Abstract

The paper discusses the development of the Subsea High Boost Multiphase Pump System, which led to the first installation of this technology in the Barracuda field, Campos Basin, offshore Brazil. The Helico-axial High Boost Multiphase pump qualification program was started in 2007 (ref. 6), and went through extensive testing and qualification activities, with the latest endurance test being performed in 2011. The Barracuda subsea multiphase boosting system is installed at a water depth of 1040 m with a tie-back distance of 10.5 km to the P-48 platform and was started up in July 2012. The Barracuda multiphase pump is capable of providing high differential pressure in a wide range of gas volume fractions. The high boost multiphase pump is currently being considered to several other applications worldwide as we move towards deeper waters and longer tie-backs. Some more work is being done so this technology could reach the next step, being qualified to a broader range of applications in order to meet the industry needs. The paper will also discuss current and future applications of this technology, and present the latest status of the Barracuda project.

Introduction

Subsea multiphase boosting is an important technology to the oil and gas industry. Many companies have invested a lot of effort, recourses and time in research and developments over the years seeking to develop reliable and robust solutions for the subsea environment. With more than 18 years since the first field application at the Draugen (Shell) field the helico-axial impellers are currently one of the most important and robust technologies for subsea multiphase pumping.

The initial idea for subsea boosting was to extend satellite production from 10 to 50 km away from existing infrastructure. This would make some field developments feasible as it would allow the same production unit to be used for remote well tie-backs. Another clear benefit of this technology is the possibility to increase the oil recovery and accelerate the production without interfering with the wells or the fluid characteristics.

With the growing subsea activities over the past years the operators faced challenges that required equipment which could be able to add higher differential pressure to the multiphase flow. Without modifying the field proven helicon-axial design the multiphase pump was further developed to be able to handle the required differential pressures.

In 2007 the High Boost pump prototype was designed and built in Norway being first tested in February 2008. After conducting tests over more than 2 years the High Boost technology was qualified. In 2012 the first High Boost pump was started up in the Barracuda field (PETROBRAS - Campos Basin) which has been in continuous operation for more than one year so far.

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