Production operations planning is an important function for the integration of petroleum midstream delivery activities, as it defines the strategy for product delivery at the operational level in order to meet delivery contracts.

This paper describes a practical application of real-time online transient flow simulation technology to support operations planning in a crude oil gathering system, in which an onshore terminal manages production from five offshore pipelines. Planning operations at the terminal is a daily challenge due to limited storage and water processing capacities, and is further complicated by large uncertainties in fluid arrival volumes and product quality caused by operating changes.

A production planning support system based on transient flow modeling technology was implemented in the wet crude pipeline network. The objective was to track the dynamic state of the system and use it to provide virtual measurements of hydraulic conditions in the pipelines, along with production volumes and product quality indicators at the terminal. Such information is generated in real time and has enabled the following business functionalities:

  • Planning for crude oil production at the terminal proactively rather than reactively

  • Quantifying oil and water volume impact on terminal operations in response to operational changes taking into consideration dynamic oil/water holdup effects

  • Forecasting water production volumes and exposing results to manage operation of water treatment facilities according to capacity and availability

The modeling system has proven to be an effective tool in the tracking and forecasting of the pipeline operation, and has been incorporated into the operator's daily production planning workflow. The system has also drawn much needed attention to the transient aspects of fluid flow in an oil-water pipeline network, behavior that is often perceived as immaterial for liquid only systems, but was largely responsible for the quality and volume tracking issues that the operator was facing.

This paper is a reissue of the paper published in 2013 (SPE-166537), which has now been updated to reflect the newly expanded scope of the online system to cover both the light oil (original scope) and heavy oil (new scope) pipeline networks.

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