Flow Assurance Workshops

The Flow Assurance Workshop is a biannual event designed to create an interface between student and staff research projects and critical technology goals within the oil and gas community. These workshops provide a forum in which young scholars can present their latest results and analyses, to gain feedback on the applicability of their results with an industrial context. Since the first Workshop in November 2013, we have generated a set of three annual research themes that are designed to align and focus research projects across Final Year Project students in Chemical and Mechanical Engineering disciplines, PhD scholars, and postdoctoral research projects:

Theme #1: Assessing Hydrate Blockage Formation Risk. There is a significant knowledge gap in how to assess hydrate blockage risk during transient operations, including shut-in and restart operations for subsea flowlines. In this theme, we are deploying high-pressure laboratory instrumentation to (i) identify the visual mechanisms that lead to hydrate blockage formation and (ii) develop new growth rate and transport models to more accurately predict hydrate plug formation. The deliverable of this theme is our Hydrate Flow Assurance Simulation Tool (HyFAST), which has been developed in collaboration with the Colorado School of Mines. The most recent version of this freeware tool is available from our Software page.

Theme #2: Hydrate Growth in Gas-Dominant Systems. While significant effort has been expended in the past two decades to understand the blockage mechanism of hydrate particles in oil-continuous systems, little is understood about how hydrates form and block gas-continuous systems. Typically understood to be at higher risk than oil, these gas systems enable unique wall growth and particle deposition mechanisms that require specialised tools to investigate. Launching in 2015, our efforts in this area will be focused on new experimental measurements of (i) hydrate growth rate, (ii) deposition rate, and (iii) pressure drop increase in gas-continuous systems. Improved blockage models will be simultaneously developed to improve both HyFAST and OLGA.

Theme #3: Advanced Chemicals. The aggregation and deposition of produced solids represents a critical path in flowline blockage. In this theme, we are deploying a new suite of micromechanical force, interfacial tension, and low-field NMR tools to quantify the interactions between gas hydrate, asphaltene, wax, and sand solids. Through the diversity of oil and gas systems studied, these tools enable us to generate an energy landscape in the pipeline, to identify the optimal injection chemicals and dosage strategies to minimise particle interaction and deposition. The deliverable of this theme is new physical understanding of how and why solids interact in subsea systems, to inform how this behaviour may be prevented through both chemical and physical intervention.

If you are interested in joining the next Flow Assurance Workshop meeting, please contact Dr Zach Aman (zachary.aman@uwa.edu.au).

Historical Meeting Notes