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Multiphase flowmeters are an evolving technology and the fastest growing flowmeter type, outpacing ultrasonic and other new-technology flowmeters, according to a new study by Flow Research, The World Market for Multiphase Flowmeters*.

The study found that the multiphase flowmeter market totaled $240 million in 2011. The market is projected to increase at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 14.5 percent through 2016 until it reaches $472.2 million. While the bulk of these revenues are from multiphase flowmeters, some also come from dual-phase meters manufactured by multiphase flowmeter suppliers.

Multiphase flowmeters determine the percent of gas, water, and oil that makes up the fluid as it comes out of an oil or gas well. They then use other values to determine the flowrate of each fluid. Flow Research says this information is valuable because it tells the operator how much of each type of fluid is coming out of the well before the fluids are separated. Multiphase flowmeters also yield valuable information about the condition of the oil or gas well where the drilling occurs.

The study divides multiphase flowmeters by well location into land-based, offshore, and subsea. The land-based multiphase flowmeters tend to be least expensive, while the susbsea meters cost the most. This is due to their complexity, and to the difficulty of drilling deep under water. Of the three types, the subsea multiphase flowmeter market is projected to grow most rapidly. Flow Research explains gas and oil producers are looking more at subsea locations for drilling as existing supplies become depleted and as the demand for natural gas and oil increases. The multiphase flowmeter market as a whole is growing faster than the Coriolis and ultrasonic markets, which are the two fastest-growing new-technology flowmeter markets.

Multiphase FlowmeterMultiphase flowmeters are at an early stage of their evolutionary cycle and use a variety of technologies, which companies are working hard to improve, according to Flow Research. Manufacturers report an increasing acceptance of the technology, in part because multiphase provides the only solution for some applications, but also because of an improving track record in general and proven performance. In some cases oil & gas companies themselves are working with flowmeter companies to develop better multiphase metering solutions.

According to Jesse Yoder, Ph.D., president of Flow Research, the multiphase flowmeter market holds tremendous opportunities for suppliers. “Although it is one of the most complex applications to address, successful multiphase measurement holds the promise of large benefits for both suppliers and end-users,” he said. “Companies are putting money into developing multiphase meters not so much because the meters do the measurement so well, but because the measurement is so valuable. There is a critical need to be able to accurately measure all the fluids that come out of a well. Only a very small percentage of the world’s 1 million-plus wells are equipped with multiphase flowmeters today—despite a 30-year history of multiphase metering—so there is ample room for market expansion.”

Dual-phase flowmeters, which are covered in the study in the context of the broader multiphase flowmeter market, measure the percentage of only two types of fluids (e.g., oil and water) in the total fluid. These meters include wet gas meters, which measure the flow of gas accompanied by some liquid, and watercut meters, which measure the water content (cut) of crude oil and hydrocarbons.

The World Market for Multiphase Flowmeters is the final module in The World Market for Gas Flow Measurement, 2nd Edition, which includes a core study, published in June 2011. Flow Research found that the fast-growing worldwide market for gas flowmeters totaled $1.3 billion in 2010. Of that, shipments of new-technology gas flowmeters totaled $498 million and are projected to increase with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10.1 percent through 2015. Traditional technology gas flowmeters totaled $792 million, with a projected CAGR of 3.3 percent.

* This study gives detailed market sizes, analysis, and forecasts for multiphase flowmeters worldwide, with dual phase in the context of multiphase manufacturers (excluding companies who manufacture only dual-phase meters). It gives market size for 2011, and forecasts the market through 2016. To learn more visit www.flowmultiphase.com.