Investigation of the Effects of Flowline Sizes, Flow Rates, Insulation Material, Type and Configuration on Flow Assurance of Waxy Crude

Ifeanyichukwu E. Onyegiri, Tobinson A. Briggs, Ekwe B. Ekwe


The recovery of hydrocarbons has gone into deep and ultra-deep waters. Typically, operations from such an environment make the system susceptible to flow assurance challenges. Operations with long subsea flowlines need special attention with respect to flow assurance problems, especially with respect to wax deposition and risk of hydrate formation. As a result, during such operations, it becomes very crucial to evaluate the flowline sizes, flow rates and subsea flowline lengths to minimize flow assurance problems. For the wax deposition control, the operating temperature must be maintained above wax appearance temperature (WAT) by either insulation or electrical heating depending on the cost and energy efficiency factors. In this study, several multiphase simulations were carried out using PIPESIM software to investigate the effects of flowline sizes, flow rates, insulation material, type and configuration on flow assurance of waxy crude over 10.2 km between the wellhead and the first stage separator on the platform. Considering the implications of these factors for flow assurance. The data and results obtained from this study suggest that line size of 0.29 m, the flow rate of 3280 m3/d, poly-urethane foam, and pipe-in-pipe insulation type are favourable to flow assurance of waxy crude with respect to maintaining the temperature of the fluids above the wax appearance temperature of 26 oC; and also to deliver the fluids to the platform at the recommended pressure of over 11 bar.

Keywords: Waxy Crude. Flow Assurance. Flow Rates. PIPESIM software, wax control.

DOI: 10.7176/ISDE/11-3-02

Publication date: April 30th 2020


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