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authors RUPERT SINCLAIR Shell UK Exploration & Production ROBERT WESTON Serck Baker Limited - Membrane Division



November 1996

This paper describes the history of the Eastern Trough Area Project (ETAP) development itself, the problems faced by Shell/Esso in operating with high salinity formation waters in a high pressure/high temperature (HP/HT) environment and the selection of a suitable treatment process. High salinity waters co-produced with the oil will form sodium chloride scale on cooling and depressurising through the production system from seabed to platform topsides. By diluting these waters to reduce the salinity, the scaling potential can be reduced. However, the formation water contains significant levels of barium and strontium which when contacted with sulphate present in seawater, the most readily available diluent, itself leads to a significant potential for barium/strontium sulphate scale formation. Chemicals have not yet been developed to control this type/degree of scale in the high pressure/high temperature environment prevalent in some of the subsea clusters. By utilising membrane technology to remove a high percentage of the sulphate ions present in seawater, the problem can be treated at source. The latter part of the paper describes in further detail sulphate removal technology and the peculiar design issues raised in integrating a membrane treatment package into the ETAP topsides' process system. The ETAP development is the first application of this type in the world though the technology has already been employed to solve scale formation problems experienced when seawater is injected into a subterranean oil bearing reservoir with high barium formation waters. The ETAP sulphate reduction package is currently under construction and will be delivered for hook-up to the platform's topside equipment in early 1997. It is expected to start in-service by Autumn, 1998. Serck Baker are a licensed original equipment manufacturer for the application of this technology, patented by Marathon Oil and sub-licensed by Dow.

Shell U.K. Exploration & Production (Shell Expro) is the operator for the Shell/Esso venture in the U.K. North Sea.


DESCRIPTION OF THE ETAP FIELD DEVELOPMENT The Eastern Trough Area Project (ETAP) comprises the integrated development of initially seven oil and gas accumulations, located within the Eastern Trough in the UK Central North Sea. The accumulations lie between 130 and 145 miles east of Aberdeen in water depths of around 85 to 95 metres. ETAP is located in the southern part of the Central North Sea in a region which has been highly prospective in recent years and has resulted in a fairly high concentration of discovered but as yet undeveloped hydrocarbons. The area is bounded to the east by the UK/Norway median line. North of the area are the Montrose Field facilities and some distance to the west is the Fulmar - Gannet development and pipelines. To the immediate south of the area are the undeveloped High Pressure High Temperature (HP/HT) fields such as Shearwater, Puffin, Elgin, Franklin and Erskine. While the area is "surrounded" by infrastructure, with the exception of the Lomond facilities where the limited ullage will be used by development of the Erskine Field commencing in 1997, there was no existing oil and gas processing capacity available to the ETAP fields. The major licence holders in the ETAP area are BP, together with its partners' smaller interests, and Shell/Esso. The BP operated Marnock and Machar accumulations were first identified through exploration drilling in the early 1980's. Further exploration success at the end of the 1980's identified the BP Operated Mungo, Monan, and Mirren fields. Shell, following the earlier discovery of the Skua Field, also identified the Heron and Egret fields around this time. Throughout this period, exploration discoveries were made to the south of the ETAP area with the HP/HT fields although the pace of appraisal was slower recognising the complexity inherent in drilling these reservoirs. Heron is a marginal HP/HT reservoir. Through the late 1980's BP conducted studies separately for the development of Marnock (both with and without the Skua satellite), Machar, appraisal of Mungo and further exploration in the area. In 1990, both the Marnock and the Machar Fields, having progressed to a sanctionable definition, were deemed not attractive enough to their respective owners to invest in their development in the environment of continued low oil price and growing concern on escalating industry costs. This decision provided the catalyst for the development of the ETAP concept. Having established detailed individual concepts for the two fields only to have them fail to satisfy investment criteria required a radically different approach be taken to further reduce development costs and risks.

Within the ETAP area, none of the accumulations was judged to be sufficiently large to justify installation of facilities capable of providing processing capacity for the other fields. In addition, such an approach (even recognising the established potential in the area) would have placed the developers of the initial field in the position of high risk both through their underlying field production uncertainties and in the timing and nature of the subsequent development of the remaining fields. Recognising this, BP initiated discussions in the spring of 1991 to consider co-operation between Marnock and Machar to share facilities and access reduced costs. The initiative was supported by Shell/Esso who also included their discoveries in the area (Heron, Skua and Scoter) and early studies confirmed the technical feasibility. BP undertook further studies at their sole cost to expand this to include both the ongoing appraisal of Mungo/Monan, Medan and other BP prospects undrilled at that time. ETAP was initiated in the spring of 1992 when, based on the conclusion of the studies with Shell/Esso and those conducted solely by BP, BP proposed Joint Integration Studies (JIS) involving around ten (10) fields and joint funding by a dozen (12) companies. The objective was to provide a commonly held view of the potential for an "integrated development" of what had become referred to at that time as BP's "M Fields" and Shell/Esso's Heron, Egret and Skua. The ETAP project name was derived from the geological feature in the region in which all the fields are situated and purposely not associated with any individual company or field. In the period from March 1992 until sanction of the project on 12th December 1995, work was led by BP and involved all partners in a series of discrete steps through which key decisions were made to shape the project both technically and commercially. During the period up to sanction, Shell managed the work associated with their fields and continue to manage the design, construction, installation and drilling of the Heron Cluster subsea field dedicated facilities and wells.

The Heron Cluster Fields - Heron, Egret, Skua The development target for Heron, Egret and Skua is the Triassic Skagerrak Formation, which consists mainly of fluvial sandstones. The fields are relatively deep (up to some 4500 mtvdss) and classify as HP/HT fields with initial reservoir pressure and temperatures up to 12900 psia (890 bara) and 350F (177C) respectively (for Heron). The fields contain highly over-pressured, highly under-saturated volatile oil. In total, about 350 mmstb oil with some 500 bcf associated gas is estimated to be initially in-place in the three fields. The formation water is salt saturated at reservoir conditions and there is a very high concentration of barium and strontium ions. Such formation water poses unique production engineering challenges (salt precipitation, scaling tendency).

The Heron and Egret fields will be developed first. Skua will be developed when initial production from these fields begins to decline to create capacity, currently expected to occur around the first quarter of 2003. The development plan for the three oil fields is based on natural depletion, aided by natural water influx. In view of the high over-pressure (6000 to 8000 psi above bubble point) simple expansion of the reservoir fluids results in higher than usual depletion recovery factors, particularly when supported by the expected aquifer expansion. Four production wells are planned for Heron with the fourth well contingent on reservoir performance. Two production wells are planned for Egret with the second well contingent on reservoir performance. Four near-horizontal production wells are envisaged for Skua, with the third and fourth wells contingent on reservoir performance. Reserves are estimated as follows allowing for the allocation of fuel gas: Heron 86 140 8 123 Egret 17 15 1 21 Skua 27 17 2 32 Total 130 172 11 176

Sales Oil (mmstb) Sales Gas (bscf) Sales NGLs (mmstb) Total Sales volumes (mmboe)

The initial production rate from the Heron Cluster is 60 mbd. Heron, Egret and Skua are to be developed jointly in a common subsea system using three separate drilling centres, tied into two 10" diameter flowlines taking fluids back to the processing facility. A 6" wash water pipeline and an integrated control and chemical injection umbilical (connecting the processing facility to each well / drilling centre) is also required .


PROBLEMS ASSOCIATED WITH THE HERON CLUSTER FIELDS The extreme salinity of the formation water of the Heron Cluster fields presents some unique challenges. Under flowing conditions, salt precipitation is predicted in the production tubing and surface facilities. For clarity, salt is sodium chloride (NaCl), also known as halite. Salt contamination of the CPF export crude oil stream was also predicted to require treatment, depending on the degree of dilution that could be achieved from other ETAP fields. The reservoir water analysis is given below; note the halite concentration and the total dissolved solids of 380,000 mg/l (compared to raw sea water at 36,000 mg/l). During the testing of the appraisal well solid chunks of salt were observed in the water sample. Under certain conditions halite has been predicted to precipitate at 50 lb/bbl from produced water. Component - mg/l Sodium, Na Potassium, K Calcium, Ca Magnesium, Mg Strontium, Sr Barium, Ba Iron, Fe Chloride, C1 Bicarbonate, HCO3 Carbonate, CO3 Sulphate SO4 Heron 87,179 11,400 45,700 1,930 1,140 1,360 8 232,749 245 0 0 Sea Water 11,120 420 420 1,340

< 0.2 20,035 141 2,830

In addition to halite, calcium carbonate scale (calcite) and calcium sulphate scale (anhydrite) are also scaling issues that will require treatment. Raw sea water will produce calcite scale at Heron reservoir conditions and the Heron formation water will form calcite scale at surface conditions. Such scales will be treated by inhibition.


SEARCH FOR SUITABLE CHEMICAL FOR OPERATION IN HP, HT ENVIRONMENT Two generic types of solution were initially considered feasible to prevent salt precipitation, these were inhibition and dilution. In order to protect the production tubing, both of these solutions required fluids to be injected in to the bottom of the well at the associated conditions of 12900 psia (890 bara) and 350 F (177 C). Halite inhibition was likely to be achieved by some form of chemical injection. However, at the time the Project was making its key decisions, such chemicals were in the early stages of development(1-3) and presented an unacceptable risk. No chemical had been identified for the HP/HT conditions which influence the selection of all Heron Cluster process chemicals. A halite inhibitor would probably require a carrier fluid and for simplicity and cost this is likely to be water. The benefit of inhibition to the facilities design would therefore have been the injection of lower fluid volumes. Whilst not the base case design, halite inhibitors are being considered for later in field life when, as Heron is not a pressure maintained reservoir, the bottom hole pressure will fall and the injection of large volumes of dilution water may cause production problems ie. kill the well. The final chemical selection for later field life may be an inhibitor (preventing nucleation) or a crystal modifier, as used in the salt processing industry. The operating cost impact of such a solution remains to be seen. Salt dilution could be achieved by the injection of potable water or raw sea water, referred to as wash water. The volume of water required to prevent scaling was established by scale predictions to be in the ratio of 30 percent of the produced water volume. This resulted in a peak demand for the Heron Cluster fields of 14 mbd (2,226 m/d). Another significant requirement was for the dilution water to be de-oxygenated in order to control corrosion in the well completion, the pipelines and the facilities.


5. SCREENING OF POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS AND LIFECYCLE COST ECONOMICS The initial options for control of halite scale by dilution are listed below: Potable water: Production offshore on the CPF CPF storage and batch delivery by supply boat Water pipeline from shore

Raw Sea water: Water winning (lifted directly on to the CPF)

Raw sea water obviously seemed the simplest and most attractive option but unfortunately was not feasible due to the level of sulphate occurring in the sea water (2830 mg/l) and the levels of barium and strontium in the formation water. Inhibition of the resulting barium and strontium sulphate scales (respectively barite and celestite) was predicted to be difficult (scaling index > 100) and of course expensive. The raw sea water option consequently became the low sulphate sea water option - still requiring some level of barite and celestite inhibition but at more manageable levels. Of the potable water options, CPF storage and batch delivery by supply boat were ruled out due to the volumes of water required and the target re-supply period of 17 days. The water pipeline from shore option was ruled out by an order of magnitude higher capital expenditure - but may have been viable had it been possible to proceed on the basis of a shared investment by a number of other similar Central North Sea prospect fields. The options had therefore been reduced to either potable water or low sulphate sea water produced on the CPF. The options investigated included: reverse osmosis distillation nanofiltration ion exchange microbial sulphate reduction salt precipitation electrodialysis

Reverse osmosis (RO) of seawater occurs at a relatively low conversion of feed to product, typically 30%, i.e. 100 units of feed provide 30 units of product (permeate). This conversion in turn leads to larger upstream equipment and costs. For the ETAP system this includes the water injection deaeration system. The RO unit does have the ability to produce water with near zero residual sulphate which would reduce the requirement for barite and celestite scale inhibition and also potentially well work over frequency / costs. Potable water has been made on offshore installations for many years, however not in the volumes required for the Heron Cluster fields. RO (and nanofiltration described below) requires fine filtration upstream (2 to 5 micron or equivalent silt density index) and can be irreversibly damaged by chlorine. Filtration requirements and chlorine are issues for ETAP where the wash water demand is combined with a conventional reservoir water injection demand - which at 115 mbd (18,000 m3/d) dominates sizing of the deaeration system. In this case the water injection users required only course filtration and a compromise would have to be made locating a fine filter, sized only for the wash water demand, downstream of the deaeration process Two types of Distillation Process were considered, thermo-compression distillation and mechanical vapour compression. The units have several advantages compared with membrane plant; they require no upstream filtration, remove dissolved gases (a separate deaeration step may be eliminated) and are tolerant to chlorine. The disadvantages are the high feed to permeate ratio, the power demand and the unit weight. For ETAP the estimated unit weight of 200 tonnes was circa four times that of the equivalent membrane units. The indirect costs of jacket and topsides steelworks would be significant. Nanofiltration is a membrane process that selectively removes sulphate ions to produce a reduced sulphate sea water. The process is similar to the reverse osmosis option however has a better feed to permeate conversion at 75%. The concept has been technically proven by its successful application in a North Sea water injection plant with a capacity in excess of 120 mbd. The residual sulphate target set for the nanofiltration was initially 120 mg/l however this level was reviewed during final selection and optimisation, balancing the complexity of the unit with ease of scale management during operation. Ion Exchange has a track record in desalination service, especially in the Middle East. However problems are anticipated offshore with resin regeneration - the usual desalination plant blowdown fluid (high in chloride and low in sulphate) is not available to regenerate the resin. 2RHCl + SO4 (RH)2 SO4 + 2ClA regeneration period of 4 hours is predicted for raw sea water and on each occasion a synthetic regeneration fluid would have to be made. The sulphate removal efficiency is typically 75 percent, in this case leading to circa 700 mg/l.

The Microbial Sulphate Reduction option uses the normally troublesome (for offshore oil field operations) sulphate reducing bacteria (SRB). A pilot plant has been built by Shell Research however significant further development would be necessary. The sulphate removal efficiency was anticipated to be circa 50 percent, leading to circa 700 mg/l. The Salt Precipitation option uses barium chloride in a simple reaction with the sodium sulphate to produce barium sulphate. BaCl2 + Na2 SO4 2NaCl + BaSO4

The volume of sea water to be treated leads to the production of circa 20 tonnes per day of barium sulphate to be disposed of. This would require shipment onshore and further processing. The Electrodialysis option uses a multi-compartment cell with cation and anion exchange membranes. Ion depletion and ion concentration occurs in alternate cells. The system is technically feasible but would involve some development and is expensive. The power demand would be 3 MW from a direct current supply. Of the remaining options an evaluation was made attempting to select the best option based on life cycle cost. In the evaluation a balance had to be made between unit capital cost, installed capital cost, operational complexity, operating cost per barrel of dilution water produced and consequential operating costs such as those for scale inhibition and scale removal from the wells and facilities. With little world wide experience of fields like Heron, the latter relied extensively on expert judgement of the effectiveness of scale management in previously untested conditions. Following this process the nanofiltration option was selected for optimisation. During optimisation a reduced residual sulphate specification of 5 mg/l was assessed. However, in consideration of the significant additional installed capital cost, it was decided to accept a sulphate level of 40 mg/l and to concentrate efforts on the development of an effective scale inhibitor. More detail of the sulphate reduction unit, including details of a modification to provide better quality water (with a residual sulphate level < 40 mg/l)) during periods of low wash water demand, is provided below.



SULPHATE REMOVAL PROCESS HISTORY Problems caused by the incompatibility of seawater containing sulphate mixing with formation water containing barium/strontium led Marathon in 1987 to investigate the use of membrane technology to remove a high percentage of sulphate ions present in the seawater. Marathon pioneered the technology for injection of low sulphate water (lsw) into a subterranean reservoir using Dow Filmtec nanofiltration membrane. The process was proved when the flood front broke through without any resultant loss in reservoir yield. Brae A currently produces 120,000 bpd of lsw for injection in South Brae and Lasmo's Birch field. In 1990, Agip U.K. adopted the technology for the development of the Tiffany field and currently have 100, 000 bpd of lsw available for downhole injection. Both Brae and Tiffany have barium/strontium levels of around 1000 mg/l and the benefits of using lsw to reduce the frequency of squeeze treatments which were not themselves guaranteed to be effective was clear. Marathon later specified the technology for the Ewing Bank development in the Gulf of Mexico where the potential for moderate barium/strontium sulphate scaling existed in the gravel packed completions; 20,000 bpd of lsw are currently injected In addition to the ETAP development, the technology is also being specified for a number of new fields in the Gulf of Mexico. The thin film composite membrane is constructed from: a non-woven polyester web (bottom layer) for overall mechanical strength a polysulphone middle layer which is porous and provides membrane support an ultrathin surface layer of aromatic polyamide membrane for separation Dow Filmtec have continued to develop the membrane itself and over the last five years have introduced the SR90 membrane to replace the original NF40 model with improvements in sulphate rejection and operating pressure, and more recently, have launched the SR90-400 element with around 20% more effective membrane surface. Improvements in the membrane itself continue and the additional benefits of the technology are described in the concluding section.



PROCESS DESIGN OF SULPHATE REMOVAL PLANT Sea water is lifted for process cooling - the dominant demand and sizing basis for the water winning system at 981 mbd (156,000 m3/d). All water is lifted from a depth of -65 m in order to be outside the thermocline thus minimising the effects of a bloom. It is then treated with hypochlorite to control marine growth in the system and coarse strainers to ensure removal of 95% of particles greater than 80 micron. The water injection and wash water demand is taken from the warm water return enroute to the overboard dump caisson. A conventional vacuum deaeration system removes oxygen prior to chemical scavenging to meet the 5 ppb oxygen specification. The oxygen scavenger also removes any residual hypochlorite and therefore protects the downstream sulphate reduction membranes from chlorine. After the deaerator the wash water stream is split away from the water injection stream and routed to the sulphate reduction unit. This dedicated sidestream is taken from the sump of the deaerator and provides a feed at around 7.5 barg to the membrane system which then produces low sulphate water for Heron and Marnock. The deaerated water contains: ammonium bisulphite to scavenge residual oxygen not already mechanically removed glutaraldehyde biocide shock dosed to the system on a weekly basis to protect against biological activity.

The deaerator does not use antifoams. The membranes used to selectively remove sulphate and other divalent ions from the seawater must be supplied with water whose Silt Density Index (SDI) is measured at less than 5 (note: SDI is a measure of the presence of all particles greater than 0.45 micron). There is no direct correlation between this index and, say, particle removal efficiency except that, generally, the better the particulate removal the lower the SDI. Wash water is essential for oil production from the Heron Cluster - the scaling risk is unacceptable even for short periods of operation - and the fine filter package must therefore be robust and continue to provide specification water during the bi-annual planktonic bloom. To enhance the particle removal efficiency of the media filters in order to achieve SDI's below 5, the presence of residual chlorine is recommended. Excess hypochlorite is dosed into the system downstream of the deaerator to provide a chlorine residual. The residual chlorine remaining after filtration must itself be removed since it substitutes itself with radical groups in the membrane polymeric structure and over a short time irrevocably damages the membrane.


Since the membrane possesses a negative surface charge, cationic polyelectrolytes cannot be used as filtration aids since there always exists a risk of polyelectrolyte breakthrough resulting in serious fouling of the membrane surface. As salts present in the feed are concentrated in the reject streams from the membrane system, antiscalant is injected upstream of the cartridge filters to inhibit the formation of scale. Feed water then passes through a cartridge filter which is rated at 5 micron to trap any particulate matter that may be present due to maloperation of the media filters. The feed pressure is then boosted to around 23 barg to enable nanofiltraion to occur and provide sufficient product pressure to enable entry into the downstream surge drum. In common with the sulphate removal (SR) plants described previously and by others(5,8), the ETAP membrane system was originally configured as a 2:1 array with product from the first stage of membranes recombined with product from the second stage; the second stage is fed with water rejected by the first stage. The overall system operates at a conversion of 75% where conversion is defined as the percentage ratio of product from the membrane system divided by feed to that system, e.g. for every 100 m3/h of seawater feed, 75 m3/h of low sulphate water will be produced. The ETAP system is designed to produce 133 m3/h of low sulphate water with an expected sulphate level of less than 40 mg/l from a feed of 179 m3/h with 2 x 50% trains of operation. Ideally, Shell would prefer to have the ability to employ water with as low a sulphate content as possible in the HT/HP subsea clusters. Various scenarios were evaluated to achieve this end and the idea of segregated membrane product streams was adopted. Normally, the product from the first stage is blended with the product from the second stage to produce the desired quantity and quality of product water. By inspecting the anticipated production profile over the life of operation for Heron and Marnock, it was found that the requirement for very low sulphate water could be met by separating the two product streams. Water with an expected sulphate level of around 25 mg/l would then be available from the first stage of membranes to dilute the high salinity produced waters in Heron and Marnock. Water produced from the second stage of membranes with an expected sulphate level of around 90 mg/l is used for crude washing. There will be certain periods of operation, however, when the two product streams will mix in the segregated surge vessel to give variance about the idealised situation described here. The membrane system will produce better quality lsw at the lower end of the operating temperature range, i.e. 21C, whereas the upstream deaerator operates more efficiently at the higher end of the range, i.e. 30C.


The water is subsequently treated by the dosing the following chemicals: a scale inhibitor, an asphaltene inhibitor, a periodic biocide and a supplementary oxygen scavenger. The oxygen specification of 5 ppb is critical to corrosion control in the well, pipelines and facilities. Following experience of corrosion in other water injection pipelines, the wash water pipeline itself has been specified as carbon steel with a plastic liner. Continuous oxygen monitoring at the top of the riser should detect any ingress from the fine filters, sulphate reduction package, pumps or flanges and trigger the injection of supplementary oxygen scavenger to control the deviation until the plant operator can take corrective action. An off-line membrane cleaning-in-place (CIP) system is included within the package which avoids the necessity for complex piping, valving, and control logics. Since the system should only be required to operate every three months, the downside of manual operation compared to the weight and cost penalty of an automatic integrated cleaning system is worthwhile. 8. MECHANICAL DESIGN CONSIDERATIONS The complete package is designed for a single point lift onto the Topsides at the Methil Yard in Scotland. The unit is 11.5 m x 6.5 m x 9.5 m high and is estimated to weigh 66 Te dry and 104 Te operating. The unit will be functionally tested only before final offshore commissioning. Since the SR system is supplied with deaerated water, the package is designed to eliminate air ingress. Seawater enters the package at around 5.5 barg and fibre reinforced plastic piping is employed upto the suction of the membrane booster pump. Duplex stainless steel is adopted for the high pressure section with operating pressures of around 23 barg and a design pressure of 41 barg. All valves are duplex stainless steel and instruments wetted parts in monel. The dual media filter vessels and cartridge filter vessels are constructed from carbon steel internally lined with a glass flake vinyl ester. The high pressure membrane booster pumps are constructed from duplex stainless steel and comply with API 610. Each pump has a 150 kW motor. The heart of the process comprises ASME X glass reinforced pressure vessels rated for 41 barg, each containing six 40" long x 8" Filmtec SR90-400 membrane elements. As described earlier, the membrane itself is constructed from a selection of polymers. The product streams flow to a nitrogen blanketed surge drum constructed of carbon steel internally lined with a glass flake vinyl ester and maintained at 1 barg.


Downstream of the sulphate reduction unit are the 2 x 50% high pressure injection pumps and chemical injection facilities. The injection pumps are slow speed, five (5) head reciprocating pumps rated at 1.2 MW - similar to drilling unit cement pumps. The off-line CIP system comprises a Celmar lined glass reinforced plastic tank with 40 kW electric heater, an 18.5 kW centrifugal duplex steel cleaning pump, glass flake lined carbon steel cartridge filter with polypropylene elements. The system is hard piped/ valved with 316 stainless steel local to the membranes and short sections of flexible hose for connection to the membrane system. The flexible hoses will be stored within the package when not in use. The subsea distribution of wash water utilises a single 6" pipeline routed from the CPF to the Heron field via the Skua and Egret fields. This is effectively a manifold system with flow control chokes for individual well annulus and flowline injection. In order to achieve the dilution volumes required, and optimise the rate and location of placement, the wash water will be distributed between bottom hole and flowline injection points. The chokes are slow acting, manual remote control and therefore balancing the system, particularly after a deviation such as a well start up or shutdown, may cause the plant operator a few headaches. 9. CONTROL AND INSTRUMENTATION Each train is designed to operate at 75% conversion with no turndown - water not required for Heron will either be used in desalting the crude prior to export or be dumped overboard. The control system is designed to avoid multiple control loops and to be as simple and safe as possible. A PLC based control system is employed locally with status signals transmitted to the platforms central control system. The pre-treatment section is started once all pre-checks have been completed with flowrate controlled automatically by the media filter flow control valves. Either train A or B is selected for start-up, the duty train booster pump being started once system checks permit. Until this point water is dumped overboard. The product diverter valve and the reject control valve are held open to drain until a certain time has elapsed to permit priming and flushing of the SR train. The SR train feed control valve is then closed and the train booster pump starts either automatically or manually. Both the SR train feed control valve and reject control valve are positioned under flow control with controller setpoints having been input by the operator. Once product water is within pre-set specification (by conductivity measurement) the product diverter valve automatically forwards water to the surge drum with valves ramped slowly to avoid hydraulic shock in the system. The second train is started similarly. The trains can be stopped due to low product demand or for routine cleaning or for maintenance. The sequence is automatic and ensures that the membranes are flushed and that the system does not experience hydraulic shock.

An SR train will automatically shutdown on for a variety of reasons other than described above. These include: high differential pressure across a bank of membranes, detection of chlorine, excessively high conversion or manual cleaning diverter valves in fault positions. The system will also shutdown due to platform emergency shutdown or local control panel emergency shutdown. The media filters are backwashed automatically on high differential pressure, timer or manual override with the sequence ensuring that only deaerated water is forwarded. The redox meters specified to detect the presence of chlorine are positioned in an instrument sample line. They have temperature compensation over the design range and will detect the presence of chlorine at 350mV (normal seawater 200 - 300 mV, chlorinated seawater 600 - 700 mV). It is imperative that they are regularly cleaned to ensure correct operation, so the design makes provision for easy access and withdrawal. On-line instrumentation for the measurement of sulphate content is currently being evaluated for possible future retrofit into the system though, at present, on-line conductivity measurements have been included to provide a surrogate for sulphate. The conductivity of the feed water in the cartridge filter inlet, and stage 1 and 2 product water is continuously monitored. The setpoints correspond to the predicted levels. The sulphate level itself can be measured off-line at predetermined time intervals, say once per shift, to test product quality. Dedicated injection pumps transfer first stage product to the Heron and Marnock subsea clusters whilst second stage product is transferred to wash the crude in the topsides' production export system. The pumps operate under level control in the surge drum. 10. DATA LOGGING Performance data (e.g. flowrate, temperature, pressure, conductivity) is communicated to the central control facility for data logging. This data set can then be sent back to Serck Baker for normalisation. The normalisation process will show how the membrane plant is performing against the base line conditions, enabling the prediction of manual intervention, e.g. to plan the cleaning of the membranes.



CONCLUSIONS This paper has described the challenges encountered in the ETAP development to select a suitable treatment process for use in certain HT/HP well clusters. The design aspects associated with the selected process, sulphate reduction by membrane based technology, have been detailed. This innovative technology can provide the lsw vital in the development of HP/HT wells and with the adoption of subsea systems facilitates production from small, and otherwise, marginal fields. Other advantages to using lsw are briefly described below. The uses of lsw for downhole scale control are already clear and have been reported by others(4-9). It has been reported(10) that an increasing proportion of offshore fields will be developed using horizontal well technology especially where pre-packed screens or slotted liners are employed and where there exists a moderate to severe scaling potential caused by the incompatibility of injection and formation waters. The imprecise nature of effective squeeze treatments in such systems will present opportunities for lsw. It has been stated that despite squeezing gravel packed wells, productivity lost due to scaling is only arrested, not restored(11) - lsw would present a tool to control this potential loss in oil revenue. As mentioned earlier, lsw is currently being specified for systems in the Gulf of Mexico where gravel packed completions are to be employed. Another major benefit in using lsw is the prospect of reducing the potential for hydrogen sulphide formation on breakthrough of injected seawater(12). By denying sulphate reducing bacteria (srb) a source of food, their activity can be limited(13). Though the srb may not be completely eliminated, the reduction in provision for downstream treatment systems and the relaxation in metallurgy required for sour service operation presents clear cost savings. This use of lsw is currently being tested by CAPCIS (at the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology) and the potential to employ the technology has been reported for Statoil's Gullfaks field(14). Dow Filmtec continue to develop the membrane itself. This in turn will lead to further benefits for the technology. The ETAP sulphate reduction package is currently under construction and will be delivered for hook-up to the platform's topside equipment in early 1997. It is expected to start in-service by Autumn, 1998.


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