FIM provide expertise in the following areas:
Oil and Gas Field Development and Operations Optimization.
Renewable Energies Design, Development and Offshore Power Generation.
FIM can undertake flow assurance studies either as third party verification work or as targeted investigations and assessments on existing or planned facilities. An integrated flow assurance service is offered as follows:
Multiphase transportation: Integrated Well/Pipeline/ Riser/Topsides Hydraulics,through steady and transient state analysis, including boosting where required
Environmental Safety Analysis
Technical Audits and Peer Reviews
Pipeline Pigging Evaluation
Development of Operating Philosophies through systems flow assurance evaluation
FIM can assist in the process of field development optimisation to achieve low cost facilities for each field development type. Modelling is undertaken through computer- simulation of alternative field development options such as: multiphase pumping, separation at the wellhead, artificial lift, reservoir maintenance / enhancement (water/gas injection), taking account of reservoir characteristics and the proximity of existing facilities. An integrated reservoir, flowline and riser and receiving facilities hydraulics analysis can be performed to optimise the total facilities and maximise recovery potential.
The integrated hydraulics analysis of the total system linked to costing software such as Que$tor or Field Options can be used to develop an optimised field development strategy for the field type through the life of the field. The activities in this process are summarised as follows:
Reservoir Development Strategies
Greater Understanding of
– Reservoir Behaviour
Improve Concept Designs via Innovation
Reduce Detailed Engineering Costs
Optimum Strategies for Field Type
Improve Life of Field Economics
Enhanced Reservoir Production
In order to maximise recovery and increase productivity from the reservoir, the appropriate pressure boosting technologies are required for the associated field operating conditions.
The following production boosting equipment analysis is currently available through either our in-house or commercially available software programs.
Flow assurance can constitute the following:
Hydrates, wax, asphaltene, emulsions and scale mitigation or control and management;
Minimising operational disruption through slug mitigation and production instability
System integrity and assurance through corrosion and erosion management and design.
Integrated Production and Chemical injection systems analysis.
These issues are discussed individually in the sections below.
Slugging has been a major operational issue for subsea oil/gas field developments for many years causing inadvertent shut down of processing equipment resulting in a total shutdown of the entire field with consequent loss in production and revenue.
FIM has developed the necessary skills to evaluate and provide solutions to slugging either from natural hydrodynamic, severe riser or terrain induced or from a combination of system operational modes. The mitigation of slugging and associated gas surge rates in pipeline transportation systems is undertaken by the use of mechanistic based multiphase transient models e.g. Olga.
A number of operating modes for subsea and topsides systems transporting gas or multiphase fluids can result in choked flow causing gas expansion and cooling. The design and specification of materials to protect against low temperatures to ensure integrity requires detailed transient analysis methods.
FIM staff have been involved with subsea field developments where low temperatures and as a result hydrates formation during start-up were major issues. FIM can provide the material specifications where low temperatures can occur, e.g. at well start-up or during normal operations for gas lift systems.
The process of analysis in evaluating the consequence of wax and hydrates is summarised as follows:
Wax Modelling deposition/Prediction
Wax crystallization from the production fluids can occur through either the process of Molecular Diffusion and Shear Dispersion during transport between the production well and the host processing facility primarily as a result of a drop of the fluid temperature. The mass transfer between the liquid and solid phase causes a build up of wax on the inner walls of the pipeline.
It is therefore necessary to predict the levels of wax buildup for anticipated production operations in order to assess best wax mitigation measures required by the production operator.
Depending upon the production and environmental system characteristics, the following wax mitigation options can be assessed to for minimum cost and risk:
If the production fluids temperature drops below the cloud point or wax appearance temperature then solid wax deposition can cause a total blockage of the flow path. If wax onset and deposition is unavoidable during production operations, then its management, control and removal is undertaken through the following type of operations:
Melting through liquid circulation
Similar to the formation of solids in the pipeline due to wax deposition, solids can also be formed by the formation of hydrates. Hydrates result from a combination of low temperatures and high pressures in the pipeline system. The options generally considered to avoid hydrate formation are as follows:
Use of Inhibitors (thermodynamic, kinetic or anti agglomerates)
Heating – Fluid Circulation, Tracing, etc.
Reduction in Pressure (Procedures)
Separation – Free water removal
FIM can provide an integrated thermo-hydraulics analysis of the transportation system for the anticipated operations and provide the best operational strategies to minimise / simplify operating procedures.
Asphaltenes are polar compounds that are stable in crude due to the presence of resins. However, the resin content can be diluted by the introduction of light hydrocarbons e.g. by depressurisation below the bubble point or gas injection. This can then cause the asphaltenes to flocculate and deposit in the flow path. Generally if the ratio of resins to asphaltenes is high then deposition is unlikely.
FIM can confirm the potential of asphaltenes by performing a SARA (Saturates, Aromatics, Resins and Aspaltenes) fluid property analysis using phase behaviour modelling.
Under a combination of low ambient sea temperatures and high viscosity due to inversion water cut conditions tight emulsions can occur between the water and oil phases, which can impair separation efficiency and can cause loss in production. Under these conditions the fluids rheology can change from Newtonian to non-Newtonian characteristics exhibiting high yield stresses.
FIM can assist in analysing and modelling this phenomenon to ensure that systems start up is always possible by a combination of laboratory fluids characterisation and hydraulics modelling.
When waters of a different composition are mixed, solubility of the compounds such as barium sulphate (BaSO4), strontium sulphate (SrSO4) and calcium carbonate (CaCO3) may be exceeded, resulting in the precipitation of these elements.
Scale formation may occur at any point along the production path from the formation to the production facilities, although in general the greatest impairment is usually experienced when precipitation occurs in the production tubing.
FIM can provide valuable assistance and input in identifying scale associated issues from field development experience.
Various mechanisms have been postulated for the corrosion process but all involve either carbonic acid or the bicarbonate ion formed on dissolution of CO2 in water, this leads to rates of corrosion greater than those expected from general acid corrosion at the same pH.
Multiphase flow characteristics should be considered as part of the corrosion control / management strategy.
FIM can provide the necessary input to corrosion development strategies by integrating multiphase flow behaviour with corrosion inhibitors using transient simulation tools.
Erosion due to sand production has been seen as the cause of a number of problems associated with separation efficiency, erosion and flow path blockages. Sand screens are generally installed in the horizontal sections of the well bores to minimise sand production; however, failure of these screens is possible.
FIM can provide guidelines in operating procedures to avoid excessive material erosion and minimise loss in production using API recommended practices.
Capabilities in sizing of both topside and subsea separators based on flow dynamics internal to these devices, including slug catcher sizing has been developed to an advanced art. Prediction of separator efficiencies being performed using both one-dimensional bubble capture and particle dynamics and 3D Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) techniques have been utilised in design engineering.
FIM can provide the design and integrated operational analysis for separation and transportation systems, both subsea and topsides, through a number of associate companies who undertake CFD.
Chemical Injection Systems
The analysis of the fluid physical behaviour will identify the possibilities of solid formation or deposition in the pipeline. This can lead to partial or total blockage, through hydrate formation, wax deposition, scale deposition etc.
FIM can size chemical injection lines to inhibit against the formation of hydrates, wax, emulsions, scale and foams and corrosion prevention using the appropriate inhibitor chemicals. The chemical injection requirements can then be integrated with the rest of the system design.
Development of Operational Philosophies
The evaluation of aspects will enable the development the total system operational strategies / philosophies and lead to the development of detailed operating procedures.
FIM can advise on and undertake the following in the area of clean and renewable energies:
Training courses for the range of renewable energies.
Power generation from offshore sources.
Design, development and evaluation of the suitability of renewable energies.