ENG  Vol.10 No.3 , March 2018
Numerical Feasibility Study of a Wax Cold Flow Approach for Subsea Tie-In Flowlines Using a 1D Mechanistic Multiphase Flow Simulator
Abstract: This work is a thermo-fluid numerical case study to investigate the size and performance of a system that eliminates needs for insulating, heating and inhibiting chemically the deposition of wax in subsea tie-in flowlines. For short, we call this type of systems “Cold Flow”. The particular system analyzed in this study consists of a reactor unit at the inlet to the flowline, where the thermal solubility of the wax-creating molecules is reduced by cooling. Subsequently, solid wax is deposited in the reactor piping and wax free crude is entering the flowline. The reactor is regenerated periodically. The reactor-pipeline system was modelled using a commercial flowline simulator, with transient, thermal, multiphase and deposition capabilities. The basic layout used was a transportation pipeline of 8 km and 6.69 in ID with a mass flow rate of 17.51 kg/s, a water cut (WC) of zero and an inlet temperature of 70°C. The wax appearance temperature (cloud point) of the crude is 22°C and the seabed temperature is 4°C. Three types of reactors have been simulated: a non-insulated pipe section, a passive cooler with a bundle of parallel pipes and an active cooler. Sensitivity analyses have been performed for all three cases varying the external convective coefficient, the reactor pipeline diameter and the WC. For a non-insulated pipeline section cooler, the required length is of the same order of magnitude as the main flowline, implying that such a solution is impractical for short flowline distances or when a compact deployment is desired. For the passive cooler case, the required length was half of that in the previous case; thus it is still significant. For the active cooler reactor, the required cooling duty was 2.2 MW. In all three cases, the pipe-flow dynamics were analyzed, and the pigging arrangement complexity has been qualitatively addressed. However, the detailed design falls out of the scope of this study.
Cite this paper: González, D. , Stanko, M. and Golan, M. (2018) Numerical Feasibility Study of a Wax Cold Flow Approach for Subsea Tie-In Flowlines Using a 1D Mechanistic Multiphase Flow Simulator. Engineering, 10, 109-123. doi: 10.4236/eng.2018.103008.

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