Oilfield gaugers manage gas production levels and collect samples of oil for inspection after it is extracted from the earth. Before oil is sold to gas retailers, it needs to be tested for a number of things. The oil needs to be a certain consistency, weight, quality, and temperature to be considered ready for sale. These experts are highly experienced to check and ensure this, as well as make sure that the transportation of the gas happens in accordance with the American Petroleum Institute standards.
Testing Oil Bottoms
It is normal for sediment to clump up inside an oil tank. Factors like water, sand, and more usually sink to the bottom, but if this layer of emulsion is too thick, it can mean that the gas is spoiled. Using a tool called a “thief”, the level of sediment can be tested. It is important to know how much is in there because gas companies will treat and separate it based on the level of bottoms.
Testing for BS&W
Even after going through the process of separation, oil may still have traces of bottoms in it. However, to be sold to a buyer, it needs to be less than 1% of the volume. This is checked through sampling it and testing the oil from differing depths of the oil tank, and then finding out the concentration of BS&W present in each sample using a centrifuge.
Testing the Weight of Oil
The weight of oil is measured in terms of how dense it is, using a specific scale that was created by the API (American Petroleum Institute). Oils that have higher API are easier to treat and do a separation process on because they are lighter and more clear, while oil that has an API with a lower number tends to be murkier and deeper in color.
Oil that is located deep in the earth’s surface is warmer and takes up more volume, so it is usually cheaper. Cooler oil is harder to work with but a bit more expensive. After gauging the temperature of the gas, a company can make an accurate determination of what the price will be.
If for any reason something is wrong with the quality of the oil and it is not ready for sale, it will need to be treated. Companies use different additives and chemicals to meet the requirements of the buyer. Surfactants work to separate any water that is left, while paraffin thinners allow the heavy oil to flow while separating the BS&W from the crude oil. Corrosion inhibitors and oxygen scavengers are used to minimize oxidation and decay, and scale inhibitors can prevent the buildup of sediment accumulating in equipment.
After all of this is finished, oil is finally considered ready for sale, and the buyer can feel confident that what they are purchasing is a quality product that has been extensively tested. This is how we make sure that gas is not toxic or dangerous and that it is safe to use. It is a quality assurance standard that has come to be common in the US.
Oilfield Testing with AmSpec Services
Our facilities across the United States and around the world have the capabilities to perform a wide range of analyses on a multitude of products including biofuel, petroleum, petrochemical and agricultural commodities. Contact us today to learn more about our oil testing services.