This paper presents Chevron Oil Field Research Company’s operating experience using the sonic nozzle as a proving device for measuring natural gas flows in field tests. The nozzle reference flow rate was used for calibrating orifice, turbine, and vortex meters in three tests with a pipeline quality gas and an unprocessed natural gas as the working fluid. For pipeline gas, the field calibration results show good agreement between the sonic nozzle reference and a turbine meter while the accuracy of orifice metering is size dependent. The 4-in. (102-mm) orifice meter flow rates agree well with the nozzle reference, but the 16-in. (406-mm) orifice flow measurements are up to 2 percent lower. Deviations between the test meters and the sonic nozzles are generally larger for the unprocessed gas. These field projects demonstrate that sonic nozzles can be operated successfully as a prover for processed natural gas, while more work is needed to study the critical flow in nozzles for unprocessed natural gas.

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