Due to the recent drop in the oil prices, the oil and gas industry is experiencing tremendous pressures to reduce costs. This is especially true for both Subsea Production Systems (SPS) development and operations to ensure profitability while meeting increasing regulatory requirements.

In the last years, the modelling and simulation of multiphase flows has become a powerful engineering tool to conduct virtual experiments during design and development for many industries, such as aerospace, automotive, energy and healthcare. This is mainly due to the significant improvement of the modelling approaches which include more details of multiphase flow physics and phenomena. An additional growth contribution is due to the rapid development of the computational resources and computer power.

The oil and gas industry can benefit from high fidelity multiphase flow modelling and simulation tools to minimize the cost of production system design during the project development phase as well as to support optimized operation and assessment of production performance. Because of the low-risk virtual environment, the use of multiphase flow modelling and simulation tools will also reduce the cost of physical testing, assist development of new technologies, and the evaluation of novel concepts.

The objective of this paper is to provide an overview of the state-of-the-art of multiphase flow simulation tools and their recent evolution and adaptation for subsea applications. The focus is on multiphase flow modelling using Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) simulation tools, and in particular on their capabilities and limitations when applied to predict the hydrocarbons behavior throughout their journey from the reservoir to the processing facility. Applications of multiphase CFD tools to support the design, operation and monitoring of SPS and the developments and validations required for replacing costly laboratory tests, component qualification and field tests are also addressed and discussed.

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