The IRmadillo for Monitoring Oil & Gas Production
The IRmadillo is a versatile, robust and reliable process analyser based on FTIR spectroscopy. It has applications throughout the entire oil and gas production sector, be it upstream, midstream or downstream.
The biggest challenge in upstream applications is the harsh environment in which oil and gas production occurs. Challenging weather conditions, vibrating machinery, and above all the frequent lack of appropriate maintenance capabilities in remote locations leads to operating conditions that conventional instrumentation struggle to function in – if at all. The IRmadillo was specifically designed to be robust and reliable, with no moving parts and temperature stabilisation (rather than liquid nitrogen or Stirling engine based cooling), meaning it does not need frequent maintenance or attention.
Example applications for the IRmadillo in monitoring upstream oil and gas production are:
- Glycol dehydration of natural gas
- Water levels in crude oil
- Sulphur levels and sweetness of crude oil
- Hydrocarbons in produced water
Midstream installations suffer similar challenges to upstream, often in less accessible locations and still subject to adverse weather and both high and low ambient temperatures. Processes such as separation, blending and additive injection benefit from real-time analysis and control, while property analysis is important to storage and transportation practices.
Example applications for the IRmadillo in monitoring midstream oil and gas production are:
- Total acid number (TAN) determination
- Glycol dehydration of natural gas
- Vapour pressure and other physical property monitoring
There is a long history of analytical instrumentation in downstream oil and gas production (i.e., refining), most notably a large amount of near infrared (NIR) instrumentation. The IRmadillo can match the same measurements capabilities of NIR instruments on liquids and slurries, but with added stability, robustness and – in many cases – better measurement performance. More importantly, though, the IRmadillo can help plug the gaps in analysis that a refinery has, bringing in-line analysis and real-time control to those applications that NIR or other techniques cannot effectively analyse.
Example applications for the IRmadillo in monitoring downstream oil and gas production and refining are:
- PIONA analysis
- RON/MON and other octane measurements
- Aromatics monitoring
- Alcohol and ether additives in gasoline blending
The Keit IRmadillo family of spectrometers has been developed specifically to bring FTIR out of the laboratory and onto the manufacturing floor. The IRmadillo variants are:
- IRmadilloDiamond: the workhorse of the IRmadillo family, the IRmadilloDiamond comes with a diamond-tipped ATR probe. This gives it a wide range of chemical compatibility, with increased robustness and scratch resistance. It can be used for a wide range of chemical processes, including those with abrasive particles present.
- IRmadillo25H: this model has been specifically designed for high temperatures, and has a working range up to 220°C. The ATR tip is composed of a chalcogenide glass, which gives a full working spectral range of 800 – 3800 cm-1, with no “diamond dead zone” present in the majority of other commercial probes. It does only have a working pH range of 0 – 9, so is not suitable for alkali processes. The glass nature of the tip also makes this unsuitable for processes with abrasive particles present.
- IRmadillo25: The globally Ex-certified (C1D2, ATEX, IECEx) original model. Similar to the IRmadillo25H but with a reduced working temperature range.
What about other instruments – NIR, Raman and refractive index measurements?
- Near infrared (NIR) technologies are very common in downstream oil and gas. This technique provides much less specific information than FTIR, but can be very cost-effective instruments. They can give less specific and accurate results compared to an FTIR or Raman, but may be good enough for some situations.
- Raman spectroscopy is similar to the FTIR that drives the IRmadillo’s process monitoring, but it can be very strongly and negatively affected by particles and bubbles in the solution, as well as showing strong fluorescence in many cases.
- Refractive index monitors are cost-effective instruments for simple systems, but they cannot cope with complicated mixtures or temperature variations giving them limited use in real world industrial processes.
Oil and Gas FAQs
What sort of sample handling or conditioning system do I need?
The IRmadillo was designed for ease of use, so in many cases does not require any sample conditioning or specific handling. The section above specifies the operating conditions of the various models. If you process lies outside of these (for example, a high temperature alkali process) then some sample conditioning may be required – Keit will work with you to establish a solution.
My process is exposed to the weather, hot and cold temperatures – how does the IRmadillo cope?
The IRmadillo was originally developed for the petrochemicals and oil and gas industries – so it can take a beating. It has an ambient temperature range of -20°C to 55°C so temperature variations aren’t a problem. It also has an IP65 rating meaning it doesn’t mind whatever the weather throws at it.
My processes are very dirty – how will your probe cope with fouling and scale?
Keit is also currently developing an in-situ descaling system for other installation sites, so you can install the instrument then walk away, knowing it will stop the build-up of scale or other fouling. What’s more, the instrument checks every scan it takes for quality, and can be programmed to alert you if it detects a build-up for manual cleaning if something went very much out of specification on plant.
The IRmadillo for Oil & Gas Production Monitoring
If you purchase the IRmadillo for monitoring your oil and gas production you will receive:
- IRmadillo process analyser
- Interface and mounting accessories to integrate with your process (following a consultation with your engineering team)
- IRmadillo controller PC
- Calibration services
- Ongoing technical and recalibration support (as per your warranty or maintenance contract)
If you like the sound of this, please contact us for more information. We can arrange a trial installation on your plant for several months so you can see you yourself just what the IRmadillo can do.