Production pipelines from wellhead to initial processing or storage facilities are conventionally designed for the full wellhead shut-in pressure. However under normal operating conditions, the pipeline experiences a fraction of this pressure, sufficient to maintain product flow.

If a Pipeline Protection System is installed, the pressure rating of the downstream pipeline and associated equipment can be reduced significantly, which in turn lowers capital investment for overall project execution. High Integrity is required as the safety of the pipeline depends on the correct operation of the protection system.

Reduction of pressure rating by installing HIPPS could realise the following advantages:-

  • Reduced cost of pipeline - can constitute a significant portion of field development cost (dependent on length, diameter, pressure rating, material type and installation costs).

  • Reduced pressure rating of downstream equipment - risers, separators, process plant, etc.

  • Could allow a new marginal field to tie in to existing lower pressure infrastructure.

  • Could increase safety by ensuring reduced pressure levels - particularly for high pressure wells on manned facilities.

  • Could be enabling technology for HPHT projects and some floating production systems using flexible risers.

This paper reflects on experience gained from work on various HIPPS studies, and delivery of two systems.

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