20:20 vision in sight

OE Staff
Tuesday, February 16, 2010

A new flow assurance solution promises improved accuracy as part of a next-generation integrated production management system and as a standalone engineering tool. OE looks at LedaFlow’s performance to date and future potential.

At 143km, the Snøhvit multiphase pipeline in the Barents Sea is one of the longest of its kind in the world and according to Kongsberg Oil & Gas Technologies, the developer of the production management system in use there, it demonstrates how important the integration of flow assurance and dynamic process simulation tools is for daily operation.

The simulator’s DPM (dynamic production model), which has developed from project feasibility through pre-engineering, commissioning and start-up to daily operation, is used as a ‘window-into-the-pipeline’ and acts as a dynamic simulation model of the pipeline conditions.

The pipeline calculations are performed by a flow assurance tool, a dedicated multiphase pipeline modelling software. The onshore and offshore equipment is modelled using the dynamic process simulation tool and both run on the same interface in order to provide the operator with a clear view of what is going on in the pipe.

Although the integration of flow assurance with dynamic process simulation to form a complete production management system is not a new concept – Kongsberg has been making similar deliveries now for over nine years and Snøhvit has been operational since August 2007 – there is a considerable industry demand for improved tools and technology to overcome the growing challenges of 21st century oil & gas production, such as longer and larger diameter flowlines, deeper field developments and harsher environments.

Kongsberg Oil & Gas Technologies has been working to meet this demand and to build on the lessons learnt from extensive projects such as Snøhvit through the development of LedaFlow, its proprietary flow assurance software. The product of nearly a decade of collaboration between Total, ConocoPhillips and Norwegian research group Sintef, LedaFlow has been further developed and commercialised by Kongsberg as an innovative integrated tool for oil & gas engineers.

LedaFlow is closer to the actual physics in the pipeline, rather than empirical data, and provides accurate 1D or quasi 3D simulation. It uses detailed 3D physical modelling and has been validated against the best available, most comprehensive experimental data. It is designed to exploit the power of high-performance computing to support decisions in real time and offers application possibilities that cover all engineering aspects including design, commissioning, operation and training.

‘It’s a step change in flow assurance, offering vastly improved functionality, fidelity, flexibility and accuracy for reduced risk, better performance and improved return on investment,’ says Jain. ‘Aside from the operational improvements enabled by LedaFlow, it also positions Kongsberg Oil & Gas Technologies as the only player able to offer proprietary integrated solutions consisting of flow assurance and dynamic process simulations,’ he claims.

Jain says that Kongsberg Oil & Gas Technologies’ new dynamic process simulation tool, K-Spice, is the perfect fit for LedaFlow. Integrated, they will perform highly accurate data in real-time for production management in addition to a planning mode for production planning.

‘The level of integration and the accuracy of the real time data surpass previous integrated solutions as the flow assurance and dynamic process simulation have been designed in-house with integration between the two high on the agenda,’ explains Jain. ‘We like to think of LedaFlow as the engine and K-Spice as the car that harnesses its power. However, integration is important, but LedaFlow has been designed to be flexible and we are working towards releasing it as a standalone engineering tool for pipe calculations and front-end engineering design also,’ he adds. OE

Categories: Pipelines Software Europe Flow Assurance

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