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Bharadwaja Prabhala

Senior Instrument Engineer, Plant Engineering – Instrumentation, Bahrain Petroleum Company (BAPCO)

Bharadwaja Prabhala is an Instrumentation professional having 30 years’ experience in the fields of Design & Development, Installation & Commissioning of Automated Control Systems in Offshore and Onshore Oil & Gas Plants. He is currently working as a Senior Instrumentation Engineer at Bahrain Petroleum Company (BAPCO) and was involved in development & implementation of latest technologies in instrumentation in the areas of Tank Gauging, Predictive Emission Monitoring and Radio network integrated gas metering systems. He is also a TUV certified Functional Safety Professional (FSP) and a regular ISA member.

Device Wireless Technologies for Tank Gauging – Advantages and Challenges – An Application Review

Digital Oilfield, Wireless and Industrial Communications

Abstract: The advent of new device wireless technologies have opened new vistas in data monitoring and transportability in difficult to reach and inaccessible areas improving the visibility of process to the plant operators. The Tank Gauging is measurement of liquid products in bulk storage tanks to meet one or more of the operational requirements e.g. inventory control, custody transfer, oil movement & operations and leak control & reconciliation. Currently, the tank gauges (Servo and Radar) traditionally use proprietary communication protocols or buses viz. TRL2, Bi-Phase Mark (BPM) GPU to communicate the data from the gauges to the Tank Inventory System and configure the gauges via cables. The wireless devices have distinct advantages of providing this communication link without use of cables reducing the cost of installation (being the major cost component) enormously and significantly improving the time to deploy the systems. This paper discusses the results of evaluation of a field trial at Bapco by upgrading 5 off existing Rosemount Radar gauges and interfacing them wirelessly on a self-healing, self-organised HART 7 based mesh network to the Tank Inventory Management System in Control Room. The evaluation has provided more insights into the quality and media reliability in Gulf climates and has generated installation best practices. The results also highlight the requirement to review the system in terms of conformance to various API standards and ensure the availability even during the catastrophes such as tank overfills and fires which may impose some architectural changes to the network. Although the trials proved the functionality and cost benefits, it may be necessary to carryout prior Wireless FEED for the application with a long term design strategy in mind. Also, it is necessary to review the data integration to other systems to derive the optimum benefit of the system.

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