Advanced Multiphase Facility officially opened11 October 2019

A £16 million Advanced Multiphase Facility (AMF) that will aim to help global oil and gas operators to ensure that production remains economically viable was officially opened by flow measurement R&D specialist TÜV SÜD National Engineering Laboratory on Thursday.

The AMF’s test range (of operating pressures, temperatures, flowrates and metrology) is said to be beyond the capability of any other laboratory in the world. Operating at pressures up to 140 bar, the AMF doubles previous test facility capabilities to meet industry’s current and future measurement challenges. With a working envelope at least 20 times larger than any multiphase or wet gas facility in the world, the AMF is also said to have the highest flow rate in the world (for both gas and liquid) within one multiphase facility.

Spanning 1,600 m2, the facility contains a £1.45 million, full production scale separator with an operating weight of 270 tonnes and offers an integrated subsea choke, as well as being capable of testing the complete range of flow meters. 2D, three-phase, x-ray tomography and sensors deliver high definition images of complex flows to expand industry’s understanding of fluid behaviours and their impact on measurement.

Construction of the AMF began in September 2017 and was officially opened on Thursday by Derek Mackay, the Scottish Government’s Cabinet Secretary for Finance, in front of TÜV SÜD staff, guests and the media.

Taking to the stage, Mackay said: “I am genuinely delighted to be here because on reading the briefing note and trying to full comprehend the technology that was here, I did confess privately, as a mere politician, I’m not entirely sure what goes on in the laboratory. So, I said on the tour, can you explain what exactly is going on in the laboratory and [was told] ‘I’m an engineering expert, I can tell you about a third of what is going on here’. So, I feel two-thirds better off now in terms of the facility.

“But I’ll tell you what I do know. I do know that the talented and skilled workforce, the investment and the work that has gone on here has helped attract the investment, and then the Scottish Enterprise’ resources has helped to ensure that new jobs have been created and that current jobs have been safeguarded here in East Kilbride.

“I think that is good news, that the wise investment that has been made has led to good things – not by design but by virtue of Scottish Engineering, more than half of the content here is Scottish-based. I think that is very welcome, not by any accident or rule, but because of the technological capabilities of the supply chain of Scotland that has been so.

“We are delighted to support [AMF] – it gives us global capacity and leadership, it will continue our journey on technology and innovation, and as we deliver the energy transition as well, this is a really important global facility, not just a good facility for Scotland or East Kilbride, with the unique capabilities that are here building on NEL’s expertise.

“Scotland is a world leader in multiphase flow measurement, and this is important in a journey to a more sustainable, secure and inclusive energy transition and that is why it has the support of the Scottish government and Scottish Enterprise. Congratulations to all involved.”

The AMF will focus predominantly on the £50-billion-per-annum global subsea sector and wet gas business, facilitating company-led industrial projects and product development, hands-on industry training and academic research. Creating at least 17 new jobs, the centre will futureproof the delivery of innovative technical services to the oil and gas production market for the next 25 years.

The development has been supported by Scottish Enterprise with £4.9 million of research and development funding. Alongside the grant from Scottish Enterprise, TÜV SÜD National Engineering Laboratory’s parent company, TÜV SÜD AG, also invested £11.1 million.

Dr Brian Millington, MD of TÜV SÜD National Engineering Laboratory, said: “The AMF’s world-leading research facilities will support the global oil & gas industry with both current and future measurement challenges, from well optimisation to fiscal accounting.

“While significant production opportunities exist in extreme environments, higher operating pressures and temperatures can impact the performance of multiphase flow measurement devices. The AMF will increase the viability of well exploitation by helping operators to more accurately measure multiphase flow and better understand the performance of production operations in these challenging but potentially profitable environments.”

Professor Axel Stepken, chairman of Board of Management of TÜV SÜD AG, added: “Measurement of multiphase flows is a key factor in understanding the performance of production operations and production optimisation.

"Together, we have created the conditions necessary for ensuring that Scotland, and with it the TÜV SÜD National Engineering Laboratory, will continue to set the pace of progress in flow measurement in the future.”

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Adam Offord

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