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Process and Flow Assurance

EPCONSULT has considerable experience in facilities definition and selection, equipment sizing, dynamic process simulation and flow assurance for oil and gas processing facilities and pipeline systems. These services are provided as specialist studies during conceptual engineering, FEED or detailed engineering.

The initial selection and sizing of facilities are carried out at the conceptual engineering stage in order to determine weights and capital/operating costs for optional development concepts.

Process and flow assurance

EPCONSULT is particularly efficient in conducting process and flow assurance studies due to our in-depth understanding of the background theory, our vast experience in the oil and gas industry and our highly skilled team of process engineers .

EPCONSULT also provides other services related to process engineering such as process plant and pipeline risk analysis and process plant asset integrity management.

Dynamic Simulation

Dynamic simulations provide powerful, detailed insights into process dynamics and plant behavior that can be used to improve the design, operability, safety, and productivity of processing facilities while minimizing capital and operational costs. Historically, these would have been performed during detailed engineering but are increasingly being recognized as lifecycle tools that can be highly valuable in assessing options and practicalities at concept selection as well as having an ongoing role to play in ensuring that performance remains at optimum levels.

EPCONSULT is highly skilled in the area of dynamic process simulation and makes use of the leading commercial software.

Dynamic simulation studies are particularly useful in evaluating:

  • Process development and design
  • Equipment design and costing
  • Operational performance
  • Start-up, shut-down and commissioning procedures
  • Control system design, in particular settings and calibration
  • Environmental compliance and safety procedures

Process Control

Effective process performance requires the efficient operation of process equipment and their associated control systems.

Process control and advanced process control (APC) is an important aspect for the oil and gas industry, which faces the challenge of maximizing the profitability of process operations, while meeting safety, operating, and product quality constraints. EPCONSULT provides solutions in this area which include:

  • Design and checking of existing instrument loops and packages, including logic and validation;
  • Analysis of stabilization of the operations after process upset, shut down and start-up, process instabilities and system failure response;
  • Design, dynamic simulation and tuning of special-purpose control systems, including compressor anti-surge and performance control;
  • Establishing valve opening/closing time requirements, required valve CV's (e.g. anti-surge recycle valves), valve characteristics, etc;
  • Developing of subsea control strategies, including overpressure protection systems, High Integrity Pressure Protection Systems (HIPPS) and flowline Subsea Isolation Systems (SSIS) (add link to SIL and FTA);
  • Developing subsea shutdown systems and philosophies to comply with safe operations, current regulations and guidelines;
  • Design, consulting and studies in process safeguarding, Instrumented Protective Functions (IPF), Availability and Reliability Analysis (add link to RAM analysis);
  • Determination of Safety Critical Systems (SCE) to comply with the requirements of Prevention of Fire, Explosion and Emergency Response (PFEER), Performance Standards and Written Scheme of Examination (WSE);

Flow Assurance Services

EPCONSULT offers consulting services and field trouble-shooting to help clients solve their flow assurance problems. Our services address a broad range of flow assurance services, including design and operations support through latest transient multiphase pipeline simulation tools, computational fluid and process dynamics analysis and thermodynamics modelling.

We provide the following flow assurance services:

  • Multiphase flow analysis for interfield flowlines and transportation pipelines, including steady state and transient flow analyzes
  • Assessment of different types of solids in a fluid, including sand which can lead to erosion, and waxes, asphaltenes and scale which can lead to internal wall deposits and reduced efficiency or blockage
  • Analyses of the threat of hydrates development, including analysis into the adequacy of low dosage hydrate inhibitors (LDHI) for specific projects
  • PVT and rheology investigations such as emulsion characteristics, heavy oil recovery techniques, phase behavior and characterization
  • Corrosion studies to ensure that an intended flow assurance design would not be compromised due to different types of corrosion mechanisms (see Asset Integrity Management).

Our analytical capabilities include steady-state flow, transient and multiphase flow using the latest simulation tools such as OLGA2000 and Pipesim2000.

EPCONSULT worked with Total E&P in conceptual development of a subsea flowline system tying into an existing gas export pipeline for the Carina Development Project in Argentina.

EPCONSULT worked with Saipem and Dolphin Energy providing transient process simulation for the Dolphin sealines and the 380km 48" gas export pipeline.

Gas Hydrate Management

In offshore drilling and production operations, gas hydrates may cause major and potentially hazardous flow assurance problems. Typical areas of concern are the multiphase pipeline systems in deepwater, where the low seabed temperature and the high operating pressures increase the potential of blockage due to gas hydrates formation. The threat of gas hydrates can be reduced by careful attention in the early stages of projects.

EPCONSULT's key service areas for gas hydrate analysis comprise:

  • Predicting the hydrate stability zones with and without inhibitors
  • Predicting the effect of processing parameters such as temperature and pressure on the hydrate stability zone
  • Avoiding gas hydrate problems in well clean-up and testing, pipeline start-ups and shut-downs
  • Analysis and optimization of hydrate avoidance strategies, including dehydration, heated pipeline systems, injection of thermodynamic and/or kinetic inhibitors
  • Design and performance of chemical products to perform multiple functions such as LDHI, paraffin and corrosion inhibitors
  • Analysis of health safety and environmental impact with regard to inhibitor recovery and disposal
  • Development and planning of efficient hydrate recovery strategies, including pipeline depressurisation and dissociation of gas hydrate plugs

EPCONSULT offers a proven expertise on optimized process efficiency and gas hydrates management. We provide services in selecting cost effective solutions that minimize the risks associated with hydrates in pipelines and production systems.

EPCONSULT also provides a variety of services in field development concepts for natural gas hydrate accumulations and dry hydrate bulk transport systems.

Heavy Oils Recovery

Heavy oil reserves are located in many countries, with an estimated total resource of 8 trillion barrel in place. The recovery of heavy oil deposits represents one the most important challenges for the oil industry.

EPCONSULT worked with Chevron Europe and offered theoretical input to conceptual selection criteria for heavy oil developments.

EPCONSULT offers a variety of services in both heavy oil field development concepts and upgrading processes. Our innovative approach takes the following form in an iterative approach:

  • Evaluation of the current developments in heavy oil recovery (EOR)
  • Development of drilling strategies such as horizontal wells
  • Assessment of the performance of thermal and chemical solutions that would stand up to the pressure, temperature and viscosity rigors of the reservoir
  • Equipment performance analysis such as demulsifier effectiveness and separation performance
  • Study of operational upsets, shut-down and start-up
  • Environmental impact assessment and chemical disposal strategies
  • Analysis of alternative markets for heavy oils, including alternative fuel technology analysis (MSAR)

EPCONSULT also provides many other services related to process engineering such as process plant and pipeline risk analysis, asset integrity management and risk-based inspection.

Please contact us for a discussion of how we may be able to help you with any aspect of your process and flow assurance activities.


 
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