities. Key objectives for Apache Energy in the field development plan for Simpson field are listed below:

  • To minimise field development capital expenditure (CAPEX) costs (through size, weight and footprint reductions)

  • To limit the facility weight, such that the entire topsides could be supported by the well production casings without need for additional structural members.

  • To provide interface for remote control and monitoring of the platform equipment and facilities, reducing the number of platform visits required during operations.

  • To minimize equipment installations on the facilities, and therefore the requirement for platform visits to undertake maintenance actions.

By using MPFM technology, the installed wellhead platform topsides were designed with PhaseWatcher* fixed multiphase well production monitoring equipment in the individual well flowlines, thus eliminating the requirements for a conventional test separator.