Technical Paper: Employing Flow Assurance in an Offshore FEED Study

Society: SPE
Paper Number: 116254
Presentation Date: 2008
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Flow assurance has taken on a primary role in FEED studies as of late and has become a standard tool to test design ideas, design changes, and operating strategies.  The expectation from such studies is to lower the risk of flow assurance related problems, thereby minimizing both capital expenditures and operating costs.  This discussion includes both the methodology and the results of the flow assurance study.

Production is located offshore and is made up of two platforms with a 25 kilometer flowline between them.  The production stream is the combination of production from 5 wells and contains oil, water, and gas.  This combined fluid presents primarily two flow assurance related problems: slugging and wax decomposition.

In the case described herein, simulation tools incorporated the carious data to create an understanding of the three typical operating scenarios:

  • normal production operations and the respective flowline characteristics
  • planned and un-planned shutdowns with resultant fluid cool-down behavior
  • start-up methodology and subsequent transient behavior

A review of the methodology of the FEED study includes a discussion of what constitutes the necessary input data, how that data was used, how design changes were treated, and how other engineering aspects utilized these results for the final design. 

The resulting simulated operations of the production system are presented.  This includes the thermal behavior of the flowline, the changing fluid characteristics, and the associated temperatures and pressures with respect to the operating methodologies and mitigation techniques.

Finally, what makes this study possible is the use of state of the art dynamic simulation technology to delineate complex behavior in flowline systems.  A discussion of the computing power and the software capabilities required for such an involved set of variables is provided.

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