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13 Aug. 2018

The specialists who ensure we measure up

Whenever you buy a kilogram of flour, how do you know it is a kilogram? Likewise when you buy a litre of milk or a hectare of land, how do you know you got what you paid for?

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The world of science and in fact every aspect of our modern lives relies on accurate measurements. In most cases accuracy is import for commercial and integrity reasons.

However, there are many circumstances where accuracy is of critical importance, and can even mean the difference between life and death, such as in the medical profession, or supplying cords for bungee jumpers.

The petroleum industry is also one where accurate measurement is of critical importance.

Appropriately addressing the risks associated with measurement related activities is a key requirement of our Controls Integrity Management System (CIMS).

The company’s financial reporting and performance are directly connected to the accurate measurement of hydrocarbons (and derivatives) produced, transported, processed, blended, packaged, shipped, and dispensed around the world.

There is a direct financial impact to the company and its shareholders if measured, reported, or accounted for incorrectly.  

ExxonMobil has a global network of measurement specialists helping to ensure the appropriate level of measurement system accuracy is met across our operations. 

Overseeing corporate measurement standards, influencing industry standards and providing high-level technical support and guidance is the Houston-based Petroleum Measurement Center of Expertise. The PM CoE was formed in late 2016 and integrates upstream and downstream technical expertise. Two members of this global team happen to be based here in Melbourne: Production Company Measurement Adviser Mark Quinn and Asia Pacific Measurement Discipline Technology Lead Tun M Gyaw.

“Our aim is to deliver fit for risk petroleum measurement solutions along with developing the capabilities of the global measurement community,” said Mark. “Last year we established a Measurement Community of Practice (CoP) to help improve collaboration and communication across the network and membership is at approximately 300 and growing.”

The focus is on achieving and maintaining accuracy.

“Accurate measurements of gas and liquids, including oil and water is important for maintaining operations integrity across our business lines,” said Tun.

“They are the basis of commerce among hydrocarbon producers, royalty owners, product transporters, refiners, marketers, governmental bodies, and the public.

“Measurements are also used to detect operational problems or unwanted releases in, for example, pipelines, tanks, marine vessels, and underground storage tanks.

“In the upstream they are essential for reservoir management and facilities engineering and surveillance.”

Providing measurement advice for the Gorgon Project is LNG Measurement Adviser Adrian Korybutiak.

Maintaining accuracy across our Gippsland operations is the Gippsland Measurement Group led by Denis Pesavento. Part of the Onshore Surveillance Engineering, the Measurement Group, it is located at Long Island Point where much of our liquid product custody transfers occur.

“We also have a number of site contacts that assist us with measurements such as metering technicians, I&E (Instrumentation and Electrical) technicians and I&E supervisors,” said Measurement Group Technical Specialist Simon Barratt.

“We also do a lot of work with engineers providing troubleshooting solutions as required.”   

The Measurement Group also provides training online and face-to-face training for field technicians and operators.

“Field personnel that are involved with measurement activities in their day-to-day operations need to have an understanding of what it means to measure, maintain and monitor measurement equipment.

“Every application is different in measurement,” said “No two challenges are the same, whether it’s through troubleshooting or looking to install measurement devices in a new application or replacing an existing measurement device. There is a lot that needs to be considered. The type of product, the composition, the flow rate, the temperature, the pressure, the density, all of these things have an impact on the way that you measure and how you measure accurately.”

Before joining ExxonMobil, Simon was a government trade measurement inspector in New Zealand.

He was one of the army of technical specialists we rely on to ensure we are always getting exactly what we wanted in our everyday transactions.    

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