The centre employs about 40 people, all with high levels of expertise in a number of research disciplines. The laboratories, including the world’s largest and most advanced multiphase flow laboratory at Tiller in Trondheim, will facilitate the whole range from bench- to full industrial scale experiments. During the last four years SINTEF has invested NOK 85 million in the multiphase flow laboratories.
Massive value generation
Multiphase flow technology has been a key factor in the development of the current capabilities of the oil and gas industry, both in Norway and internationally. Last autumn, Norway's leadingnewspaper, Aftenposten, singled it out as the most important Norwegian innovation since 1980. The research communities at SINTEF and the Norwegian Institute for Energy Technology (IFE) have played key roles in the development of this technology.
Multiphase flow enables any combination of phases produced by an oil and gas well, the so-called untreated well stream, to be transported in the same pipeline. This has enabled the industry to produce from many oil and gas fields which would otherwise have been impossible to develop, and has generated massive value. The technology has also been crucial to the development of a Norwegian supply industry, whose annual exports are currently worth NOK 130 billion.
Vital to future industry success
An advanced multiphase flow technology will be of crucial future significance now that the oil and gas industry is being faced with challenges such as deep water production, increasing transport distances, and hostile weather conditions.
Together with partners ConocoPhillips and TOTAL, SINTEF has developed the LEDA flow simulator – the multiphase flow simulation platform of the future. The new Multiphase Flow Centre will provide greater opportunities to link model simulations and theoretical research to advanced laboratory experiments on a wide range of scales.
Jon Harald Kaspersen heads the SINTEF Multiphase Flow Centre. He points out that the centre has ambitions to develop pioneering technologies, both for the petroleum industry and its suppliers. “In order to reduce financial, environmental, and other risks in the petroleum sector to an absolute minimum, it is essential to develop more precise tools”, he says. “Closer links between experimental and theoretical research will result in added value”, he continues. “By establishing a multiphase flow centre with a clear management structure, we will be able to offer our customers high-quality integrated solutions. The centre represents an attractive nucleus in the field of multiphase flow research, which will in turn entice the best students”, says Kaspersen.