Flow assurance study involves a cost-effective approach to produce and transport fluids from the reservoir to a processing facility. During production and transportation of crude oil, fluid properties and operating conditions must be monitored. The challenge is to preventing formation and deposition of undesired solids (e.g. hydrates, wax, sand, scales, emulsions, slugging & asphaltenes) with the required temperature and pressure.
Flow assurance study shall ensure the uninterrupted flow throughout the pipe network in multi-phase fluid (oil, gas & other components) in upstream, midstream & downstream oil & gas industry. The study will provide the detailed mitigation measures to manage the risk of processing the formation and deposition fluids in pipeline with appropriate flow assurance simulation software.
If there is a potential for wax appearance below temperature range (cloud point of the reservoir fluid) in upstream oil field, wax deposition may take place in the production flow line and associated processing facilities. To avoid wax deposition in process the temperature shall be maintained above the wax appearing temperature.
The presence of free water in oil & gas production pipelines aids the formation of hydrates under certain pressure and temperature conditions. Hydrates formation will partially or fully block the fluid flow in pipes, which results in backpressure on the wellhead and reduced well production.
Hydrate formation temperatures are estimated at various stages of processing. The fluid temperature during various stages of processing are maintained above hydrate formation temperature. For that various heater and the heat tracing for the process lines to be provided based on the flow assurance study report.
Some of potential areas has been mentioned below in upstream oil & gas facility where hydrate formation may occur.
To achieve flow assurance and manage integrity of the system, sand monitoring and removal facilities are to be provided. The early warning of sand production from a well or production stream can be monitored using a sand detector strapped on to the inlet flow lines. Sand sampling facility is provided to prevent sand carryover.
Scale formation may occur in the flow line and due to mixing of water injected to well to maintain the pressure in reservoir. The appropriate scale inhibitor shall be recommended through flow assurance study which will ensure the flow rate assured in pipelines.