Copyright 2004, Offshore Technology Conference

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Ormen Lange is a gas field located 100 km off the Norwegian
coast in water depths varying between 850 and 1,100 meters.
The selected development scenario for Ormen Lange is a sub-
sea tie-back to an onshore processing facility at Nyhamna.
The field is located in a prehistoric slide area with varying
water depths, from 250 to 1,100 meters. The result of this sub-
sea slide is an extremely uneven sea bottom with local sum-
mits 60 to 80 m high. The back wall of the slide is steep, up to
26 degrees. Environmental conditions are also challenging.
This paper describes the flow assurance challenges and
technical solutions selected due to the harsh environmental
conditions specific to the Ormen Lange development, includ-
• Rough seabed combined with long tie-back distance.
• Sub-zero temperatures (-1
All together, this makes the Ormen Lange project one of
the most challenging field developments worldwide with re-
spect to flow assurance.

The Ormen Lange field, discovered in 1997, is located off-
shore Norway approximately 130 km west-northwest of Kris-
tiansund. The field covers an area approximately 10 km by
44 km. The reservoir is located at a depth ranging from
2,650 m to 2,915 m below mean sea level. Recoverable re-
serves are estimated to be approximately 375 billion Sm
and 22 million m
condensate. The intitial reservoir pressure is
290 bara, and the reservoir temperature ranges from 86 to
The field is located within a prehistoric slide area, the Sto-
regga slide, with water depths varying from 850 to 1,100 m in
the planned development area. The seabed in the Storegga
slide is extremely irregular with soil conditions varying from
very stiff clay with boulders to soft clay.
The selected development concept for Ormen Lange con-
sists of a subsea tie-back to a shore terminal as shown in
Fig. 1. The shore terminal will be located at Nyhamna, close
to the city of Molde. The gas will be produced from up to 24
subsea wells. The well fluid will be transported to the land
terminal through two 30” multiphase lines. After processing,
the dry gas will be transported from the land terminal through
a new 42”pipeline to Sleipner and from there through a new
44” pipeline to receiving facilities in Easington, UK.
The annual gas export plateau will be approximately
21 billion Sm
and the daily export capacity up to 70 mil-
lion Sm
To maintain production when reservoir pressure declines,
an offshore compression facility is planned for installation in
the field with a planned start-up date in 2016. However, a sub-
sea compression solution will be evaluated, in parallel, as a
cost-effective alternative to a compression platform.

Field development and subsea system architecture
Due to the wide geographical extent of the Ormen Lange field,
the risk of experiencing a segmented reservoir and, in addi-
tion, limitations with respect to long reach well/high deviated
wells, the subsea architecture requires a high degree of flexi-
bility. A phased development scheme has been selected for the
field. The completion of subsea wells will be timed to main-
tain plateau production as the field depletes.

Initial development. The initial subsea development will con-
sist of two 8-slot production templates (A & B), located ap-
proximately 4 km apart in the main production area as shown
in Fig. 2. There will be dual 20” production headers on each
template that will be tied into the two 30” multiphase pipelines
by means of rigid spools. The two 30” lines will be connected
via a pipeline end termination system (PLET). Two main con-
trol umbilicals will link the onshore plant to the subsea pro-
duction system; one will be connected to template A, and the
other to template B. A crossover control umbilical will inter-
connect the two production templates, providing redundant
control of all the subsea wells. The capability for round-trip
pigging of the 30” multiphase pipeliens is provided by instal-
lation of a pigging loop.
For prevention of hydrate formation, all wells are continu-
ously dosed with monoethylene glycol (MEG) supplied via
two 6” pipelines from the shore terminal. One line will be
connected to template A, and the other to template B. A 6”
crossover MEG line will interconnect the two production tem-
plates providing redundant supply of MEG to the templates.
Each 6” MEG line has sufficient capacity to supply the MEG
requirements of all the wells in the field.

OTC 16555
Ormen Lange - Flow assurance challenges
Arild Wilson, Sverre J Overaa, Henning Holm / Norsk Hydro ASA, Norway
2 OTC 16555
Future development. A further development of the Ormen
Lange field may take place in the future depending on the pro-
duction experience from the initial phase. The scenario fore-
seen for the future extension of the field is shown in Fig. 3 and
is comprised of two additional 6-slot production templates (C
& D). The future 6-slot templates will each include two spare
well slots that may be used for additional wells. Each of these
production templates will produce gas through dual 12” mani-
fold headers and infield flowlines tied back to the 30” PLET
(valid for template C) and hot-tap tees in the 30” lines (valid
for template D). A new infield 6” MEG line will be connected
to each of the two future templates (C and D) as extensions
from the initial templates A & B. Similarly, new infield con-
trol umbilicals will be connected to each of the two templates
(C and D) as extensions from the templates A & B. See /2/ for
further details.

Well completions. The initial development will include 8 of
9-5/8” hybrid well completions with 7”downhole safety valves
(DHSV) and horizontal Xmas trees. The remaining well com-
pletions are assumed to be 7” completions with identical Xmas
trees as for the initial wells. See /3/ for further details.

Future compression. The concept will allow for tie-in to a
future pre-compression platform or a subsea compression unit.
The system will include subsea tie-in points applicable for
both a platform and a subsea gas compression solution. How-
ever, the initial subsea control system and control umbilicals
will not include any facilities for signal or power for a future
subsea compression facility. See /4/ for further details.

Ormen Lange specific flow assurance challenges
The key Ormen Lange specific environmental conditions chal-
lenging flow assurance are:
• Rough seabed.
• Sub-zero temperatures (-1

Rough seabed. The gas field is situated in 850 m water depth
in an area of a prehistoric subsea slide, the largest known to
date. The result of this slide is an extremely uneven sea bot-
tom with local peaks, 60 to 80 m high. The back wall of the
slide area is very step, up to 26 degrees. The rough seabed
topography combined with the 120 km tie-back distance to the
onshore processing facilities stretch the limits of current mul-
tiphase flow technology.
Correct modelling of the detailed seabed and pipeline to-
pography and reliable multiphase flow models are imperative
for the Ormen Lange development, and will be discussed be-
Correct calculation of pressure drop is a requirement for
hydraulic capacity and line-sizing/liquid holdup manage-
ment/compression requirements.
Correct prediction of liquid holdup is important for pres-
sure drop calculations, operational flexibility and slugcatcher

Sub-zero temperatures. The other Ormen Lange specificen-
vironmental challenge is the sea water temperature of minus
one (-1) degree Celsius, which creates the risk of ice formation
in addition to the risk of hydrate formation. As a result, there
has been intensive discussion on the risk of hydrate/ice plugs,
physical characteristics of the plugs, methods for prevention
and remediation of potential hydrate/ice plugs.
The low hydrate equilibrium pressure at seabed tempera-
ture, combined with the rough seabed topography, challenges
depressurization as a means for hydrate remediation, as the
hydrates may convert to ice during depressurization.
All together, this makes the Ormen Lange development
one of the most challenging field developments worldwide
with respect to flow assurance.

Hydrate management

Hydrate and ice formation. Due to the low seabed tempera-
ture, both hydrates and ice may form, unless the fluid is suffi-
ciently inhibited. Experiments have shown that the uninhibited
Ormen Lange well fluid has a high potential for hydrate for-
mation in continuous flow mode as well as during shut-in, and
the hydrates have a high tendency to deposit on the pipe walls.
The hydrates appear to be sticky and the plugging potential
seems to be high. Therefore a basic assumption is that the un-
inhibited Ormen Lange well fluid very easily forms hydrates
and ice and that the plugging potential is high.

Primary hydrate prevention strategy. Prevention of hy-
drate/ice formation is given high priority, as removal of hy-
drate/-ice plugs may be complicated.
The overall Ormen Lange hydrate prevention strategy is to
minimize the risk of operation within the hydrate region.
This is achieved by continuous MEG injection at the indi-
vidual wellheads. Each well will be equipped with a dosage
system. The MEG distribution system will be designed with a
capacity to inhibit the maximum expected condensed water
plus formation water/gas production from individual wells.
MEG delivery requirements for each well will be individually
determined based on water production predictions from each
well. Measurements of water production using wet gas meter-
ing technology will be used as a backup to water production
predictions. A safety factor will be used to ensure adequate
MEG injection, taking into account the water prediction and
measurement accuracy.
The MEG injection/distribution system will be designed
with respect to high availability/reliability/redundancy to
minimize the risk and consequences of failure of individual
system components, and to minimize the risk of hydrate for-
mation and the need for hydrate remediation.
Dual 6” MEG supply lines from shore, each with 100%
overcapacity, will be installed to increase availabil-
ity/reliability/redundancy and to provide capacity for overdos-
ing to reduce the hydrate risk due to MEG injection system
failure (uncertainty, mechanical, operator error).

MEG injection requirements. The hydrate suppression re-
quirement is a hydrate temperature of –5
C at maximum po-
tential pipeline shutin pressure (255 bara). This corresponds to
60 wt% MEG in the aqueous phase.
The MEG injection and regeneration system will be de-
signed for saturation water only, combined with up to 50
Sm3/sd of formation water (maximum). The total MEG injec-
tion capacity is 1,500 Sm
OTC 16555 3
The following assumptions have been made in prediction
of the condensed water:
• The produced gas will always be saturated with water at
in situ reservoir conditions (P&T).
• The gas water saturation is expected to increase during
the lifetime of the field due to the reservoir depletion.

MEG injection and distribution system. The subsea MEG
injection and distribution system is designed with high focus
on availability/ reliability/ redundancy to minimize the risk
and consequences of a hydrate prevention failure, and conse-
quently the risk of hydrate formation and the need for hydrate
remedial actions.
MEG delivery requirements for each well will be individu-
ally determined based on predictions of water production from
each well. A safety factor will be used to ensure adequate
MEG injection, taking into account the water measurement
accuracy (+35% has been applied for design purposes), and
uncertainties in the MEG distribution and control (+20% has
been applied for design purposes).
The following requirements have been defined for de-
sign/operation of the subsea MEG distribution system from a
flow assurance perspective:
1) Line pressure in MEG distribution system will be at asuffi-
cient margin above maximum wellhead shut-in pressure to
prevent backflow of wellfluid into the MEG system and to
ensure MEG injection into the well(s) with the highest
wellhead pressure at any flowrate including no-flow condi-
2) The line pressure and pressure drop across the subsea
MEG dosage system will be sufficient to minimize impact
of pressure transients and interaction between wells.
3) Frictional pressure drop in the MEG supply lines will be
minimized to avoid transients and significant interaction
between wells during operation of either the production or
the MEG injection system.
4) The Xmas tree system will be equipped with two MEG
injection points:
i. During normal production MEG will be injected
downstream PWV / upstream the choke to ensure
good mixing.
ii. During valve integrity testing, pressure equalization
prior to start-up, bull heading and well treatment fol-
lowing shut-in, MEG will be injected between the
PMV and PWV.
5) Each well will be equipped with a distribution system/logic
that ensures that sufficient MEG is injected into each indi-
vidual well.
6) Due to the varying reservoir depth and corresponding
change in the reservoir temperature and water saturation,
the required MEG injection rate to inhibit the water satu-
rated well fluid needs to be calculated individually for all
wells based on individual well bottom hole pressure and
7) The control of the MEG dosage unit will, as a minimum,
have 5 positions to control the MEG injection rates. The
size/flow performance of the 5 positions will be optimized
during detailed design and verified by experimental flow
8) Provisions shall be made to prevent backflow of wellfluid
from the production bore into the MEG injection system.
9) The dosage unit will as far as practically possible be de-
signed to minimize the risk of particle accumulation result-
ing in clogging of the dosage unit (smooth geometry with
no abrupt geometry changes, no cavities, etc.). The l/d ra-
tio of the hole sizes should be maximized to achieve as big
hole sizes as possible, and in-situ flushing/cleaning of the
MEG dosage unit will be possible.
10) The subsea system will be protected from over pressuriza-
tion by the MEG injection pumps in the event of a pump-
trip or a shutdown of the MEG system.
11) It will be possible to use the MEG dosage unit as a com-
bined flow control and backup flow measurement device
with accuracy better than ±10%, i.e., a position indicator is
12) A dedicated computerized “MEG monitoring” system will
be developed to monitor the integrity (e.g., leak-
age/blocking) and performance of the subsea MEG distri-
bution system, and ensure that sufficient MEG is injected
at all times to inhibit the production templates and 30"
multiphase export pipelines to shore.

Risk of hydrate and ice formation. The risk of hydrate pre-
vention failure and the risk of getting a hydrate plug have been
evaluated through both availability analysis and fault-tree
analysis. The work has focused on normal operation of the two
30” multiphase production pipelines. The model has been used
to identify critical contributors, and to improve system design
and operational strategies to reduce the risk of hydrate forma-
A simplified schematic of the fault tree analysis is illus-
trated in Fig. 7.
The main contributor to the risk of forming a hydrate plug
is MEG injection failure/ insufficient MEG inhibition. The
fault-tree analysis indicates that a hydrate prevention failure
resulting in insufficient MEG inhibition in one of the two 30”
multiphase production pipelines may exist approximately
every 250 years given formation water breakthrough will oc-
cur, and every 450 years given water break through will not
occur. However, given insufficient MEG inhibition, develop-
ment of a critical hydrate plug that cannot be removed by de-
pressurization requires the following additional conditions to
be in place (see Fig. 7):
1) Continued operation in hydrate conditions (e.g. pressure
and temperature).
2) Conditions for forming sufficient hydrates to plug the line
(e.g. water and time).
3) Inability to remove the plug by depressurization.
Hence, critical hydrate plugging would occur at frequen-
cies less than indicated since the probability that these other
conditions required for hydrate plug formation to occur will
also be considered. It should be noted that the subsea produc-
tion system and the deepwater part of the multiphase produc-
tion pipelines still may operate outside hydrate conditions dur-
ing flowing conditions, even with an uninhibited wellstream.
Table 1 shows the risk of forming a hydrate or ice plug in
one of the two multiphase production pipelines for different
combinations of “high”, ”medium” and “low” conditional
probabilities. It is stressed that values of the “high”,” medium”
4 OTC 16555
and “low” conditional probabilities are only for illustration
purposes. The results are based on normal production during
30 years production time.

Table 1. Risk og forming a hydrate or ice plug

of getting
into hy-
drate con-
of forming
a plug
Risk of hydrate

Risk of ice plug


450 1 1 13,33 0,667
450 1 0,5 6,67 0,333
450 1 0,2 2,67 0,133
450 0,5 1 6,67 0,333
450 0,2 1 2,67 0,133
450 0,5 0,5 3,33 0,167
450 0,2 0,2 0,53 0,027

The key conclusion from the fault-tree analysis is that a
certain degree of MEG overdosing (approximately 25%) sig-
nificantly reduces the risk of hydrate prevention failure result-
ing in insufficient MEG inhibition.
See Fig. 6 for illustration of water-development, MEG in-
jection requirement and available MEG over-capacity during
lifetime of the field. In addition, based on production experi-
ence, some of the “design uncertainties” with respect to con-
densed water calculation (35%) and MEG distribution and
control (20%) may be utilized as over capacity/overdosing.
The fault tree analysis indicates that the main contributors
to hydrate prevention failure are:
1) Operator overrides shutdown function.
2) Automatic shutdown failure due to MEG injection failure.
3) Regulation failure of MEG dosage valve after detection of
formation water breakthrough.
4) Undetected failures.
The main contribution to production unavailability due to
hydrate prevention failure is unavailability of the MEG injec-
tion system. However, in most cases hydrate formation will
not occur due to mitigating actions (shutdown of relevant parts
of the system, MEG overdosing, etc.). Hence, the contribution
to gas unavailability from hydrate/ice plugging and remedia-
tion in the subsea production system or in the two 30” multi-
phase production pipelines is small, due to the low probability
of a hydrate plug forming.

Hydrate formation detection. Malfunction of the MEG in-
jection system resulting in insufficient hydrate inhibition could
result in hydrate formation somewhere in the production sys-
The indications of hydrate formation in the multiphase
pipelines will be increased pressure drop and pressure fluctua-
tions. The pressure drop in the different parts of the production
system will be monitored by a real-time pipeline monitoring
system. Any abnormal pressure and flow condition will be
detected by a hydrate detection module implemented in the
pipeline monitoring system.
The mitigation action will be to increase the MEG injec-
tion rate into the relevant part of the system and, if possible,
increase production rate to increase the flowing temperature.
Hydrate remediation. Should hydrates form in sufficient
quantity, and subsequently cause a blockage, the primary hy-
drate remediation strategy for the subsea production system,
in-field flow lines and two 30” multiphase production pipe-
lines is depressurization to melt the hydrates. Depressurization
is the strategy normally selected for hydrate remediation in
subsea pipelines, and has a proven track record.
The specific challenges related to depressurization in the
deepwater part of Ormen Lange (sub zero temperature/ice
formation and low hydrate equilibrium pressure at seabed
temperature) have been addressed and several solutions identi-
fied to achieve low enough pressure reduction to melt hydrates
in all cases.
The following key questions related to depressurization
were raised during execution of the project:
• What is the most likely plug location? Why and where do
hydrate plugs form?
• What is hydrate equilibrium /-dissociation pressure at the
plug location as function of seabed temperature and in-situ
MEG concentration?
o What is the local MEG concentration in the hydrate
plug / vicinity of plug when a hydrate plug dissociates
during depressurization?
o What is the plug characteristic of the hydrate plug
formed in the presence of MEG (porosity, permeability
and MEG concentration in the free aqueous phase
within the plug)?
o What pressure is required to dissociate a hydrate plug
in a “partly inhibited” system?
• What is the risk of ice formation?
o Sea water temperature.
o In situ MEG concentration.
o What is the risk of getting into an uninhibited situation?
o What happens to the MEG during hydrate formation in
an under-inhibited system?
o Is the MEG concentration in the aqueous phase suffi-
cient to prevent hydrates to convert into ice, even at
depressurization to pressure close to atmospheric pres-
• Depressurization strategy – how should depressurization
be performed?
o How to achieve the pressure required to melt hydrates
(less than 8-10 bara in an uninhibited system) from all
pipeline conditions/ operational modes (shutdown from
low turndown/high hold-ups)?
o Is it possible to control the pressure during depressuri-
zation to prevent too low pressure resulting in very low
temperatures due to the hydrate/ice equilibrium tem-
perature at very low pressures?
• What are the criteria for successful hydrate remediation by

Most likely plug locations. Fig. 4 shows the minimum, maxi-
mum and average seabed temperatures as function of depth
and along the pipeline profile.
From the upper part of the escarpment to shore, the mini-
mum seabed temperature is always above zero degrees Cel-
sius, i.e. there is nothing unique for Ormen Lange in the shal-
low water part with respect to hydrate/ice formation and/or
OTC 16555 5
hydrate remediation. This area is analogue to most other long
distance, gas/condensate tiebacks.
The Ormen Lange specific challenges with respect to hy-
drate/ice plug formation/prevention/remediation are in the
lower part of the escarpment, located in deepwater and sub-
zero temperatures.

Plug location. Potential hydrate/ice plugs may form either
during flowing or no-flowing conditions:
Flowing condition. During flowing conditions, plugs that
form are most likely due to:
MEG injection failure / operator failure.
Undetected formation water breakthrough.
The most likely plug location is the upper part of escarp-
ment where the flowing temperature drops below the in-situ
hydrate temperature of the under-inhibited wellfluid. The hy-
drate temperature and the corresponding most likely plug loca-
tion is thus a function of the in-situ MEG concentration, and
the production rate/temperature profile as illustrated in Fig. 5.
It should be noted that the seabed temperature in this area
is above the ice formation temperature, and that the risk of
getting an ice plug that cannot be removed by depressurization
is low.
No-flowing conditions. During no-flowing conditions,
plugs that form are most likely due to:
• Commissioning/tie-in of new in-field flow lines.
• Water ingress (cold sea water or “commissioning fluids”)
into no-flowing conditions.
• MEG injection failure during start-up.
The most likely plugging location is in the areas
within/close to subsea production systems, i.e. in the area ex-
posed to sub-zero temperatures. However, in this situation it
can be assumed that the fluid in the multiphase production
pipelines is sufficiently inhibited.

Risk of ice formation. Experiments with uninhibited gas have
shown that hydrates convert to ice during depressurization at
sub-zero temperatures.
One of the key project findings is that the presence of
MEG, even at a fraction of the required injection rate, will
prevent ice formation and facilitate hydrate melting even at the
worst case expected pressures. Studies showed that depres-
surization may be used in deepwater with sub-zero tempera-
tures if the fluid is “partly” inhibited with MEG. The presence
of MEG, even at a fraction (<10wt%) of the concentration
required to prevent hydrates, will prevent ice formation. In the
presence of MEG also the hydrate equilibrium pressure at sea-
bed temperature (-1
C) increases significantly, which makes
depressurization more applicable for “partly inhibited” system
compared to an uninhibited system.
Depressurization is thus feasible if the fluid in the subsea
system is sufficiently inhibited to prevent ice formation at in-
situ flow line conditions during depressurization.
Experimental studies show that the MEG remains within
the hydrate masses during hydrate formation in underinhibited
systems, and hence prevents ice formation during hydrate dis-
sociation during depressurization.
The risk of not being able to remove a hydrate plug by de-
pressurization is thus strongly linked to the risk of getting hy-
drate prevention failure resulting in an uninhibited system,
which is low. This conclusion is from an uncertainty analysis
of the MEG injection rate that was performed, based on the
fault tree already discussed. A typical result from this analysis
is illustrated in Fig. 8. Hence it can be concluded that the risk
of getting a hydrate plug that cannot be removed by depres-
surization, is low.

Depressurization strategy. The primary depressurization
strategy is depressurization via the dual two 30” multiphase
export lines. The key to a successful hydrate remediation by
depressurization is the dual pipeline system.
Simulation indicates that in many cases (depending on
pipeline topography and operational conditions prior to plug-
ging occurred) it may be difficult to reach the low pressure
required (due to holdup effects) to melt hydrates in an unin-
hibited system (less than 8-10 bara) by depressurization
through the plugged pipeline. As a result, depressurization will
take place through the un-plugged line as well.
Potential liquid holdup in the un-plugged pipeline may be
swept out from the un-plugged pipeline by maximizing the
production in that line (dynamic pigging) prior to depressuri-
zation. The plugged pipeline may then be depressurized from
both ends after connecting the two pipelines either via the pig-
ging loop, or via one of the manifolds by opening the diverter
valves between the two manifold headers.
After depressurization the two lines may be disconnected
and production can be resumed in the un-plugged line. De-
tailed procedures will be established to avoid gas leak-
age/freezing across the valves exposed to high differential
Depressurization simulations have been performed to ver-
ify the depressurization strategy. The study included the fol-
lowing scenarios:
• 50 and 100% flow rate prior to shutdown.
• 14 days liquid accumulation at 50% turndown.
• Steady state aqueous phase liquid holdup.
The depressurization was controlled with a fixed flow rate
down to 60 bara via the normal production facilities, and with
a fixed orifice to the flare system down to atmospheric pres-
The key conclusions from the simulation study are:
• Depressurization to atmospheric pressure takes approxi-
mately 3-5 days.
• Low temperature in the multiphase production pipelines
due to J T cooling is not expected (slow depressurization).
• Depressurization (from one side) to pressure less than
10 bara from all operating conditions may be difficult due
to liquid holdup effects, but may be solved by proper de-
pressurization strategy (depressurization from both sides
via unplugged pipeline).

Secondary hydrate remediation strategy. The engineering
studies indicate that the risk of forming a hydrate/risk plug
that cannot be removed by depressurization is quite small.
There is some cause for caution, however. Ice will not form if
the water contains 10% of MEG, but hydrates may. The hy-
drates will convert into ice during depressurization, but the ice
will melt if it remains in steady contact with water containing
6 OTC 16555
the MEG. However, if the hydrate plug resides in a gas-filled
section of the flow line, the ice will not melt. Such a situation
could occur if a hydrate plug forms in an upward bend (re-
versed dip), and the liquids drain away from the plug immedi-
ately after the blockage occurs. Probably, the risk for this hap-
pening is not too large, but it cannot be fully excluded. As a
result, the Ormen Lange project has investigated several op-
tions for secondary hydrate remediation.
The secondary hydrate remediation strategy selected for
the Ormen Lange multiphase production lines is flow-
line/pipeline replacement.

Restart after hydrate remediation. Prior to restart after a
hydrate plug has been remediated, the uninhibited fluid in the
plugged pipeline will be either replaced or inhibited. This can
be done in two ways:
• Roundtrip pigging at “low pressure” may be carried out to
remove under-inhibited liquid. A “huge” batch of MEG is
inserted in front of the pig. Dry gas inhibited with MEG
will be used as the driving medium.
• Circulating dry gas combined with MEG injection to
sweep out uninhibited fluid. MEG is injected both onshore
and subsea. First the rate is adjusted to sweep out uninhibi-
ted fluid. Afterwards the rate is decreased to establish a
sufficient MEG holdup in the system.
Gas is provided by back-flowing dry gas from the export sys-
tem from the onshore plant.

Hydrate prevention prior to initial start-up. All subsea
equipment will be filled with MEG inhibited water prior to or
just after installation to avoid hydrate formation due to gas
leaking valves. MEG supply lines will be filled with MEG
prior to or just after installation to avoid hydrate formation and
to eliminate concequences of erroneous injection of uninhibi-
ted water into well fluid due to design, procedure or operator
errors. MEG will be distributed along the flow path from the
wells to the onshore plant, prior to initial well start-up.

Corrosion management

Corrosion protection and material selection multiphase
pipelines. The reservoir fluid of the Ormen Lange field con-
tains mainly gas. Due to a relatively high CO
content and the
presence of condensed water inside the pipeline, the corrosiv-
ity is relatively high. In order to accept carbon steel as pipeline
material, the injection of chemicals is necessary to reduce the
corrosion rate to an acceptable level. In the first phase of pro-
duction, before any formation water is present in the well
fluid, injection of a pH stabilizer (NaHCO
or possibly
) is planned. This will increase the pH in the well fluid
and thus reduce the corrosion rate down to about 0.1 mm/year.
After the appearance of formation water, the method of corro-
sion control must be changed. The pH of the MEG must be
reduced to avoid scale formation. Corrosion will then be con-
trolled by the injection of a film-forming corrosion inhibitor at
the X-mas trees to reduce the corrosion rate to below
0.1 mm/y. A qualification program is underway to qualify a
suitable corrosion inhibitor.
Due to the low sea temperature in the Ormen Lange area,
top-of-line corrosion is expected in the first part of the pipe-
line downstream from the templates. To reduce this phenome-
non, the external pipeline coating (FBE +PP) will be in-
creased to 8 mm to reduce the condensation rate on the inter-
nal pipe wall and thus reduce the top of the line corrosion rate
to an acceptable level (about 0.1 mm/y). Hence, a corrosion
allowance of 10 mm for the warm part of the pipeline and
7.5 mm for the cold part of the pipeline is specified to obtain
the 50 years design lifetime for the multiphase pipeline. This
also includes a safety margin of 0.1 mm/y.
Since no signs of H
S have been detected in the well
analyses, sour service has not been specified for the pipeline

Multiphase flow

Linesizing strategy. Two 30” pipelines have been selected to
utilize a total hydraulic capacity of 60 to 70 MSm3/sd at “a
reasonable” pressure drop, to minimize compression require-
ments and postpone compression requirements as much as
In addition, one of the key line-sizing criteria has been to
achieve a large degree of operational flexibility, i.e. turndown
flexibility in each of the two multiphase export pipelines with-
out mitigation actions such as dynamic pigging or gas circula-
A dual pipeline system is selected compared to one single,
large pipe diameter pipeline both for in-field flowlines and
multiphase export pipelines to:
• Increase flexibility with respect to liquid holdup manage-
ment and turndown capability to facilitate sufficient turn-
down, ramp-up and swing flexibility according to com-
mercial/operational requirements.
• Enable production through only one line at low production
• Allow “dynamic pigging” by periodically increasing the
production rate through one line at a time to sweep out liq-
• Reduce slug volumes/liquid surge volumes during transient
operations (start-up after shutdown, increasing production
rates) and minimize required slugcatcher size.
• Enable circulation of dry gas to increase flow velocities
during low turndown (“subsea gas lift”).
• Increase flexibility to remove potential hydrate plugs (de-
pressurization from two sides or increased availability due
to production through one line if the other line is blocked
by hydrate plug).
• Increase regularity/production availability in case hydrates
blockage /failure in one line.
• Simplify pipeline installation in deepwater (smaller diame-
ter). Maximum pipeline / riser dimension is limited by in-
stallation in deepwater (30” nom).
Fig. 9 illustrates the typical performance of the 30” multiphase
production lines at typical plant arrival pressures.

Liquid holdup management. The minimum turndown / op-
erational envelope is defined by the declination point of the
flow characteristic (friction dominated) pressure drop, but may
be extended by use of dynamic pigging to manage liquid
(condensate and aqueous phases) holdup. However, it should
OTC 16555 7
be noted that dynamic pigging to control the total liquid
holdup is applicable only at low turndown rates or late life
when the condensate to gas ratio has decreased. At higher
rates/early field life, the liquid holdup buildup rate is too high
requiring unrealistic dynamic pigging frequencies. Fig. 10
shows the liquid holdup as a function of flowrate and the typi-
cal operational envelope of the multiphase production lines.
An alternative to dynamic pigging during production at
low turndown rates (utilizing only one production pipeline) is
to circulate dry gas from the onshore plant via the un-used
production pipeline and co-mingle it with the wellstream sub-
sea, to increase the flowrate in the producing production line.
A computerized liquid holdup management system to keep
track of the liquid holdup in the multiphase export pipeline
will be developed and installed in the central control room
Slug flow is not expected to occur during normal produc-
tion, but only as consequence of pipeline operations (ramp-up
and start-up after shutdown), or low turndown.
Slug catcher size is defined by steady state differential liq-
uid holdup and ramp-up modelling.

Turndown and ramp-up. Liquid holdup in the multiphase
production pipelines will increase dramatically at low flow
rates. Ramp-up from turndown conditions need to be carefully
controlled so as to keep the liquid delivery rates within the
liquid handling capacity of the onshore receiving and process-
ing facilities.
The results from multiphase flow simulations indicate that
the multiphase production pipelines have good flexibility for
turndown and ramp-up from approximately 50% of design
flowrate. At turndown below 50%, the steady state liquid
holdup increases significantly. Ramp-up from these conditions
will have to be extensively managed – especially after pro-
longed turndown periods which have enabled steady state liq-
uid holdup conditions to be reached.

Multiphase flow modelling and verification. Correct model-
ling of the detailed seabed and pipeline topography and reli-
able multiphase flow models have been imperative for the
Ormen Lange development.
Several studies have been carried out to verify the model-
ling of multiphase flow in rough seabed topography:
• Small scale experiments at high inclinations (3” ID, real
hydrocarbon fluids).
• Evaluation of scaling of small diameter/lab data to large
diameter/high inclinations conditions.
• Field experiments with tracers to “measure” liquid holdups
(condensate and water) – data analysis, model comparison
and model verification is currently ongoing.
An extensive experimental campaign was carried out at
Norsk Hydro Research Centre in Porsgrunn. The OLGA2000
model was modified according to the findings from the ex-
perimental campaign.
Four different campaigns were conducted during the
course of this work:
• A campaign with gas-condensate.
• A campaign with gas-condensate-fresh water.
• A campaign with gas-condensate-fresh water including
50 wt% MEG.
• A campaign with gas-condensate-fresh water including
42 wt% MeOH.
Based on the results from the experimental campaigns, the
OLGA2000 model was modified for better representation of
the data. Norsk Hydro Research Centre, IFE and Scandpower
were all involved in this work The following parameters were
• The apparent wall roughness in the gas core.
• The transition from laminar to turbulent flow.
• The gas-liquid and oil-water interfacial friction.
• The mixing of water into condensate in the slugs.
The results from the experiments and model comparisons
are given in detail in /5/ and /6/. The main conclusions are:
• The OLGA2000 model overestimates the slug flow region
compared to the experiments. The observed annular/mist
pattern is not recognized by the model.
• The frictional pressure drop is overestimated at high super-
ficial gas velocities while underestimated at low superficial
gas velocities and positive inclination angles.
• In general, the total liquid hold-up (Hl) is estimated with a
high degree of confidence for all conditions.
• The results from the experiments using three different wa-
ter phases indicate no major differences in flow behaviour
between them.
The results from the model modifications indicated that the
experiments were better represented both for water hold-up
and pressure drop. The revised model was then used to simu-
late the Ormen Lange field conditions. However, the key con-
clusion was that the model modifications only gave minor
changes for simulating the Ormen Lange conditions (see Fig.

Sensitivity of model parameters. In order to investigate the
low impact of the modifications performed and to visualize the
uncertainty of the revised OLGA model with respect to Ormen
Lange conditions, a sensitivity analysis was carried out. The
model parameters subject to changes were tested individually
to obtain a measure of the uncertainty.
The estimated uncertainty in each of the five selected
model parameters were conveniently expressed as a multiplier
for the parameter. The selected variations for each parameter
are given in Table 2 below.

8 OTC 16555
Table 2. Model parameter sensitivity
Parameter Low Default High
Apparent roughness multiplier 0 1 5
Interfacial friction factor multiplier
for steep angles
0.3 1 3.5
Oil-water interfacial friction multi-
plier, stratified
0.25 1 4
Oil-water interfacial friction multi-
plier, slug
0.5 1 2
Multiplier for onset point for mixing
in slug
0 1 ∞
1) Fromthe field data and the Porsgrunn high-pressure data, it is concluded that the
apparent roughness is most probably too high and not too low. Thehigh valueof the
apparent roughness multiplier is, therefore, regarded only as an illustration of the
sensitivity with respect to this parameter, without any implications that the high
value could be a reasonable value of the parameter.
2) The “infinite” value of the onset point for oil-water mixing in the slug body is
equivalent to setting themixing to zero independent of velocity.

The results are summarized in Fig. 11, and they indicate
that further improvements of the OLGA model seems to re-
quire significant effort in the fundamental modelling, and that
tuning of the correlation parameters alone is not sufficient.

/1/ A. Henriksson, A. Wilhelmsen, T. Karlsen, ” Pipelines in harsh
environment,” OTC 16557, 2004.
/2/ T. Bernt, “Subsea Facilities,” OTC 16553, 2004.
/3/ R. Hartmann, “Production Drilling,” OTC 16554, 2004.
/4/ B. Bjerkreim, ”Subsea Compression,”OTC 16561, 2004.
/5/ G. Elseth, H.Holm, H.Kvandal, S.Munaweera, P.Duchet-
Suchaux, G.Coffe, W. Vandersippe, "High-Pressure Recom-
bined Gas-Condensate-Water Flow at Inclined Conditions,"
BHR 11th International Conference on Multiphase 03, San
Remo, Italy 2003.
/6/ H.Kvandal, S.Munaweera, G.Elseth, H.Holm, "Two-Phase Gas-
Condensate Flow in Inclined Pipes at High Pressure," SPE
77505, SPE Annual Tech. Conf. and Exhibition, 2002.
OTC 16555 9

Fig. 1. Field development overview.

Fig. 2. Initial subsea development.

Fig. 3. Future subsea development.
0 20000 40000 60000 80000 100000 120000
Horizontal distance (m)




Analogue to any other gas/condensate tie-backs (Troll A to
Kollsnes, Midgard, Snøhvit, Goldeneye, Malampaya etc)
Ormen Lange specific challenge!
-5 0 5 10 15
Temperature (C)


Fig. 4. Ormen Lange specific challenges.

0 10000 20000 30000 40000 50000 60000 70000 80000 90000 100000 110000 120000
Distance (m)

Pileline profile
Most likelyhydrate plug during
flowing conditions:
• MEG injection failure /
operator failure
• Undetected formation water
Most likely hydrate plug during no-flowing
• Commissioning/tie-in newin-field flow lines
• Water ingress (cold sea water or
“commissioning fluids”) into no-flowing

Fig. 5. Expected hydrate plug location during flowing / no-flowing

Formation water, unconstrained (P50) (Sm3/sd)
Condensed water (P50) (Sm3/sd)
MEG+20% uncertainty, 60wt% (Sm3/sd)
MEG wo uncertainties, 60wt% (Sm3/sd)

Fig. 6. Water production and MEG injection requirements during
lifetime of the field.
10 OTC 16555
Hydrate bl ockage
i n 30" pi pel i ne
Condi ti onal probabi l i ty of
getti ng i nto hydrate
condi ti on (P&T, MEG wt%)
Condi ti onal probabi l i ty of
getti ng a hydrate/ i ce pl ug
(MEG wt%, water & ti me)
MEG i nj ecti on
system fai l ure
(x of n wel l s)
Poor MEG qual i ty
(Cl eanl i ness<88%)
Excessi ve water
producti on
(Qw >Qmax)
Pl ug can not be removed by
pri mary hydrate remedi ati on
Hydrate preventi on
fai l ure
(MEG wt%< 60%)
Operator error
Unpl anned shutdown T (fl owi ng) < T(hydrate)
Ri sk of hydrate bl ockage i n 30" pi pel i ne that
can not be removed
(i .e. pi pel i ne repl acement)
Depressuri zati on Chemi cal
Remedi ati on
MEG Transi ents

Fig. 7. Simplified hydrate risk fault tree model.

0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
% of injected MEG rate left in one 30" pipeline

Fig. 8. MEG concentration uncertainty.

0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40
Gas flow rate (MSm3/sd)



60 bara
75 bara
90 bara

Fig. 9. Pipeline inlet pressure vs. flow rate @ 60, 75 and 90 bara
arrival pressure at Nyhamna.
0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40
Gas flow rate (MSm3/sd)



60 bara
75 bara
90 bara
Operational envelope

Fig. 10. Liquid holdup vs. flowrate @ 60, 75 and 90 bara arrival
pressure at Nyhamna.

50 100 150 200 250 300
Production rate (kg/s)






Liquid content
Water content
Pressure loss

Fig. 11. Results from model correlation parameter sensiti vities.