Every lab detail equals perfection

Posted by Matthew Loveley, PhD. on Feb 25, 2018 2:30:00 PM

Most labs handle samples, chemicals and testing equipment. At Zedi’s Permian Basin lab, we handle money. Your money, and potentially tens of millions of dollars of it.

Oh, sure, we do handle samples, chemicals and testing equipment—but the only reason we do that is to let clients know what they’re selling quality hydrocarbons into the pipeline or other companies.

Our most popular oil and gas lab tests include natural gas and liquid hydrocarbons (NGLs, condensates, LPGs and crude oil), flash tests and flash liberation studies.

Our customers send these samples to us because the meter in the field just tells them the total volume of production. In addition, they need to know the composition of the substance they’re producing so they can get paid for exactly what they’re putting into, essentially, “the big pot.”

hydrocarbons flash test

This is why we treat every sample with eagle-eyed intensity. We’re meticulous about following Gas Processors Association (GPA) guidelines to the tiniest detail. We make sure the sample is tested at exactly the right temperature and pressure for the greatest accuracy. For example, if a gas sample were to be too cool, well, it will likely condense out into liquids, which would skew the test. We have to do our test at exactly the temperature and pressure it was at the delivery point, where the meter is. Our accuracy decides how tens of millions of dollars are allocated over course of a year.

We essentially have to be perfect. Every time.

Building up a history with each customer helps us quickly spot anomalies. If the content ratio suddenly changes compared to previous history, we’ll ask to verify if they collected and transported the sample properly, or if there indeed was a known change in production.

We also check every sample for nitrogen.

Why?

Because that tells us if the sample was exposed to the air. We keep records of baseline Nitrogen content of each basin, most of which are usually 2 percent or less. If we see concentrations of 3-5 percent, we know there was a bad connection to the bottle or some other collection parameter wasn’t met, so it’s likely that these results are biased and we can’t trust them.

We take these and other carefully controlled precautions for two reasons: First, we know we’re handling your money and second, we want to you know you can trust us for the truth.

Other tests include H2S, BTEX (benzene, toluene, xylene, ethylbenzene) and other hazardous and regulated substances.

How often do we do these tests? It depends on the customers needs, ranging anywhere from monthly to quarterly (the most popular option) to semi-annually to yearly.

As you can imagine, most of our samples come from the Permian Basin, particularly the Midland and Delaware Basins—the hopping areas. But we also get samples from southeast New Mexico and Oklahoma.

I love doing this because I’m really detail-oriented anyway. I love digging deep, looking for patterns to analyze and learn from. Let us know if we can do that for you!

 

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Topics: Lab Services, Measurement, Oil Sample test