Abstract

This paper elucidates the key flow assurance challenges for China’s first National Deepwater gas field development in South China Sea and the facilities design forming the overall flow assurance management strategy. The discussion covers early stage feasibility studies through current stage of project execution. In addition, the finding of flow assurance analysis serves as key input for start-up and commissioning guidelines as well as operating procedures.

The development consists of a semi-submersible, with the Eastern and the Western loops spanning more than 40 km of Subsea Production System (SPS). Due to long subsea tiebacks, integrated flow assurance analysis is rolled out to ensure comprehensive risks analysis and active risks management. In particular, key challenges associated with typical Deepwater characteristics such as high pressure and low temperature are actively managed. With design water depth of more than 1500 m and more than 10 Deepwater subsea production wells, robust flow assurance management strategy is required from early activities such as well unloading, well test, pre-commissioning, first gas, through late life decommissioning.

Integrated approach is implemented for overall system thermohydraulics analysis, which is used as basis for key flow assurance assessments, including but not limited to management strategy for hydrate, scales, erosion, and slugging. Detailed management strategy and philosophy are discussed in the main body of this paper. Overall chemical management strategy, for instance, is fully optimized to reduce Health, Safety, Security and Environment (HSSE) impact, coupled with sufficient safety margin to ensure minimum downtime.

Through integrated flow assurance analysis, all key risks are identified and actively managed. This shows the importance of integrated flow assurance approach to ensure overall project safety and integrity. More importantly, overall optimization can be successful rolled out when the field is in production. This serves as a positive lesson learned for future Deepwater development in South China Sea.

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