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Statoil slug control

•Presentation of Statoil R&D Process Control Group

•Slug control Q
Pu separator
•Slug control in Statoil Topside

•Field results from Åsgard Q (Åsgard A) Pi


•Extended slug control for Urd (Norne) Subsea


Gunleiv Skofteland and John-Morten Godhavn, Statoil R&D Process Control

Guest lecture NTNU 16/4-2007
Statoil er operatør for: 22 olje- og gassfelt
- 48% av Norges oljeproduksjon, 82% av Norges gassproduksjon
Process Control
- we control what we promise We work cross-discipline:
•On- and offshore, sea floor, wells,
pipelines (multiphase), new/existing
Control hierarchy for typical facilities
process plant
•Modelling: black box, 1st principles,
•Simulation: D-SPICE, OTISS, Hysys,
Stationary ASSET, OLGA, Matlab
Supervisory •Optimisation: methanol plant, LNG-
Supervisory control/
process control plant, oil platforms, production
•Control: simple tuning, design of new
model based control (e.g. MPC)

Basic control loops

solutions, advanced control
(PID, FF,..)

Our goals:
-Improved quality
-Increased regularity
-Increased production

Statoil’s MPC-tool
- developed by us
•Uneven flow: liquid slugs and gas bobbles in multiphase pipelines
•In slug control we simplify to two main types of slug flow:
–small slugs (< 5 min. periode): limited effect on receiving facilities
–Often hydrodynamic or short terrain induced, water slugging
–severe slugs (10-180 min. periode): can result in shut down
–Riser slugging, well slugging, transient slugging during start-up, etc

Fixed choking Active slug control

Riser slugging Even flow
Examples from experiments at Sintef Lab at Tiller
Riser slugging
Riser slugging – cyclic unstable
flow. Liquid blockage at riser
foot, pressure build-up, blow
out, back-flow

Stabiliced by feedback
control from subsea pressure
(Schmidt 1979)
Hydro dynamic slugs
!Made when waves hit the top of the pipe, liquid blocks gas flow,
wave tops combine to slugs
!Short slugs with high frequency (typ. 10-20 seconds)
!Gas rate, liquid rate, pressure, gas volume, topandraphy decide
degree of slugging
!May trig riser slugging

Example from Tiller.

Effects of slug flow
• Large variations in liquid rates into 1st separator
– Level variations: alarms, shut downs
– Bad separation/water cleaning:
• WiO: carry-over, emulsions
• OiW: hydro cyclones do no handle rate variations well
– Pressure pulses, vibrations and eqipment wear
– Fiscal rate metering problems

• Variations in gas rate

– Pressure variations – high pressure protection gives shut down
– Liquid carry over into gas system
– Flaring
– Fiscal gas rate measuring problems
Methods for for slug reduction and handling
• Design changes for new projects
– Increase processing capacity, f.ex. separator size
– Slug Catcher (expensive and space demanding)
– Increase velocities by reduced pipe diameter: several pipes or
reduced prod. by increased pressure drop 100-1000 MNOK/pipe?
– Gas lift in riser-foot or in well

• Operational changes and procedures for existing fields

– Topside choking: increase receival pressure, reduces prod.
– Shut in wells 100 MNOK/year/pipe?

• Slug control, where active use of topside choke is used to

– Reduce and avoid slug flow 0.5-2 MNOK/pipe?

• Advanced control of receiving facilities to improve handling and

reduce consequenses of slugs 1-3 MNOK/pipe?
– Model based control (MPC)
Process description for control
• Multiphase flow in long pipelines with varying inclination
• Here: slug flow in pipes from satellite fields a few km from oil rig with riser
– similar process: well slugging in platform- and subsea wells
• Modelling:
– Complicated and complex to model multiphase flow
• nonlinear, partioned system
– OLGA is the world leading transient multiphase flow simulator:
• must be tuned to reproduce field data
• some times not possible to reproduce results (ex. Tordis water slugging)
• used to investigate potential for slug flow
• not suitable for controller design (black box model, hidden equations)
• can be used to test controllers
– Simpler models have been developed to reproduce riser slugging:
• better suited for controller design
• not suited to predict flow regime
Slug control
• Slugging challenge for receiving facilities: oscillations in rate, pressure and
separator levels
• Objectives of slug control:
1. Improved regularity: stabile rater and redusert risiko for trip
2. Reduced pipeline pressure: increased and prolonged tail production
and increased recovery
• Available inputs:
– fast topside choke (f.ex. <3 min closing time)
• Choking has limited effect on hydrodynamic a.o. smaller slugs
• Measurements:
– subsea pressure transmitter (<20 km away, time delay, etc)
– pressure up- and downstream topside choke
– multiphase meter, or densitometer and, for topside choke
• Conventional solution for slug reduction: fixed choking
– increases pipeline pressure and friction loss: reduced production
• Better solution: active control to stabilize pressure and rates and to smear
out transient slugs during start-up/rate changes
Statoil’s slug controller
•Controls the pressure at the subsea manifold by the pipeline inlet
•Helps liquid up by opening choke
•Limits pressure increase after slug by choking
•Pressure controller gives set point to rate controller
•Controls flow into separator - ensures even flow
•Automatic start-up and shut down of single wells
Topside choke is
uP used for control
P Sep Inlet
Topside separator

Pi choke
PW PB •Removes severe slugging
Subsea •Reduces smaller slugs
Slug control in Statoil

Norskehavet Norne
Heidrun Åsgard A Norne Åsgard

Nordsjøen Statfjord
Statfjord C
Gullfaks C Huldra Snorre B
Slug control in Statoil
• Research and experiments:
– Large scale experiments at Tiller 1988-89
– 4 weeks with experiments at Tiller 2001
– 7 weeks with experiments på Tiller 2002 (samarbeid with Hydro)
– 1 paper with Heidrun results at Multiphase’03
– 1 paper with Tyrihans sim. results at Multiphase’05
– 1 paper with Tordis results på IFAC WC’05
– 1 paper with Åsgard Q results at Multiphase’07
– 2 journal papers with experimental results from Tiller (SPE J.+JPC)
– 1 journal paper with field results from Åsgard Q subm. to SPE J
– 2 PhD students (Hardy Siahaan, cyb. & Heidi Sivertsen, chem.)

• Field installations:
– Heidrun Northern Flank D- and E-line from 2001
– Statfjord Northern Flank (ABB’s AFC) 2002
– Two-phase pipe from Gullfaks B to Gullfaks C 2003
– Two 11 km pipes from Tordis to Gullfaks C 2003
– Huldra-Heimdal rich gas pipe liquid rate control 2004
– Q-Åsgard A 2005
– Urd (Svale and Stær) to Norne 2005
– Snorre B subsea well 2006
Multiphase flow test facilities at Tiller
• Lab set-up:
– 3” pipe, 200m length, 15m riser height
– rør,Control
3" 200m, 15valve at riser top
m riser
– Riser and parts
Reguleringsventil of pipe
på toppen in PVC
av riser
– 9
Riser ogdensitometers, 6 pressure
flere rørstrekk i PVC transmitters
Xoil and SF6
6 trykktransmittere
– SF6.
Xoil, slug types: gravity dominated, hydro
sluggtyper transient hydrodynamisk, transient)
Results from Tiller
• Control of inlet pressure, volumetric rate and cascade
• OLGA slug periode 50-200 sec verified experimentally
• Flow map and valve characteristics
• Controller tuning
• Control based only on topside measurements, i.e.
without inlet pressure
• ”Slow” ventiler: max closing time?
Ekperiment with inlet pressure controller

Slugging stopped effectively Step response in closed loop

Åsgard Q - 3 types of terrain slugging from well and riser
Possible slugging in low
point in S-riser with typcal Åsgard A test
periode 5 minutes and 1 separator
bar variation in manifold
pressure (neglectable)
PT Possible slugging in riser
with typical periode 30
minutes and 5-10 bar
Q template 16 km long pipeline variation in manifold

Possible slugging in well

with typical periode 6-7
hours and 20-40 bar
Well Q-2A variation in down hole
Pressure variations without slug control

Pressure downstream
subsea choke varies
from 85-98 barg

Topside choke 53%

Downstream pressure
varies from 220-260

Temperature topside
varies from 25-35 degrees
Åsgard A –slug control 06-24.11.05
Downstream pressure

set point

Controlled pressure
downstream subsea choke

Control of pressure Control of

Topside choke in manual downstream subsea choke downstream
Slug control downstream subsea choke

Pressure downstream
subsea choke varies
from 92-94 barg

Downstream pressure
varies from 220-250
barg Topside choke 20-70%
Tuning slug control of downstream pressure

controller tuning periode Stability achieved

Fast variations from slugging in S-riser

Pressure upstream topside choke

varies 70-77 barg with 5 min periode

Downstream pressure +-0.5

barg with 5 min periode

Topside choke 31-35%

with 5 min periode
Oscillations restart when controller is turned off

DHP starts to oscillate DHP stabilized at set point

controller turned off controller in auto

New method to stabilize well Q-2A
Pressure PC
Åsgard A test

template 16 km long pipeline

PT Even better solution to handle well slugging:

Downstream pressure stabilized by control with subsea
Well Q-2A
Set into operation 08.02.2006
Project subsea production facilities (Tordis)
Split range SEPTIC
PIC module MPC
New slug
control loop


Tordis A LIC
11 km flowline FIC
PIC Tordis B
Well 1 Tordis.exe inlet
Tordis separator
Well 2 separator LIC
Multiphase Riser
booster 11 km flowline
LIC Water
Well N booster
SSS water
level control

• Integrated simuleringer (OLGA-ASSETT) of pipe with multiphase split, pumps (water

and multiphase), choke and separator
Multiphase split – uneven flow in 2 equal pipes

• controller activated after 6 hours and balances flow to 50% in each pipe
• Good results achived at several offshore installations from 2001 with simple PI-
controllers that control inlet (subsea) pressure and rate into receiving facilities
with topside choke – simple and inexpensive solution

• Qualified technology after more than 5 years in operation

• Achives even rates and reduced pipeline pressure and improves regularity and
makes it possible to increase and prolonge production, since it then is possible to
operate closer to given constraints, f.ex. bubble point pressure, max sand free
rate, hydrate temp., etc.

• Well: results indicate that it is possible to stabilize wells by control of the

downstream pressure with topside or subsea choke and a PI controller

• Extended to handle other types of flow:

– Gas dominated flow with surge waves

– Start-up slugs

• Subsea production facilities