To minimize the environmental footprint and reduce the costs of the petroleum production, many future field developments are likely to be tiebacks to permanent installations. In many areas, tiebacks are the only option to develop offshore fields cost efficiently.
Most petroleum production systems deliver fluids with complex physical chemistry, where the complexity arises either from chemical compounds naturally occurring in the production flow or chemicals added to prevent corrosion or other flow assurance issues. The presence of chemicals can change the flow behaviour drastically, potentially causing severe problems such as flow instabilities, poor separation, foaming, and thus production loss. The industry is not equipped to predict problems associated with chemicals and surfactants, as current models can only deal with "ideal" fluid systems.
The consequence is that decisions regarding design and operation of petroleum production systems are based on incomplete information and are suboptimal from both an economic and environmental viewpoint.
To improve this, ChemFlow aims to develop simple, robust characterization methods for complex fluid systems. ChemFlow will also develop new models in the multiphase flow simulator LedaFlow, enabling the industry to predict the behaviour of complex fluid systems. By conducting multiphase pipeline flow experiments, accuracy of the new prediction models can be validated.
It is believed that the planned innovations will be important for profitable development of petroleum production systems with reduced CO2 footprint and minimum use of chemicals. ChemFlow contributes to tieback solutions that can play a key role for Norway's ability to meet emission targets while maintaining a competitive industry. Furthermore, export of the technology can have a significant impact on the environmental footprint from global oil and gas industry.