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Subsea Systems

Consulting Services


Subsea Production Systems

Subsea Mechanical Integrity

Flow Assurance for Subsea Production Systems

Pipelines, Flowlines and Risers

Source: FMC Technologies


Subsea Systems

Subsea Engineering
DRG provides consulting services for Subsea Engineering
problems related to Subsea Flow Assurance and Subsea
Structures, Equipment, Risers and Flowlines

Subsea Production Systems

With the depletion of onshore and offshore
shallow water hydrocarbon reservoirs, the
exploration and production of oil in deep
water has become a challenge to the offshore
industry. Since these subsea developments

and Offloading) or onshore facilities. Alternatively, an existing subsea production system

can be connected to a newly operated production well by means of a subsea tie-back,
that have become popular in the development of new oil and gas reserves.

are moving further offshore and into deeper

Due to the high pressures, potentially large

waters, the technical challenges of such pro-

temperature gradients and the harsh envi-

jects are continuously increasing.

ronment in deep-water, the subsea systems

For deep water developments a wide range

of subsea layouts and production systems,
greatly differing in complexity, are utilized.
A subsea production system consists of a
subsea completed well, subsea Christmas
trees and wellhead systems, subsea tie-in to
flowline system, jumpers, umbilical and riser
system and subsea equipment to operate
the well. The single or clustered well can be

and equipment are subjected to complex and

critical load cases. Therefore in all offshore
pipeline systems the transportation of fluids
including the flow of oil, gas, water and mixtures thereoff should be analyzed to optimize
performance and minimize the operational

Subsea Flow Assurance

connected through the flowline to a fixed

The flow in subsea transportation pipelines

platform, FPSO (Floating Production, Storage

and tie-backs are often governed by risers.

Both risers and flowlines are located on the
Subsea Systems

seabed, such that these typical components

may be subject to thermal and mechanical
problems. In particular, transient heat and
mass transfer phenomena are often present
in specific components and need to be analyzed and/or simulated in order to achieve a
proper system design.
The deliverability of hydrocarbon products
from the reservoir to the end user is essential
to the success of oil and gas developments,

DRG assists the client to increase their perfomance and

reduce the risks of subsea
the production process. In subsea operations, controlling multiphase flows is of the upmost importance, as these can have adverse
effects on the often long riser lines that are
used to surface hydrocarbon products from
the subsea production system.

but often turns out to be the bottleneck of

the system. Pipelines, either onshore or offshore, play a vital role in ensuring a reliable
production process, which provides a manageable and profitable flow of fluids from the
subsea wellhead to the fixed platform, FPSO
or onshore facilities.

Multiphase Flows
There are several critical problems that can
be attributed to the occurrence of multiphase flows, which typically consists of water, oil and gas. For instance, a mixture of
water and hydrocarbons can form hydrates

Hydrocarbons are rarely found in single-

that block pipelines obstructing the flow.

phase flow during transport from a reservoir

Additionally, slugs may be formed within the

to production platform. It is these multiphase

pipelines, which can cause severe damage to

flows that form the most serious hazard in

downstream processing facilities. It is therefore of high importance to be able to predict

and control the slugging in the subsea production system.
OLGA, a widely used software tool to simulate multiphase transport of oil, water and gases is often used for multiphase flow analysis,
together with PVTsim. When necessary, full
CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) simulations are performed to make detailed flow
assessments of all kinds of equipment like
separators, slug catchers etc. and connecting

Subsea Systems

res more advanced structures. The nozzles

of subsea vessels are differently loaded in
the subsea regime, on account of the high
pressure and low temperature, than their
counterparts in onshore installations. DynaSource: FMC Technologies

flowlines between the subsea well head and

fixed platform, FPSO or onshore facilities.

flow Research Group has broad experience

in performing FEA (Finite Element Analyses)
simulations of various types of equipment,
which might be loaded due large pressures

Using the broad knowledge and wide ranging

and critical thermal effects in accordance

expertise in multiphase flows, DRG is able to

with many international codes such as ASME,

interprete the complex multiphase flow re-

EN, BS, etc.

sults in order to assist the client to increase

the performance and reducing the risks of
subsea production.

Subsea Structures and Pipelines

Dynaflow Research Group

We believe it is important not only to have
a sound grasp of the physics behind these
phenomena but also to have a very hands-

Since subsea flowlines are subjected to high

on and pragmatic approach to your real life

external pressure, collapse and buckling cri-


teria are very important. These criteria depend on the diameter to wall thickness ratio,
pipe imperfections and load conditions such
as axial tension, bending stress and external
pressure. A good knowledge of these criteria
is required to come to a sufficiently robust
flowline design. Using a fully validated suite of design tools DRG is capable of solving

Due to our highly qualified staff and experience in this field, DRG is often required to
solve problems involving subsea production
systems, subsea flowlines from wellhead to
fixed platform, FPSO or onshore facilities,
and attached equipment like separators and

some of the oil industrys most difficult pro-

DRG provides engineering services in all pha-

blems such as detailed lateral buckling and

ses of a subsea system design.

pipeline walking issues.

The increased activities in subsea processing,
such as separation or compression, requi-

Subsea Systems

Source: Aker Kvaerner


Subsea Systems

Subsea Structures and

DRG provides consulting services and engineering
solutions to improve and verify the mechanical
integrity of subsea systems

Manifold Design and Analysis

Subsea manifolds have been used in the development of oil and gas fields to simplify the
subsea system, minimize the use of subsea
pipelines and risers and optimize the fluid
flow production sytem. The manifold consists of an arrangement of piping and valves
designed to combine, distribute, control and
often monitor fluid flow. Subsea manifolds
are installed on the seabed connected to several wells to collect the product or to inject

to improve their manifold design and to verify its structural integrity. Manifold modules
belong to subsea structures and therefore,
their structural integrity should follow relevant standards for subsea structures such
as ISO 13819-1 and ISO 13819-2. The piping
of the subsea manifold should be designed
to comply with the ASME code. DRG has an
indepth knowledge of these codes.

Mechanical Response Analysis

gas or water into the well. The most common

Any structure will have a number of mechani-

subsea manifold is a PLEM (PipeLine End

cal resonance (natural) frequencies. If these

Manifold) which is directly connected to the

frequencies coincide with those of external

The subsea manifold should be designed to
provide sufficient piping, valves and control
equipment to collect all produced oil and gas
or to inject fluids like gas, water or chemicals.
Dynaflow Research Group assists its clients

Source: FMC Technologies

Subsea Systems

excitatons, for example those due to production pumps or the fluid flow within a pipe,
then any small pipe deflection caused by the
excitation mechanism at these frequencies,
could be amplified and may result in vibrations in the mechanical structure.
These mechanical vibrations, if persistent,
could result in problems due to LCF (Low
Cycle Fatigue) or HCF (High Cycle Fatigue).
As a result of a surge analysis or multiphase
flow analysis (using OLGA or BOSfluids),

Source: FMC Technologies

are the internals to promote gravity separation, sand removal, demisting internals and
cyclone scrubbers.

for each pipe section, the magnitude of the

The effects of slug forces working on the in-

unbalanced forces are calculated and used in

ternals can be analyzed using dedicated CFD

the mechanical response analysis. This me-

(Computational Fluids Dynamics) and FEA

chanical analysis is performed by means of

(Finite Element Analysis) techniques. The

a pipe stress software package with dynamic

numerical results should be combined and

harmonic capabilities. In addition to the flow

compared with analytical multiphase flow

transients inside the pipe, the effects of tidal

calculation. It is also possible to assess the

waves and currents are incorporated.

flow (detailed structure and medium properties) for a three-phase flow, which is difficult

Subsea separator vessel design

Performing a part of the required separation process at the seabed, enables a more
effective production. Additionally, the need

be used to predict the flow regimes based

upon the process conditions supplied by the

for processing facilities on the fixed platform,

When the kind of flow structure is known and

FPSO or onshore facility can be significantly

what the average flow velocities are for the

reduced. Dynaflow Research Group assists

different flow phases, the slug loads can be

its clients in optimizing their in-line subsea

determined. Based on the determined slug

separator technology.

loads and the geometry and configuration of

Multiphase (subsea) flow separator vessels

often encounter slugs. The parts of the separator that is most vulnerable to slug loads

to predict. Common analytical theories can

Subsea Systems

the internals, a detailed FEA (Finite Element

Analysis) analysis can be performed to assess
the fatigue performance.

vant code and regulations.

Depending on the project and field development, DRG assists its clients designing their
subsea tree to comply with codes like API
6A, API 17D, API RP 17H, ASME B31.3, ASME
B31.8, ASME BPVC VIII, among others. Detailed dedicated FEA (Finite Element Analysis)
techniques will be employed to satisfy the
main subsea tree requirements like sealing
of the casing strings, interface between tree
system and BOP and to accept all loads on
the subsea wellhead system from drilling and
production (including thermal expansion).
Dynaflow Research Group is often involved
Source: FMC Technologies

Subsea wellheads and trees

with the design and verification of a subsea

structure, including:

Analysis of the mechanical integrity of

In the subea production system the wellhead

the subsea manifold, including detailed

and Christmas trees are the most vital pieces

mechanical response analysis and mul-

of equipment. The subsea wellhead system

tiphase flow behavior,

has the same functions as a conventional

Proper design of subsea equipment like

surface wellhead. It needs to seal the casing

separators, subsea wellheads and trees

strings in the well, supports the BOP (Blow

to increase drilling and production effi-

Out Preventer) during drilling and supports


the tree during production. The primary

function of the subsea Christmas tree is to
ensure a structural and pressure containing
anchoring point on the seabed for drilling
and production. All internal components of
the subsea tree to support the casing strings
and provide guidance and mechanical support need to be designed conform the rele-

Subsea Systems

Source: Emerson

Subsea Systems

Subsea Flow Assurance

DRG provides consulting services and engineering
solutions of Flow Assurance of Subsea Systems including steady state, transient multiphase flows,
heat transfer and erosion modelling

The deliverability of hydrocarbon products

drop along the subsea flowline, tie-back and

from the reservoir to the end user is essential

riser is determined, leading to maximum and

to the success of oil and gas developments,

minimum allowable flow rates.

but often turns out to be the bottleneck of

the system. Especially in subsea systems, risers and flowlines play a vital role to ensure
a production that generates a reliable, manageable and profitable flow of fluids from the
subsea well and tree up to the fixed platform,
FPSO or onshore facilities. The most significant challenge of subsea flow assurance is
prevention and control of solid deposits that
could potentially block the flow of product.

Steady state hydraulic and thermal

performance analysis

Subsequently, the temperature and pressure

distributions along the subsea flowlines are
obtained to ensure that the conditions in
the flowline are such to avoid the formation
of hydrates during steady-state conditions.
When the temperature distibution is obtained, an insulation combination is chosen
that prevents the temperature at the riser
base of a tie-back subsea system from falling below the minimum value for cooldown
at the maximum range of production rates.
Using dedicated software solutions, the
maximum flow rate in the system can be ob-

Using software like OLGA or BOSfluids a

tained to ensure that arrival temperatures do

steady state flow model can be generated

not exceed any upper limits defined by the

which is basically the first step in the analy-

separation or dehydration processes or by

sis of the subsea flowline performance. The

equipment design.

relationship between flow rate and pressure

Subsea Systems


Transient flow behavior and thermal performance analysis

Water temperatures at the sea bottom can
be very low, almost at freezing point. When
the flow in a pipeline on the seabed comes
to a standstill, the temperature of the hydro-

phase production systems rely on detailed

carbon pipe content can quickly decrease.

understanding of the fluid flow behaviour.

Low temperature in a pipeline can lead to

BOSfluids is the engineering software packa-

the formation of paraffin, asphaltenes and

ge that analyzes fluid transients in piping sys-

hydrates, which can cause significant, even

tems and relates this information back to the

catastrophic, operational issues.

mechanical system transferring the fluid.

Additionally, Dynaflow Research Group is

DRG assists in improving

thermal and pressure control
to increase subsea production rates

experienced in the use of OLGA, a widely

used software tool to simulate multiphase transport of oil, water and gases.
For complex and sensitive systems, it
can necessary to investigate the three-

The transient subsea flowline analysis typi-

dimensional flow field. This can be obtained

cally include start-up, shutdown and blow

by performing a full Computational Fluid Dy-

down scenarios as well as pigging and slug-

namics (CFD) analysis.

ging occurances. During these scenarios, it is

important to maintain the fluid temperature

Flow regime prediction

above the hydrate dissociation temperature

Multiphase flow can take many different

corresponding to the pressure at every loca-

forms. The most severe multiphase flow

tion. To meet this important requirement, it

regime is slug flow, subsea flowline or riser

may be necessary to incorporate a combina-

sections completely filled up with liquid and

tion of an insulated pipeline and the injection

holding up the gas flow. Slugging can cause

of chemical inhibitors into the transient simu-

large pressure transients or potentially lead

lation to prevent hydrate formation.

to flooding of liquid at the receiving end at

BOSfluids and OLGA

Successful design and operation of multi-


Subsea Systems

the platform. Slugs can also result in an increased volume of solid deposits, corrosion
and erosion.

a subsea system can help assure system

integrity by taking measures as cladding
of the subsea structures or incorporate
predictive devices to monitor erosion rates.
Dynaflow Research Group uses advanced




techniques in combination with several

recent erosion correlations, to reliably predict
It is, however, extremely difficult to predict

erosion rates in subsea systems. The regions

the detailed structure of a multiphase flow

where maximum erosion (hot spots) is

and therefore to determine the medium

likely to occur under complex flow behavior,

properties. Several theories are often used

i.e. several multiphase flow regimes can be

to predict the type of flow regime for a mul-


tiphase flow, sometimes even supported by

measurements. With these theories it becomes possible to estimate what flow structure
is likely to occur and what the actual average
velocities are for the different phases.

CFD is often used as well for various multiphase flow problems related to subsea production systems like slug catchers, separators, mixing vessels among others.
DRG is able to assist you using all of the above

Erosion assessment of subsea

mentioned techniques to verify and improve

flowlines and structures

the performance of the subsea production

The integrity of the subsea system and

system related to flow assurance issues.

structures is of upmost importance during

the production life of a field. Sand particles
in the produced hyrdrocarbon can lead to
erosion as it is transported from the well to
the platform or onshore facilities through
various subsea structures. Therefore it is
necessary to obtain good knowledge about
the particle travels, which can be a good
indication where erosion might occur over
time. Prior understanding of erosion in

Subsea Systems



Subsea Systems

Subsea Risers and Flowlines

Using a broad Subsea Engineering experience,
DRG provides high quality support for the design
verification of subsea risers and flowlines

Pipelines, flowlines and risers are crucial in

simple catenary, SCR (Steel Catenary Riser).

production of oil and natural gas. Unreliable

The rotational movement between riser and

fluid flow can affect the productivity of the

the platform is equiped with flexible joints to

whole production process. Particularly since

cope with the movement. The second type of

flowlines and risers often deal with complica-

rigid riser is called TTR (Top Tensioned Riser)

ted multiphase flow conditions, a sound ana-

and consists of a long circular cylinders con-

lysis and thorough understanding of the riser

necting the seabed to the platform. These

design is of vital importance to keep produc-

risers are subject to steady currents with va-

tion high and to minimize losses.

rying intensities and oscillating wave flows. At

the top, these TTRs are equiped with tensio-

Structural integrity of rigid and

flexible risers

ners to maintain the angles of the riser pipes.

Flexible risers are constructed using multiple

A subsea production system consists of con-

layer composite pipes with relative bending

ductor pipes connected to floaters on the

stiffness. Layers of different types of steel

surface on one end and to the wellhead at

(stainless and carbon) are used to provide

the seabed. There are essentially two types of

sufficient strength, while adding enough

subsea risers: rigid risers and flexible risers.

flexibility. Flexible risers are successfully ap-

Alternatively, an hybrid riser is constructed

plied in deep and shallow water flowline sys-

by combining the two.


The rigid risers forms an extension from the

For the preparation of FEED (Front End En-

flowline that is hung from the platform in a

gineering Design) documentation, detailed

Subsea Systems


strength and fatigue assessments of both

rigid and flexible risers are performed to verify:

Extreme response satisfying API 2RD

and extreme rotation for the flexible

Fatigue life related to Vortex Induced

Vibrations and oscillating Wave loading,

Interference with the floater constructions.

Prevent risers slugging

Source: Total

surges are processed.

DRG assists its clients to avoid or minimize
slug problems by accommodating your riser
design, for example by applying choked flow,

The very nature of risers, vertical lines with

or with the design verification of separator

multiphase flow conditions, makes riser lines


and the connecting flowlines highly susceptible for slugging. The slugs in a riser or vertical

Critical transient flow scenarios

part of a pipeline are often created near the

Considering a riser line landing on a platform

lowest point of the line when the liquid in a

with the riser exposed to slug flow. A valve

gas-liquid flowline fills the complete cross-

protects the platform from pressures excee-

section of the pipe. Consequently, the gas

ding a designed maximum. Different critical

pressure will drastically increase behind the

scenarios need to be defined of to pressure

liquid, such that the liquid slug is blown out

surges due to sudden valve closure related to

of the riser.

the characteristic time and thus the length of

The slugs, developed in a riser, have the ten-

the slug and hence the slug volume.

dency to grow in size when travelling up the

For valve closure times longer than the cri-

riser. These slugs can grow as long as many

tical closure time the valve is called slow

hundreds of meters with periods in the or-

closing and the reflected pressure wave

der of hours. The slugs can grow even longer

reaches the valve before it is fully closed. For

than the riser itself, a condition called severe

times shorter than the critical closure time

slugging. Liquid carryover or problems rela-

the valve is fast closing. The resulting pres-

ted to liquid- and pressure-control problems

sure surges can be calculated by considering

might occur when long liquid slugs and gas

the deceleration of the fluid. Additionally,


Subsea Systems

very high pressures are able to develop when

These criteria depend on the diameter to wall

an amount of gas is trapped and compressed

thickness ratio, pipe imperfections and load

in between the slug and the valve.

conditions such as axial tension, bending

DRG assists its clients by performing comprehensive riser studies. Often corrugated pipes
are susceptible for excitation of the longitudinal acoustic modes of the pipe due to the
multiphase flow, so called singing risers.
Sometimes, a full CFD analysis is required to
study vortex shedding and slug build-up in
flexible risers and transportation lines.

stress and external pressure. A good knowledge of these criteria is required to arrive at
a robust pipeline design, which exhibits sufficient safety against buckling.

Flowline stability design from subsea tree to processing facility

In subsea production it is vital to ensure that
hydrocarbons are transported in stable pipe-

Collapse, buckling and fatigue of

lines. Here vertical and lateral stability may

pipelines and risers

be critical. Regarding vertical stability, not

Buckling is a failure mode characterized by

structural instability in a compressive stress
field. Since subsea flowlines are subjected
to high external pressure, special attention
should be given to collapse and buckling criteria.

only floatation problems of the pipeline are

to be considered, but also sinking problems.
When a pipeline is running over a sandy seafloor, liquefaction of the soil might result in
too deep settling of the pipeline in the seafloor sediment.
A lateral stability analysis is performed in all
waters subjected to large current and waves,
DRG perfoms these analyses often in compliance with the appropriate codes (i.e. DNVRP-F109) to perform an absolute lateral stability analysis, a the generalized lateral stability
analysis or a full dynamic lateral stability analysis.

Source: FMC Technologies

Subsea Systems



Subsea Systems

What can we do for you?

DRG provides consulting services and engineering
solutions to improve Subsea Production Systems

What can we do for you?


onal Fluids Dynamics of slug catchers,

Due to our highly qualified staff and expe-

separators and multiphase subsea flow-

rience in this field, DRG is often required to

solve problems involving subsea production
systems, subsea flowlines from wellhead to

lines and equipment,


Analysis of the mechanical integrity of

the subsea manifold, including detailed

fixed platform, FPSO or onshore facilities,

mechanical response analysis and mul-

and attached equipment like separators and


Detailed flow studies using Computati-

tiphase flow behavior,


Proper design of subsea equipment like

Dynaflow Research Group can assist you with

separators, subsea wellheads and trees

the following engineering assignments:

to increase drilling and production effi-



Analytical multiphase flow regime and

heat transfer assessment,


Pressure drop calculations,



Transient multiphase and thermal flow

To us communication with our clients during

analysis of subsea flowlines and risers,

a project is of upmost importance. For each

Predicting hydrodynamic and terrain/

project the client is updated regularly with

riser induced slugs,

the progress of our work. We liaise with the

Development of the operating envelope

client to ensure we have the most accurate

cold and hot start-up, cooldown blow-

information to conduct our analyses and to

down and warm-up,

ensure the clients remain closely involved.


Subsea Systems


Dynaflow Reseach Group

At Dynaflow Research Group (DRG) we support
our clients, solve their most complex and critical
technical issues

Consulting services


We provide engineering consulting services

DRG offers a wide range of training courses

in all aspects of design and analysis for the

such as software training, fiberglass training,

Petro- chemical industry. Our work often re-

dynamics and stress training. Most of these

quires a multi-disciplinary approach where

training courses are offered on a regular ba-

we combine expertise in fluid flow behaviour,

sis during the year. We also develop custo-

dynamic oscillations, FEM and stress analysis

mised training programs with our customers

with sophisticated analysis software to pre-

fit to their specific needs.

dict system performances.



DRG has been developing software for many

DRG conducts research on different aspects

years, which has resulted in several commer-

of pipe-system design and pressure vessels.

cially available software packages such as

Most of this research is done in close collabo-

BOSfluids , BOSpulse , Jive and Hades. We

ration with Paulin Research Group and their

also provide technical consulting services,

Houston test facilities (

and develop numerical software that can be

Dynaflow Research Group provides support

used in computer simulations and other ty-

to clients with their R&D to help them conti-

pes of scientific computations.

nuously improve their products.


Dynaflow Research Group

Topic specific brochures:

Consulting Service Series
Software Product Series
Training Series
Visit our website or send an e-mail to

Dynaflow Research Group


Houtsingel 95
2719 EB Zoetermeer
The Netherlands
Reg nr. 27320315


+31 79 361 5150

+31 79 361 5149