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The COMPUTATEST digitizer used in Amerada scanning can be accurate to ±1μm. Computatest, one of a growing number of electronics companies involved in offshore development, found its niche in improving a 60-year-old piece of equipment, the Amerada. The Amerada is a mechanical gauge used to measure reservoir well pressure. The measurement is crucial for oil companies in predicting the amount of oil that might be forced up by natural well pressure. The tube-shaped gauge is lowered to the reservoir and left there for up to 360 hours, measuring the pressure increase as the wellhead valve is gradually opened. The gauge scratches a mark on a graphite-coated chart which is rotated by clockwork during the testing. The problem for the engineers has been the behavior of the Amerada under heat and pressure; performance varies under different conditions. Mr. David Waddell, one of Computatest’s founders, has designed a software package which takes into consideration the Amerada’s variable performance and applied it to the readings fed in by the petroleum engineer analyzing the graphite chart The correction factors have added to the efficiency of what the oil companies see as a tried and tested bit of equipment. Electronic pressure gauges are already probing this market, but in the view of Mr. Mike Ward, Computatest’s marketing executive, electronics has still not been able to operate reliably at temperatures above 300°F. The company has a licensing agreement for its new system with Britoil and BP. Like many small companies in the oil business expansion is fast and at times worrying. They are working on an overdraft facility to open an office in Houston, Texas.