This case study outlines the techniques used to model the Williams Production RMT Grand Valley gas gathering system in the Piceance Basin. The results of the modeling exemplify how a nodal analysis model can become an invaluable tool for optimizing the performance of gas gathering systems and planning future system expansion.

Field production in the Grand Valley gathering system varies minute by minute, creating a dynamic system that is difficult to model with standard practice. Using an innovative statistical method to handle the scale and complexity of the system, the model has consistently and accurately simulated the true flowing conditions of the system over the last five years. The model has been used to successfully locate and quantify substantial static and frictional pressure losses. As the field develops, proposed drilling programs are added to forecast the impact of the new wells on the system. Various pipeline and compressor expansion scenarios are tested to determine the most effective locations and cost viable options.

Recommendations from the model have been successfully implemented and have played an integral role in the expansion of the gathering system. The model has been used to identify exact locations of pressure losses, help plan for incremental drilling volumes, and quantify the additional costs incurred from third party gas entering the system.

This paper explains how a model can assist in the successful development of a large scale, high volume, and dynamic gas gathering system. Details of the modeling procedure and highlights of the innovations implemented to meet the challenging operating conditions and aggressive development of this field are presented.

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