Flow Assurance Solids in Oil and Gas Production  book cover
1st Edition

Flow Assurance Solids in Oil and Gas Production

ISBN 9781138737846
Published September 10, 2017 by CRC Press
416 Pages

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Book Description

The precipitation and deposition of solids are a major challenge in the production of oil and gas. Flow assurance solids are formed because of unavoidable changes in temperature, pressure and composition of the oil-gas-water flowstream, from reservoir conditions to processing conditions. The advent of subsea production and the increased exploitation of heavy crudes have made flow assurance issues dominant in ensuring efficient and safe exploitation of hydrocarbon assets. Five troublesome flow assurance solids are described in the book: asphaltene, paraffin wax, natural gas hydrate, naphthenate and inorganic scale. These big-five solids are presented in stand-alone chapters. Each chapter is designed to be readable without clutter. Derivations of equations and descriptions of supporting details are given in several appendices.

The book is intended for professional engineers and natural scientist working in E&P companies, engineering companies, service companies and specialized companies. An understanding of the big-five solids is required throughout the lifetime of oil and gas assets, from early development to abandonment. The technical, safety and environmental risks associated with deposition problems in near-wellbore formations, production tubing, wellhead equipment, flowlines and processing facilities, are relevant for decisions in the oil and gas industry and in outside regulatory and financial entities.

Table of Contents

1 Introduction (The view of solids)
1.1 Oilfield production
1.2 Flow assurance
1.3 Chapters and appendices
1.4 Supporting considerations
1.5 Symbols and units
1.6 Concluding remarks

2 Flow phenomena (The tools for study)
2.1 Bulk and wall temperature
2.2 Pressure drop in pipelines
2.3 Surface roughness
2.4 Two-phase flow in pipelines
2.5 Convective mass transfer
2.6 Boundary layer theory
2.7 Particle mass transfer
2.8 Deposition models
2.9 Concluding remarks

3 Asphaltene (The tar-like solids)
3.1 Classes of crude oil
3.2 Crude oil SARA values
3.3 Analysis of elements
3.4 Molecules and particles
3.5 Polarity and dipole moment
3.6 Reservoir to surface conditions
3.7 Solution model
3.8 Saturation limits
3.9 Precipitation envelope
3.10 Instability line
3.11 Properties in model
3.12 Deposit buildup
3.13 Concluding remarks

4 Paraffin wax (The candle-like solids)
4.1 Wax in oil and condensate
4.2 Precipitation curves
4.3 Viscosity of oil-wax slurry
4.4 Thermodynamics of precipitation
4.5 Spatial and temporal buildup
4.6 Nature of deposits
4.7 Flow loop observations
4.8 Deposition profiles
4.9 Selected deposition models
4.10 Monitoring of pipelines
4.11 Pipeline pigging
4.12 Concluding remarks

5 Natural gas hydrate (The ice-like solids)
5.1 Trapped in cages
5.2 Water in oil and gas production
5.3 Water vapour in natural gas
5.4 Equilibrium lines
5.5 Non-hydrocarbon gases and water salinity
5.6 Prevention by antifreeze
5.7 Prevention by low-dosage chemicals
5.8 Prevention by cold flow
5.9 Further considerations
5.10 Concluding remarks

6 Inorganic scale (The salt-like solids)
6.1 Main factors and issues
6.2 Produced water
6.3 Scaling minerals
6.4 Solubility graphs
6.5 Equilibrium and activity
6.6 Chemical potential
6.7 Solubility of scaling minerals
6.8 Sulphate scale
6.9 Carbonate scale
6.10 Sulphide scale
6.11 Amorphous silica
6.12 Concluding remarks

7 Naphthenate (The soap-like solids)
7.1 Acidity of crude oil
7.2 Naphthenic acids
7.3 Tetracarboxylic acids
7.4 Composition of deposits
7.5 Deposition parameters
7.6 Interface processes
7.7 Basic thermodynamics
7.8 Size of bubbles and droplets
7.9 Field challenges
7.10 Concluding remarks


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Jon Steinar Gudmundsson is professor emeritus in petroleum engineering at NTNU in Trondheim. Educated in chemical engineering in Edinburgh (Scotland) and Birmingham (England), the author worked in geothermal engineering in his native Iceland for many years. From 1981, the author was an associated professor of petroleum engineering and the manager of the Stanford Geothermal Program. From 1985, the author served as the director of the UNU Geothermal Training Programme in Reykjavík. In 1989, the author was appointed professor of petroleum engineering at NTNU. Courses taught include production engineering, petroleum processing and natural gas technology. Fluid flow has been central in the authors R&D, advising masters and doctoral students on a wide-range of topics. Long-term activities include new technology for the storage and transport of frozen natural gas hydrate (and cold-flow), in cooperation with industrial partners. Also, the development of a new technology (pressure pulse) to monitor deposit thickness in pipelines, now available from a major service company. Jon is a member of scientific academies in Iceland and Norway, and the professional societies TEKNA (Norwegian Society of Graduate Technical and Scientific Professionals) and SPE (Society of Petroleum Engineers). Community service includes eight years on the Trondheim City Council. Lastly and most important, the author is married and has three grown-up children and presently two grandchildren.

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Jon Steinar Gudmundsson

Professor Emeritus, Norwegian University of Science and Technology

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"The impact of solids on the production of oil and gas resources is varied and profound. Yet it has been hard to find a comprehensive book that describes their properties, behavior and consequences. This book is laid out very usefully, in the important oilfield solids each have their own chapter dedicated to their properties and impact. The reader is not burdened with too much theory or fundamentals in those chapters, yet the details of the theory and fundamentals are all covered in the appendices for those who choose to delve deeper."

Roland N. Horne, Professor of Petroleum Engineering at Stanford University, USA.


"Congratulations to Professor Gudmundsson with this comprehensive new flow assurance book. Flow assurance is a key petroleum engineering challenge to understand, model, predict and mitigate or eliminate to the maximum extent unless you want initially open pipelines and flowlines to turn into ‘candle lights’ through which nothing flows or into closed-up reservoirs in the near well-bore region. Everything else in a field development can be perfect; if you get flow assurance wrong, the total reservoir ‘plumbing system’ may be nothing like you thought and expensive retro-fits can be expensive at best."

Dr. Helge H. Haldorsen, 2015 President of the Society of Petroleum Engineers.