What is FMS or Flow Metering Skid?

What is FMS or Flow Metering Skid?

A Flow Metering Skid is a framed or moduled device on which various other assemblies are fitted for the measurement (flow rates) of gas or liquid products. The major purpose of using a metering skid is for custody transfer. They are designed and manufactured to fulfill the lowest uncertainty. At the same time, they optimize operation and maintenance costs.

The metering skid includes equipment for flow conditioning, filtration, automated or manual operational sequences, draining, venting, safety, maintenance, lifting, proving, sampling, etc. Mass or Volumetric flow rates as per the client’s specification are measured by such skids or packages. Depending on the requirements for measurement, this package can also be used for other treatments like flow control and cleanliness of fluid.

Flow Metering Skid Components

The main components of a metering skid (Fig. 1) are listed below:

  • The structural framework of the skid along with supporting members
  • The piping network
  • Applicable process equipment
  • The electrical power feed including the earthing system, the MCC, and all cabling and trays
  • The local instrumentation and control system includes the flow computer, personal computers, printers, and PLC.
Flow Metering Skid
Fig. 1: Typical Flow Metering Skid

Purpose of the metering skids

Metering skids can be used for various purposes as mentioned below:

  • Pressure regulation and metering stations
  • Fuel gas conditioning systems
  • Border metering stations
  • Offshore gas and liquid metering
  • CNG filling stations
  • Biomethane grid injection systems
  • Underground gas storage metering and control skids
  • LNG metering skids
  • Calibration facilities
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Application of metering skid

Offshore metering systems are used in FPSO, FSO, Platform / MOPU / TLP, and FLNG / FSRU. Onshore metering systems are used in Oil Production plants, Oil refineries, Gas Processing Plants, Petrochemical plants, Terminal, Tank farms, Pipelines, etc.

Few important considerations for FMS Design

The type and size of the FMS are based on fluid properties, required system uncertainty, flow rate, pressure drop, maintenance, proving requirements, and more. Different types of flowmeters such as the Positive Displacement meter (PD meter), Turbine meter, Ultrasonic Flowmeter (UFM), Coriolis meter, Orifice meter, V-Cone meter, and Venturimeter, etc. are used for flow metering.

A flow meter must be calibrated and validated at a certain interval of operating life to ensure the reliability and uncertainty of the system. The validation methodology and calibration intervals must be carefully decided as it plays a crucial role in the design of the metering system design.

For the optimum performance and operability of an FMS, the most critical items are the Metering Control System whose design depends on various functional applications and requirements with preferences for Flow Computer, PLC, and HMI manufacturers in line with the preferred operator infrastructure.

In addition to its metering capability-related design considerations, the system has to be designed and developed in the context of various external influences like availability, maintenance possibilities, safety procedures, ATEX and Ingress Protection, etc. 

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The design must strictly comply with project specifications and applicable international codes, standards, and regulations, etc.

FMS Packages, in general, contain two numbers of metering runs (2 x 100 % configuration) one-meter run as a duty or operating and another meter run as standby. Under normal operation mode, only one stream (Stream-A) shall be in operation as Duty Stream. This is calculated to be able to provide 100% flow rates required for the FMS skid. In this mode, the other stream (Stream-B) and Proving run should be fully isolated.

Caesar II image of typical FMS Skid
Fig. 2: Caesar II image of a typical FMS Skid

Operating & Control Philosophy

  • Prior to the operation of the FMS Skid, a line walk is required to ensure that all equipment is in good installed condition. 
  • Valve opening-close position shall be ensured to be as per PEFS (P&ID Drawing) requirements.
  • The stream intended to be placed in operation must be pressure-equalized with the inlet pressure.
  • All operation control of the metering stream shall be made using the operation of USV Valves in the inlet, outlet, and proving run of each metering stream. 

Few more Resources for You…

Types of Flowmeters and their Applications
What is Fluid Flow?
Piping Interface Related articles
Piping Design and Layout

Anup Kumar Dey

I am a Mechanical Engineer turned into a Piping Engineer. Currently, I work in a reputed MNC as a Senior Piping Stress Engineer. I am very much passionate about blogging and always tried to do unique things. This website is my first venture into the world of blogging with the aim of connecting with other piping engineers around the world.

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