UWA Tiebacks Symposium: 26 November 2019

We are pleased to welcome you to the November 2019 UWA Tiebacks Symposium. This event is designed to provide you with an opportunity to examine the ongoing gas hydrates and flow assurance research within the Centre for Long Subsea Tiebacks of the University of Western Australia. The feedback you provide on these presentations is critical to maintaining a vibrant research effort that advances both student knowledge and industrial capability. This meeting builds upon the research themes developed in our Flow Assurance Workshops over the past six years, and is organised around three themes that are integral to the success of long tiebacks:

Theme #1: Developing a Subsea Future. A primary focus of this Symposium is understanding and developing confidence in subsea technologies to improve the safety, reliability and environmental impact of offshore energy production. Our first talk will discuss an industry vision of the subsea factory concept, where primary production will move to the sea floor, enabling us to alleviate operational impact on the highly bio-diverse upper ocean. The motivation, challenges and potential solutions will be explored in the context of the research expertise available within the Centre for Long Subsea Tiebacks. Our second talk will tackle a key issue in enabling the subsea factory, namely creation of reliable, compact, three-phase separators. Deployment of this technology will substantially reduce the impact of a range of flow assurance problems, from corrosion, scale and hydrates management perspectives. The final talk in this section will examine advances in our ability to model the severity of hydrate formation by taking advantage of the OLGA Extensibility framework. This update shows significant improvements in our ability to model complex systems while improving the overall computational efficiency. When coupled with experimental work, we will examine how the Gas Dominant Hydrate Extension can be used to simulate the effect of novel composite pipeline materials over long tiebacks on the order of 100 km. Predictions in this space will show that there is a significant potential for future work towards reducing or eliminating MEG injection in composite pipelines The most recent version of this freeware tool is available from our Software page.

Theme #2: Advanced Sensing Technologies for High Water-Cut Systems. A primary goal of the Centre for Subsea Tiebacks is to assist industry in improving our understanding of THI injection requirements to enable optimization of injection management. We are pleased, through NERA funding of the HyJump Consortium, to be able to present data gathered from the advanced Aquawatcher v2 aqueous phase sensing system. This unique sensor has been deployed on the HyJump flowloop to track the local quantity of MEG and water present in the system, and has shown potential for hydrate detection. Widespread deployment of such sensors has significant applicability in metering for inhibitor dosing optimisation. High water-cut systems are of key importance for many systems, ranging from brown fields oil reservoirs, through gas systems, to the coming generation of natural hydrate production developments. Modelling of such systems has been notoriously difficult due to a paucity of data, and, in particular, difficulty in accurately determining the surface area available for hydrate formation. In this presentation, we introduce a new flowloop, based in Western Australia, which has been designed specifically to tackle the challenges of water dominated flow. A key development of this new apparatus is that it enables a direct measurement of the viscosification effect of a hydrate slurry, while providing clear video evidence for the current state of hydrate formation. This work is coupled with data collected through our on-going collaboration with the Center for Hydrate Research at the Colorado School of Mines, where we present high-resolution imagery from a high-pressure water tunnel to offer an improved estimate of bubble surface area. Taken together, this work will support our ongoing modelling efforts to develop the Gas Dominant Hydrate Extension for bubbly flow.

Theme #3: Corrosion Management and MEG Replacement. A new joint initiative between UWA and the Curtin Corrosion Centre aims to bridge the gap between hydrate and corrosion science, with a focus on combined assessment and maintenance of subsea tieback integrity. At this meeting, we welcome an expert review of corrosion management in the context of new materials technologies to enable long subsea tiebacks. Finally, we present an update to our ongoing campaign to quantify the stochastic nature of hydrate nucleation. Our High Pressure, Stirred, Automated Lag-Time Apparatus provide a unique global capability to generate statistically significant data sets to assess the probability of hydrate formation. Here we will provide a framework for assessing formation, particularly in the context of assessing the efficacy of MEG replacement through the use of KHIs. This data driven approach may see further applicability in understanding the structure function relationships of these chemicals, driving our ability to target specific improvements in performance.

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