Oil Level Measurement Solutions for the Oil & Gas Industry

Oil Level measurements are necessary to control the amount of oil in the tank and to prevent overflow. Oil Level measurements are very important in the process of oil and gas storage and transportation. We will analyze and introduce the automatic level measurement here. Hope to help you!

Oil level measurement solutions for the oil & gas industry

The Necessity of Oil tank level measurement

-In the process of oil and gas storage and transportation, accurately measure the height of the liquid level in the large oil storage tank. This is an important measure to correctly calculate oil storage, determine inventory, and calculate transportation.

-In oil and gas production, especially in oil and gas gathering, transportation, storage, and transportation systems, oil, natural gas, and associated sewage must be separated, stored, and processed in various production equipment and tanks. The measurement and control of the level are essential to ensure normal production and equipment safety. Otherwise, a major accident will occur.

-For example, if the oil tank level measurement is not well controlled, there will be evacuated or oil spill “roofing” accidents. If the liquid level of the oil-air separator is too high or too low, “oil running” and “gas blow-by” accidents will occur. Seriously affect the production and safety of subsequent equipment;

-The high oil-water interface in the electric dehydrator will destroy the electric field. If it is low, it will carry oil in the water and affect production.

The Basic Concept of Level

  • Level—refers to the general term of the liquid level of the liquid medium, the level of solids or the level of particles in the container and the interface between two different liquid media.
  • Liquid level-the height of the liquid medium in the container
  • Material level-the accumulation height of solid or granular substances in the container
  • Interface level – the level of the interface of two immiscible liquids medium

Extended Reading: How to Measure Volume of Liquid

Classification of Oil Level Measurement

According to the measurement method, it can be divided into continuous measurement and fixed-point measurement.

According to its working principle, it can be divided into the following types:

  1. Direct reading type It measures the liquid level based on the principle of fluid connectivity.
  2. Buoyancy type It measures the liquid level according to the principle that the height of the float changes with the height of the liquid or the buoyancy of the liquid to the float (or sinker) immersed in the liquid changes with the height of the liquid. The former is called constant buoyancy, and the latter is called variable buoyancy.
  3. Differential pressure type (static pressure type) It measures the level according to the principle of the change in the static (differential) pressure generated at a certain point by the change in the height of the liquid column or the material accumulation.
  4. Electrically, it measures the level based on the principle of converting level changes into various changes in electricity.
  5. Nuclear radiation type It measures the liquid level based on the principle that when the nuclear radiation of the isotope rays penetrates the material, its intensity changes with the thickness of the material layer.
  6. Acoustic It measures the level according to the changes in acoustic impedance and reflection distance caused by changes in the level

Read more about: 7 Level Senors for Tank Level Measurement 

Direct measurement is one of the simplest and most intuitive measurement methods. It uses the principle of communicating devices. The liquid in the container is introduced into an observation tube with a ruler. Read the height of the liquid level by the ruler

Such as a glass tube level gauge.

Extended Reading: GWR Level Sensor for High Temperature & High Pressure

Manual gauge level measurement is a basic method for measuring the volume and quality of liquids in various storage tanks.

It has the characteristics of simple operation, accurate measurement, and no auxiliary equipment. It is still the main measurement method in the crude oil gathering and transportation process of various oil fields.

When measuring with a gauge, first measure the height of the liquid level in the tank, and then calculate the volume and mass of the liquid in the tank according to the cross-sectional area of the tank or the large tank volume table.

The tool used by the gauge to measure is steel tape with a copper weight on the lower end. In order to facilitate the oil measuring operation, an oil measuring port is provided on the top of the tank. An oil measuring pipe is installed under the oil measuring port, and a hole is drilled at the bottom end of the pipe to communicate with the liquid. The purpose of setting the oil measuring pipe is to reduce the influence of the liquid level fluctuation in the tank on the oil measuring.

Extended reading: High Temperature Flow Meter

The magnetic flip level gauge has a firm structure, reliable work, and an eye-catching display.

Since the measured liquid is completely sealed and magnetic coupling transmission is used, it can measure high temperature, high pressure, and opaque viscous liquids, such as crude oil, sewage, etc.

The disadvantage is that after long-term use, the magnetism of the magnetic steel is degraded. Wear of the flap shaft can easily cause the wrong indication
Therefore, it should be checked and corrected regularly.

Extended reading: Industrial Tank level indicators and Tank Level Gauges

The buoyancy method to measure the liquid level is based on the principle of force balance, usually with the help of floats. The float is made into a hollow rigid body so that it can float on the liquid surface when it is balanced. When the liquid level changes, the float will move up and down with the liquid level. Therefore, by measuring the displacement of the float, the amount of liquid level change can be known.

Float type level gauges can be divided into float type, float type, etc. according to different float shapes;

According to different institutions, it can be divided into steel belt type and lever type.

Extended reading: What is a capacitive liquid level sensor?

It is measured based on the pressure generated by the weight of the liquid.

Since the static pressure generated by the liquid on the bottom surface of the container is proportional to the height of the liquid level. Therefore, the liquid level can be calculated by measuring the pressure of the liquid in the container.

Extended Reading: Petroleum Flow Meter

Ultrasonic level gauges use the propagation characteristics of waves in the medium.

Therefore, install an ultrasonic transmitter and receiver at the bottom or top of the container. The emitted ultrasonic waves are reflected at the phase interface. And it is received by the receiver. The time difference between ultrasonic wave transmission and reception is measured. The liquid level can be measured.

Read more: Guide: Non-contact Ultrasonic Level Sensing transmitters

According to different working principles, the electrical method can be divided into resistive, inductive, and capacitive.

Using electrical methods to measure frictionless parts and movable parts, signal conversion and transmission are convenient. It is convenient for remote transmission, reliable work, and the output can be converted into a unified electrical signal. Used in conjunction with the electric unit combination instrument. Can easily realize automatic detection and automatic control of liquid level.

Extended reading: Non Contact Liquid Level Sensor Working Principle

Radar level transmitters use radar technology to perform the non-contact continuous level measurement. The radar level indicator converts the level into an electrical signal. The level signal output can then be utilized by other instrumentation to monitor or control. Liquids and solids are commonly measured with this measuring technique. Like: Fly ash silo. Radar level sensors are divided into Pulsed radar technology and frequency modulated continuous wave (FMCW) radar level sensors.

Sino-Inst produces a 120GHz FMCW radar level sensor, 26GHz radar level meter, 6GHz level meter.

The magnetostrictive liquid level sensor that uses the principle of magnetoelectric conversion for liquid level measurement is a new product launched in recent years.

Extended reading: Diesel fuel tank level gauges & indicators

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Performance characteristics and selection of common oil tank level gauges

The intermediate tank only monitors parameters such as liquid level, temperature, and pressure (pressure storage tank) to prevent accidents such as roof capping and vacuuming of the oil tank. There is no need for handover monitoring and measurement;

The liquid level, temperature, density, volume, and quality of the medium in the trade tank must be monitored and measured frequently, and the accuracy is very high.

Performance comparison of Oil level measurement

Level gaugeLight oilCrude oilHeavy oilAsphaltLiquefied gasOther liquids
Magnetic flap level gaugeokokokpoorNovery good
FloatokokokpoorNovery good
Static pressureGreatGreatokpoorokGreat
Magnetically inducedGreatGreatGreatpoorGreatGreat

Extended reading: Radar Oil Tank Level Sensor

Oil Tank level measurement instruments for different media

Level gaugeLevel measurementTemperature deletionDensity deletionBoundary measurementVolume measurementQuality deletionInstallation situationCost
Magnetic flapHigh precisionCan not be measuredCan not be measuredSmall errorDepends on TDDepends on Tρsimplelow
FloatHigh precisionCan not be measuredCan not be measuredMistaken sheepDepends on TDDepends on Tρsimplelow
radarHigh precisionimportantUnable to deleteUnable toSmall errorDepends on Tρsimplehigh
Hydrostatic pressureBig errorunimportantSmall errorUnable toBig errorDepends on TρcomplexRelatively high
Magnetically inducedHigh precisionimportantUnable to deleteHigh precisionSmall errorDepends on Tρcomplexhigh
UltrasoundHigh precisionunimportantCan not be measuredUnable toSmall errorDepends on Tρcomplexhigh

Explore Oil and Gas Flow Meters

Selecting Guide for Oil level measurement

  1. Oil tank volume
  2. ·Oil tank use
    • High-precision level gauges should be used for trade tanks, and general level gauges can be used for intermediate tanks;
  3. Medium characteristics
    • When storing high-viscosity media (such as heavy oil), try to use a level gauge that does not or has little contact with the measured medium. Such as radar type, ultrasonic type and magneto-induced level gauge, light oil can use general level gauge;
  4. Actual needs of users
    • ·If the user requires high measurement accuracy and low investment restrictions, a level gauge with good performance can be used. Under normal circumstances, the old tank area can be retrofitted or updated according to the use and maintenance of the original level gauge.

Extended reading: The Secret of Ultrasonic Level Measurement

Featured Oil level measurement devices


Measuring and monitoring fluid levels accurately and precisely requires choosing the correct methodology for the target medium and vessel.

Generally, you will choose among six methods for measuring and monitoring fluid levels, each with advantages and disadvantages:

  • Continuous float level transmitters
  • Differential pressure transmitters
  • Load cells
  • Radar level transmitters
  • Radio Frequency (RF capacitive level transmitters)
  • Ultrasonic level transmitter

A tank level sensor is a level sensor used to measure the tank level. The liquid level is the level of the liquid in a sealed container (such as a water tank) or an open container (water tank). The instrument that measures the liquid level is called a liquid level sensor, a liquid level gauge, or a liquid level transmitter. The liquid level sensor is a kind of level instrument. Hydrostatic, Ultrasonic, Magnetostrictive, Radar, Differential Pressure are common choices for tank level measurement. Liquid level sensors have been around for decades for leak detection or level measurement. Commonly measured mediums are Water, Fuel, Diesel, Gasoline, diesel, liquefied gas, liquid ammonia, etc.

Extended reading: Ultrasonic Oil Level Sensor-External Paste-Truck Fuel Tank

Different tank level sensors have different measurement principles. Such as mechanical, radar, ultrasonic, etc.

Extended reading: ultrasonic level sensor for diesel tank

In the petrochemical industry in order for the crude oil process to run continuously and smoothly care has to be taken when storing raw and finished products. Delivery of the crude oil is via pipeline or ship and stored in a large tank until it is ready for final processing.

Accurate level measurement of products of distillation is essential whilst they are being stored in different sized tanks.

In the past, it was expensive as calibratable measuring devices were implemented for level measurement. Nowadays cheaper and low-maintenance measuring systems are used for small and medium-sized tanks. Products are now usually measured by calibratable flow meters while being moved.

Extended Reading: Industrial petrol flow meters Types

Read more about: Capacitive Level Measurement System

Sino-Inst offers over 50 Solutions for Tank Level Sensing. About 50% of these are float liquid level meters, 40% are the level switches.

A wide variety of Solutions for Tank Level Sensing options are available to you, such as free samples, paid samples.

Sino-Inst is a globally recognized supplier and manufacturer of Solutions for Liquid Level Measurement instrumentation, located in China.

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About KimGuo11

Wu Peng, born in 1980, is a highly respected and accomplished male engineer with extensive experience in the field of automation. With over 20 years of industry experience, Wu has made significant contributions to both academia and engineering projects. Throughout his career, Wu Peng has participated in numerous national and international engineering projects. Some of his most notable projects include the development of an intelligent control system for oil refineries, the design of a cutting-edge distributed control system for petrochemical plants, and the optimization of control algorithms for natural gas pipelines.