Natural gas production in the United States increased in August for the eighth consecutive month, according to just-released figures from Bentek Energy, an analytics and forecasting unit of Platts.

That growth is driving equipment markets that supply oil & gas exploration and production. One example is flowmeter markets. Flow Research’s Jesse Yoder in two just-issued reports predicts healthy growth for both traditional and emerging flowmeter categories.

In addition, at a recent event held at its just completed customer center on its campus in Greenwood, Indiana, management of flowmeter and instrumentation device-provider Endress + Hauser presented an optimistic outlook on the North American and European markets.

Another factor mentioned in equipment growth is investment in water technologies, e.g., Coriolis meters sales growth.

In sum, said Endress + Hauser management at the event, they see a re-industrialization of the U.S. and continued growth here based on two factors: energy and information. They also noted, while there are substantial political problems in both North America and Europe, both regions are stable, which can’t be said of many other places in the world.

Average gas production in the lower 48 states in August, 2014 was near 69-billion Bcf/d. That's the highest monthly average on record and almost 4 Bcf/d, or six percent higher than the average in August 2013.

Following a production analysis of production receipt data, Bentek predicts that output in the whole of 2014 will average approximately 67.9 Bcf/d. Commenting on the August figures, Jack Weixel, director of energy analysis at Bentek Energy, says United States continues to break natural gas production ”almost on a daily basis.”

"What's even more notable is that all this occurred during a month where the market saw substantial pipeline maintenance in the Northeast and Southeast regions of the country. With this seasonal maintenance behind, a production boon is likely in September," Weixel concludes.

New’ tech flowmeter market grows

Research from Flow Research, Volume X: The World Market for Flowmeters, 5th Edition, finds that the worldwide new-technology flowmeter market totaled $4.0 billion in 2013 and is projected to grow substantially to exceed $5.7 billion by 2018.

New-technology flowmeters include Coriolis, magnetic, ultrasonic, vortex, and thermal flowmeters, all introduced after 1950 and today subject to intense supplier product development.

The Coriolis and ultrasonic flowmeter markets show the fastest growth, while vortex, magnetic, and thermal flowmeter markets are showing significant growth. Flow Research projects a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) in revenues for the total worldwide ultrasonic flowmeter market of 9.0 percent through 2018. The projected CAGR for the new-technology flowmeter market is 7.5 percent from 2013 to 2018.

Ultrasonic flowmeter suppliers introduced multipath ultrasonic meters with features for custody transfer of natural gas and petroleum liquids. Four Coriolis suppliers introduced Coriolis flowmeters for pipes with 8-16 inch diameters. Again, these meters target measurement of natural gas and petroleum liquids and for custody transfer applications.

Thermal flowmeters measure gas flows through large pipes, stacks, ducts, and chimneys that dispose of combustion gases. Other flowmeter types used include ultrasonic and differential pressure using averaging Pitot tubes. Vortex flowmeters benefit from a draft standard first approved by the American Petroleum Institute (API) for use in custody transfer. Custody transfer for steam flow has been a major beneficiary of this API approval.

Talking old school

The worldwide “traditional” technology flowmeter market totaled $2.7 billion in 2013 and is projected to grow to exceed $3.3 billion by 2018. Traditional technology flowmeters include differential pressure, positive displacement, turbine, open channel, and variable area flowmeters.

The differential pressure (DP) and open channel flowmeter markets show the fastest growth, with the DP flowmeter market the largest in terms of revenues. Flow Research projects a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) in revenues for the total worldwide traditional technology flowmeter market of 4.1 percent from 2013 to 2018.

Differential pressure flowmeters have been around for over 100 years, and used for liquid, gas, and steam flows. Differential pressure and turbine flowmeters in particular were the first to receive approvals from the American Gas Association (AGA) for use in custody transfer of natural gas.

Positive displacement flowmeters have also received approvals from the American Petroleum Institute (API) for use in custody transfer measurement of petroleum liquids. Here they compete with Coriolis flowmeters that have also received API approvals for this purpose.