Natural gas liquids NGL: Liquid hydrocarbons identification

Oil refineries receive or deliver many different liquid hydrocarbons, including Natural Gas Liquids (NGLs) which are transported via pipelines, railcars, tanker trucks, or ships. In multi-product transfer pipeline systems:

  • Batches serially enter and move via pipeline to terminals and end point  
  • Interface detection tracks when each batch ends and the following begins.

Real-time identification of fluid interfaces in loading/ unloading and custody transfer operations

Many of these products, e.g. n-butane and iso-butane, are very similar in properties and appearance. Since they are isomers, the chemical properties of these products are very similar, particular, the density. However, the difference in refractive index is wide enough to accurately and reliably distinguish between these two products.

Vaisala PolarisTM Process refractometer is typically installed in the main supply line and at the inlet of the product storage to provide proper identification of the hydrocarbons and fluid product interfaces and to make sure the right hydrocarbon product is delivered to the correct storage. Combining interface detection devices with automatic controls can minimize transmix of products, reduce waste, reduce the filling/unloading times, decrease safety risks, reduce sampling, and minimize operator errors.

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