Meeting Bureau of Land Management’s Natural Gas Requirements While Saving Time and Money


Jamie Marsden

By Jamie Marsden, Business Development Manager, Gas Chromatographs, Emerson Automation Solutions

Are you faced with the challenge of meeting the measurement accuracy requirements of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM)? And do you have a plan of how you could ensure compliance while staying focused on production rather than gathering samples?

Gas producers must comply with the BLM 43 CFR 3175 regulations, which establish minimum standards for accurate measurement and proper reporting of all gas removed or sold from Federal and Indian (except the Osage Tribe) leases, units, Unit Participating Areas (PAs), and areas subject to Communitization Agreements (CAs).

The BLM rule provides a system for production accountability by operators, lessees, purchasers, and transporters. This rule establishes overall gas measurement performance standards and includes, among other things, requirements for the hardware and software related to gas metering equipment, reporting, and recordkeeping. The BLM rule also identifies certain specific acts of noncompliance that may result in an immediate assessment and provides a process for the BLM to consider variances from the requirements of this rule.

There’s a way to be compliant with these regulations while reducing measurement errors and the costs of complying with 40 CFR 3175. Simplifying the process can allow you to focus on production rather than gathering samples. The approach is to use the appropriate natural gas chromatograph (GC). For example, Emerson’s Rosemount™ 370XA and 770XA GCs reduce BTU measurement errors often found with spot sampling. The online sampling of field-mounted GCs eliminates the need for personnel to frequently travel to the Facility Measurement Point (FMP) to pull a sample; saving man hours and travel costs. The 370XA is ideal for C6+ applications while the 770XA is ideal for C9+ applications or where hydrocarbon liquids may be present. Both are compact in design, don’t require a shelter, offer low utility gas consumption, and operate on 24 Vdc. This makes them perfect for remote locations.

The 370XA and 770XA provide analysis per requirements of the Gas Processors Association (GPA). They offer fully pre-engineered custody transfer application solutions that provide accurate and repeatable measurement analysis for the heating value of natural gas (§§3175.118).

In addition, the use of an advanced GC software solution such as the Emerson MON2020 further simplifies compliance and reduces maintenance and operation costs. The software gives you complete control of the GC either locally or remotely. You can store 88 days of analysis results, over a year of final calibration results, and over 1,700 chromatograms. The analysis report provides heating value and relative density.

In total, a straightforward evaluation of technologies can save natural gas operators both time and money. Managing compliance using the appropriate gas chromatograph not only meets BLM 43 CFR 3175 regulatory requirements, it saves substantial time and money while allowing the user to employ a familiar, proven, and highly accurate technology for the job.

Do you use GCs to meet BLM requirements? What is your approach?

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