Sand production in oil and gas fields severely affects multiphase flow pipelines, piping and production facilities result in erosion damages and operational difficulties including valves, bends and other geometric fittings leading to loss of primary containment (LOPC). Presently, there is no technology available which can control sand erosion in real-time and help optimize production. This paper aims to present the first field deployment of a uniquely engineered flow modification device in debottlenecking a high sand producing well and maximizing production while reduction in erosion.
The sand erosion challenge can be overcome by using a patented Erosion Control Technology (ECT), to deflect and redistribute sand in the product flow stream. ECT has been successfully developed and validated through three test programs between 2016-2019. Following these, ECT technology maturity has been qualified for field application and selected to be deployed by PETRONAS, in one of the offshore fields located in Sabah, Malaysia, which is currently experiencing high erosion due to high sand production. The ECT pipe spool consists of a 3D printed Inconel 718 alloy insert integrated into carbon steel pipe to protect an elbow from sand erosion within the topsides wellhead piping system upstream of the wellhead choke. A control elbow upstream of the ECT device has also been installed to act as a mean of comparison throughout the pilot.
The protected elbow and control elbow will be monitored using manual UT at marked locations to measure localized wall thickness variation over the pilot testing period. The pilot is part way through its test program having been installed and commissioned at the end of 2021. Photos of the arrangement are shared in this paper along with the baseline wall thickness measurement.
The pilot trial success criteria are to show that the protected elbow will have minimal wall loss compared to the control elbow showing the effectiveness of ECT. The pilot expects ECT to reduce erosion due to sand and safeguard the facilities as well as maximize well production in preventing shortfall in total field production.