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1983: Seven-league steps on the seabed
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Published March 8, 2012

Until recently, platforms were an essential element of offshore petroleum production; but no longer, thanks to Norwegian  multiphase technology.
 
 In rural surroundings at Tiller, just outside Trondheim city centre, lies the world’s biggest laboratory for studies of how oil, gas and water from petroleum wells behave when they share a transportation pipeline on the seabed. Photo: SINTEF

It all began with the modelling software called OLGA, whose first version was developed by IFE in early 80s.

In Trondheim, SINTEF inaugurated its Multiphase Laboratory in 1983. Fed with data from the laboratory, OLGA created the foundations of technology that enabled the petroleum industry to carry untreated well-flow – oil, gas and water – over long distances on the seabed in a single pipeline, and directly from the well to a platform on a neighbouring field, or ashore; multiphase transport.


Made subsea field developments feasible

Multiphase technology is an important cause of the ability of the petroleum industry to locate entire production facilities on the seabed, thus saving major investments.

Multiphase technology has also made it possible to develop oil- and gas-fields that would not otherwise have been profitable. This has brought in enormous amounts of money to the national coffers. At the beginning of the new millennium, the technology was adopted for the Snøhvit and Ormen Lange fields -  the first major developments on the Norwegian continental shelf that did not employ production platforms or vessels.

Equipped for new deepwater challenges

The SINTEF laboratory is the biggest of its kind in the world. Large-scale tests had to be carried out for these pioneering efforts to be successful. If the experiments had been performed on small scales, we could not have been certain that the results could be used on large-diameter pipelines.

Between 2007 and 2010, SINTEF expanded its multiphase facilities at a cost of NOK 85 million in order to meet the multiphase challenges of the future.


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