Integrated Approach to Flow Assurance & Transportation

In the present day of increasing hydrocarbon demand, the direction of oil exploration has moved to ever increasing offshore depths and more remote land masses with harsher environments. To this end, our industry has to adapt to the increasing challenges that have to be faced to ensure that these hydrocarbons can still be economically recovered. The flow assurance strategies that are currently being deployed to achieve successful hydrocarbons recovery from these increasing technically challenged areas, increasingly demand an integrated approach to the design of the transportation systems. It is no longer the case that each element of a hydrocarbon development can be designed in isolation.

Flow Assurance is not just an analytical routine to predict the pressure and temperature profiles of single and multi-phase pipelines, but an advanced tool-set that models the flow of hydrocarbons from the well bore all the way to the process facilities and beyond. The tools now used in Flow Assurance have improved the engineer‟s insight into the critical parameters to the point where informed design improvements can be made that could not previously have been justified.

The paper will consider the problems faced by today‟s ever more extreme transportation requirements, review current advanced methodologies for flow assurance for transportation systems and show how integration of flow assurance into systems design vastly improves and in some case enables hydrocarbon developments. Observations will be provided in the form of three short case presentations that have implemented advanced techniques to achieve robust solutions. Specifically:

  • Flow assurance issues and implications for ultra deep transportation pipelines
  • Planning for the removal of hydrates from wet gas field developments
  • Understanding Carbon Capture and Storage transportation systems

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