AU2009276524B2 - Method and system for subsea processing of multiphase well effluents - Google Patents

Method and system for subsea processing of multiphase well effluents Download PDF

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Publication number
AU2009276524B2
AU2009276524B2 AU2009276524A AU2009276524A AU2009276524B2 AU 2009276524 B2 AU2009276524 B2 AU 2009276524B2 AU 2009276524 A AU2009276524 A AU 2009276524A AU 2009276524 A AU2009276524 A AU 2009276524A AU 2009276524 B2 AU2009276524 B2 AU 2009276524B2
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AU
Australia
Prior art keywords
liquid level
pump
liquid
separation vessel
fluid
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Ceased
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AU2009276524A
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AU2009276524A1 (en
Inventor
Svein Audun Haheim
Current Assignee (The listed assignees may be inaccurate. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation or warranty as to the accuracy of the list.)
Shell Internationale Research Maatschappij BV
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Shell Internationale Research Maatschappij BV
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Priority to EP08161579A priority Critical patent/EP2149673A1/en
Priority to EP08161579.1 priority
Application filed by Shell Internationale Research Maatschappij BV filed Critical Shell Internationale Research Maatschappij BV
Priority to PCT/US2009/052186 priority patent/WO2010014770A1/en
Publication of AU2009276524A1 publication Critical patent/AU2009276524A1/en
Application granted granted Critical
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Classifications

    • EFIXED CONSTRUCTIONS
    • E21EARTH DRILLING; MINING
    • E21BEARTH DRILLING, e.g. DEEP DRILLING; OBTAINING OIL, GAS, WATER, SOLUBLE OR MELTABLE MATERIALS OR A SLURRY OF MINERALS FROM WELLS
    • E21B43/00Methods or apparatus for obtaining oil, gas, water, soluble or meltable materials or a slurry of minerals from wells
    • E21B43/34Arrangements for separating materials produced by the well
    • E21B43/36Underwater separating arrangements
    • EFIXED CONSTRUCTIONS
    • E21EARTH DRILLING; MINING
    • E21BEARTH DRILLING, e.g. DEEP DRILLING; OBTAINING OIL, GAS, WATER, SOLUBLE OR MELTABLE MATERIALS OR A SLURRY OF MINERALS FROM WELLS
    • E21B43/00Methods or apparatus for obtaining oil, gas, water, soluble or meltable materials or a slurry of minerals from wells
    • E21B43/01Methods or apparatus for obtaining oil, gas, water, soluble or meltable materials or a slurry of minerals from wells specially adapted for obtaining from underwater installations

Abstract

A method and system are disclosed for subsea processing multiphase well effluents comprising natural gas and liquid from a subsea hydrocarbon containing formation, which system (1) comprises: - a fluid separation vessel (6) which is connected to a downstream end of a multiphase well effluent transportation conduit (7); - a liquid level transmitter assembly (21,22) for monitoring the gas liquid interface (23) in the fluid separation vessel (6); - a liquid enriched fluid transportation flowline (14) connected at or near the bottom (13) of the fluid separation vessel (6) and a gas enriched fluid transportation flowline (12) connected at or near a top (11) of the fluid separation vessel (6); - a pump (17) connected to an electric motor (18); and - a fast acting variable speed drive system, which is coupled to the liquid level controller which adjusts the pump and motor speed setpoint within 2 seconds to maintain the liquid level in the vessel at a predetermined setpoint.

Description

METHOD AND SYSTEM FOR SUBSEA PROCESSING OF MULTIPHASE WELL EFFLUENTS BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION The invention relates to a method and system for subsea processing of multiphase well effluents. 5 US patent 7,210,530 discloses a fluid delivery system comprising a vertical liquid/vapor separator and riser assembly that comprises a multi-phase separator inlet, a vapor outlet and riser, and a liquid outlet port connected to a hydraulically-driven centrifugal pump. By controlling the operational speed of the pump, the level of the separated liquid within the separator can be controlled without the need for control valves. The vertical separator is capable 0 of low pressure operation and large variations in controlled liquid levels within the separator, allowing the relatively slow reaction time pump to control the liquid level from low pressure wells penetrating low pressure reservoirs. There is a need in the art for one or more of the following: A hydraulic pump with a response time of less than about twenty seconds, or less than 5 about sixty seconds; A hydraulic pump combined with a differential pressure transducer to control the flowrate of the liquid flowing through the liquid flowline; and/or A subsea processing system without the need for a low level shutdown system to protect the pump from mechanical damage if the separator is drained. 20 SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION According to a first aspect of the present invention, there is provided a method of subsea processing multiphase well effluents produced from an underwater hydrocarbon containing formation, the method comprising: - arranging a fluid separation vessel at or near a seabed; 25 - inducing the multiphase well effluents to flow from the formation through a well and an underwater multiphase well effluent transportation conduit to a fluid separation vessel; - separating the multiphase well effluents in the fluid separation vessel into a gas enriched fluid fraction gas and a liquid enriched fluid fraction; la - transferring the gas enriched fluid fraction and the liquid enriched fluid fraction to surface crude oil gas processing facilities via separate flowlines; and - boosting the pressure in the flowline for transferring the liquid enriched fluid fraction by a pump; 5 - wherein the speed of the pump is controlled by a fast acting variable speed drive system which is coupled to a liquid level controller comprising a first liquid level transmitter and a second liquid level transmitter, which monitors the liquid level in the fluid separation vessel and which increases the pump speed within 2 seconds if the liquid level rises above the first liquid level transmitter and decreases the pump speed within 2 seconds if the liquid level 0 drops below the second liquid level transmitter. According to a second aspect of the present invention, there is provided a system for subsea processing multiphase well effluents comprising natural gas and liquid from an underwater hydrocarbon containing formation, the system comprising: - a fluid separation vessel which is connected to a downstream end of a multiphase well 5 effluent transportation conduit; - a liquid level controller for monitoring the liquid level in the fluid separation vessel, wherein the liquid level controller comprises a first liquid level transmitter and a second liquid level transmitter; - a liquid enriched fluid transportation flowline connected at or near the bottom of the .0 fluid separation vessel and a gas enriched fluid transportation flowline connected at or near a top of the fluid separation vessel; - a pump; and - a fast acting variable speed drive system, which is coupled to the liquid level controller and which is configured to increase the speed of the pump within 2 seconds if the liquid level is 25 below the second liquid level transmitter and to decrease the speed of the pump within 2 seconds if the liquid level is above the first liquid level transmitter. In accordance with the invention there is provided a method of subsea processing multiphase well effluents produced from an underwater hydrocarbon containing formation, the method comprising: 30 - arranging a fluid separation vessel at or near the seabed; lb - inducing the multiphase well effluents to flow from the formation through a well and an underwater multiphase well effluent transportation conduit to the fluid separation vessel; WO 2010/014770 PCT/US2009/052186 - separating the mixture in the fluid separation vessel into gas and liquid enriched fluid fractions; - transferring the liquid and gas enriched fluid fraction to surface crude oil gas processing facilities via separate flowlines; 5 - boosting the pressure in the flowline for transferring the liquid enriched fluid fraction by a pump of which the pump speed is adjusted in response to variation of a gas liquid interface level in the separation vessel; - wherein the pump is driven by an electric motor of which the speed is controlled by a fast acting variable speed drive system. 10 Brief Description of the Drawings: FIG.1 is a schematic view of a subsea processing system according to the invention. Detailed Description of the Invention: A liquid level transmitter measures the liquid level in the separation 15 vessel and transmits the level signal to a controller, which adjusts the pump speed setpoint in a cascade arrangement to maintain the liquid level at a predetermined setpoint. The level controller is tuned to provide extremely fast action for handling level disturbances caused by changes in the liquid feed rate, such that the pump speed setpoint is almost instantly adjusted to 20 respond to changes in liquid level. However the level controller also provides stable pump speed when the liquid feed rate is stable. The fast acting variable speed drive receives its speed setpoint from the level controller and increases or decreases the pump speed within 2 seconds, being limited only by the physical capabilities of the particular 25 variable speed drive. This fast acting level controller enables the use of compact separation systems as the liquid interface level can now be maintained within a small boundary. It is also preferred that the pump is a gas tolerant or multiphase pump, to ensure occasional separator drainage or gas surge can be tolerated when 30 severe liquid feed disturbances occur which may require a faster pump speed response than is physically possible with the variable speed drive. It is furthermore preferred that: 2 WO 2010/014770 PCT/US2009/052186 - the flowline for transferring the gas enriched fluid fraction is connected at or near the top of the separation vessel and the flowline for transferring the liquid enriched fluid fraction is connected at or near the bottom of the gravity separation vessel, that the flowline for 5 transferring the gas enriched fluid fraction is equipped with a liquid overflow valve, which is closed if liquid enters the valve, - the separation vessel and liquid valve overflow valve are arranged in a separator module which is retrievably mounted on a pump station base at the seabed and 10 - the pump and the electric pump motor are mounted in a pump module, which is retrievably mounted on the pump station base. Furthermore, an inlet of a fluid recirculation conduit may be connected to the liquid enriched fluid transportation conduit at a location downstream of the pump and an outlet of the fluid recirculation conduit is connected to the 15 multiphase well effluent transportation conduit, which conduit is equipped with a valve, which is opened during start up of the pump and which is subsequently closed. In accordance with the invention there is furthermore provided a system for subsea processing multiphase well effluents comprising natural 20 gas and liquid from an underwater hydrocarbon containing formation, the system comprising: - a fluid separation vessel which is connected to a downstream end of a multiphase well effluent transportation conduit; - a liquid level transmitter assembly for monitoring the gas liquid interface in 25 the fluid separation vessel; - a liquid level controller which receives the signal from the level transmitter and generates a pump speed setpoint for controlling the liquid level to a predetermined setpoint; - a liquid enriched fluid transportation flowline connected at or near the 30 bottom of the fluid separation vessel and a gas enriched fluid transportation flowline connected at or near a top of the fluid separation vessel; - a pump connected to an electric motor; 3 WO 2010/014770 PCT/US2009/052186 - a fast acting variable speed drive system, which is coupled to the liquid level controller which control the pump and motor speed as fast as physically possible, within 2 seconds, to achieve the pump speed setpoint from the level controller. 5 These and other features, embodiments and advantages of the method and system according to the invention are described in the accompanying claims, abstract and the following detailed description of a preferred embodiment disclosed in the accompanying drawing in which reference numerals are used which refer to corresponding reference 10 numerals that are shown in the drawings. Figure 1: FIG.1 shows a subsea processing system 1 according to the invention comprising a separation module 2 and a pump module 3 that are retrievably mounted on a base 4, which is mounted on the seabed 5. 15 The separation module 2 comprises a gas-liquid separation vessel 6, which is connected to a multiphase well effluent flowline 7, which is connected via a manifold 8 to a pair of subsea gas wells 9 and 10 which produce a multiphase flow mixture of natural gas, water, condensates and optionally crude oil from an underwater gas reservoir (not shown). The gas 20 liquid separation vessel 6 is provided with an upper outlet 11 for discharging a gas enriched fluid fraction into a gas transportation conduit 12 and with a lower outlet 13 for discharging a liquid enriched fluid fraction into a liquid transportation conduit 14. The gas and liquid transportation conduits 12 and 14 comprise vertical riser sections 12A, 14A, which are suspended below a 25 floating platform 15, which floats at the water surface 16. In order to enhance the liquid production and reduce the backpressure of the hydrostatic liquid column in the liquid filled riser section 14A on the separation vessel 6 the pump module 3 comprises a gas tolerant liquid pump 17, which is driven by an electric motor 18 that is powered via an electrical 30 cable 19 by an electric power source 20 at the platform 15. The electric motor 18 is equipped with a fast acting variable speed drive system, which is coupled, as indicated by dashed line 24, to an assembly of two liquid level transmitters 21 and 22 and a level controller 4 WO 2010/014770 PCT/US2009/052186 which monitor the liquid level 23 in the separation vessel 6. The level controller provides the speed setpoint to the fast acting variable speed drive system. The level controller will increase the speed of the motor and pump assembly 17,18 within 1 to 2 seconds if the liquid level increases above its 5 setpoint 21 and the level controller will decrease the speed of the motor and pump assembly 17,18 within 1 to 2 seconds if the liquid level 23 drops below the predetermined liquid level controller setpoint 21. In order to inhibit liquid to flow into the gas transportation conduit 12 in case of a liquid surge a liquid overflow valve 25 is arranged in the gas 10 transportation conduit 12 in the vicinity of the upper gas outlet 11, which valve automatically closes itself if a liquid surge enters the valve. During start up of the pump 17 at least a fraction of the liquid discharged from the lower liquid outlet 13 is circulated back to the multiphase well effluent flowline 7 through a liquid recycling conduit 26, which is 15 equipped with a valve 27, which is opened during the pump start up phase and which is subsequently gradually closed. The valve 27 may comprise a conventional subsea choke and an on-off valve, which does not need to be fast acting as failure to control the recycle flow rate will not have a detrimental effect on the multiphase pump 17. 20 Thus an advantage of the subsea processing system according to the invention is that the valves 25 and 27 may be simple on off valves, which do not require a complex dynamic control of the valve openings and that the electric motor 18 is the only subsea component which is dynamically controlled by a fast acting variable speed drive system which receives its 25 speed setpoint from a level controller. The modular construction of the system 1 allows replacement, inspection and/or repair of the retrievable pump and separator modules 3 and 2 by disconnecting the stab-in pipe joints 30 and the subsea power cable connector 31 and then lifting the pump and/or separator module 3,2 to a 30 vessel at the water surface 16 for replacement inspection and/or repair. It will be understood that the processing system 1 according to the invention may be installed at the bottom 5 of an ocean, sea, lake and/or river and that the term "subsea" as used in this specification and the 5 WO 2010/014770 PCT/US2009/052186 accompanying claims should be interpreted extensively so that it embraces all these options. 6

Claims (16)

1. A method of subsea processing multiphase well effluents produced from an underwater hydrocarbon containing formation, the method comprising: - arranging a fluid separation vessel at or near a seabed; 5 - inducing the multiphase well effluents to flow from the formation through a well and'an underwater multiphase well effluent transportation conduit to a fluid separation vessel; - separating the multiphase well effluents in the fluid separation vessel into a gas enriched fluid fraction gas and a liquid enriched fluid fraction; - transferring the gas enriched fluid fraction and the liquid enriched fluid fraction to 0 surface crude oil gas processing facilities via separate flowlines; and - boosting the pressure in the flowline for transferring the liquid enriched fluid fraction by a pump; - wherein the speed of the pump is controlled by a fast acting variable speed drive system which is coupled to a liquid level controller comprising a first liquid level transmitter and a 5 second liquid level transmitter, which monitors the liquid level in the fluid separation vessel and which increases the pump speed within 2 seconds if the liquid level rises above the first liquid level transmitter and decreases the pump speed within 2 seconds if the liquid level drops below the second liquid level transmitter.
2. The method of claim 1, wherein the fast acting variable speed drive system increases the 20 pump speed in a cascade arrangement within 1 to 2 seconds of the liquid level is below the second liquid level transmitter or decreases the pump speed in a cascade arrangement within 1 to 2 seconds if the liquid level is above the first liquid level transmitter.
3. The method of claim 1 or 2, wherein the pump is a gas tolerant multiphase pump.
4. The method of claim 3, wherein the pump is a positive displacement pump. 25
5. The method of claim 4, wherein the pump is a twin screw pump.
6. The method of any one of claims I to 5, wherein the fluid separation vessel is a gravity separation vessel and the flowline for transferring the gas enriched fluid fraction is connected at 8 or near the top of the gravity separation vessel and the flowline for transferring the liquid enriched fluid fraction is connected at or near the bottom of the gravity separation vessel.
7. The method of any one of claims 1 to 6, wherein the fluid separation vessel is a compact separation vessel and the flowline for transferring the gas enriched fluid fraction is connected at 5 or near the top of the gravity separation vessel and the flowline for transferring the liquid enriched fluid fraction is connected at or near the bottom of the gravity separation vessel.
8. The method of claim 6 or 7, wherein the flowline for transferring the gas enriched fluid fraction is equipped with a liquid overflow valve.
9. The method of claim 8, wherein the fluid separation vessel and the liquid overflow valve 0 are arranged in a separator module which is retrievably mounted on a pump station base at the seabed.
10. The method of claim 9, wherein the pump is mounted in a pump module, which is retrievably mounted on the pump station base.
11. The method of any one of claims 1 to 10, wherein an inlet of a fluid recirculation conduit 5 is connected to the flowline for transferring the liquid enriched fluid fraction at a location downstream of the pump and an outlet of the fluid recirculation conduit is connected to the underwater multiphase well effluent transportation conduit, which is equipped with a valve, which is opened during start up of the pump and which is subsequently closed.
12. The method of claim 11, wherein the valve is configured to be moved between a fully 20 opened and a fully closed position over a time interval of around 20 seconds.
13. A system for subsea processing multiphase well effluents comprising natural gas and liquid from an underwater hydrocarbon containing formation, the system comprising: - a fluid separation vessel which is connected to a downstream end of a multiphase well effluent transportation conduit; 25 - a liquid level controller for monitoring the liquid level in the fluid separation vessel, wherein the liquid level controller comprises a first liquid level transmitter and a second liquid level transmitter; 9 - a liquid enriched fluid transportation flowline connected at or near the bottom of the fluid separation vessel and a gas enriched fluid transportation flowline connected at or near a top of the fluid separation vessel; - a pump; and 5 - a fast acting variable speed drive system, which is coupled to the liquid level controller and which is configured to increase the speed of the pump within 2 seconds if the liquid level is below the second liquid level transmitter and to decrease the speed of the pump within 2 seconds if the liquid level is above the first liquid level transmitter.
14. The system of claim 13, wherein the fast acting variable speed drive system is configured 0 to increase the pump speed in a cascade arrangement with 1 to 2 seconds if the liquid level is below the second liquid level transmitter and decrease the pump speed in a cascade arrangement within 1 to 2 seconds if the liquid level is above the first liquid level transmitter.
15. A method of subsea processing multiphase well effluents produced from an underwater hydrocarbon containing formation, substantially as hereinbefore described with reference to the 5 accompanying drawing.
16. A system for subsea processing multiphase well effluents comprising natural gas and liquid from an underwater hydrocarbon containing formation, substantially as hereinbefore described with reference to accompanying drawing. Dated 18 January 2013 20 Shell Internationale Research Maatschappij B.V. Patent Attorneys for the Applicant/Nominated Person SPRUSON & FERGUSON
AU2009276524A 2008-07-31 2009-07-30 Method and system for subsea processing of multiphase well effluents Ceased AU2009276524B2 (en)

Priority Applications (3)

Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
EP08161579A EP2149673A1 (en) 2008-07-31 2008-07-31 Method and system for subsea processing of multiphase well effluents
EP08161579.1 2008-07-31
PCT/US2009/052186 WO2010014770A1 (en) 2008-07-31 2009-07-30 Method and system for subsea processing of multiphase well effluents

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AU2009276524A1 AU2009276524A1 (en) 2010-02-04
AU2009276524B2 true AU2009276524B2 (en) 2013-02-28

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US (1) US20110155385A1 (en)
EP (1) EP2149673A1 (en)
CN (1) CN102105651A (en)
AU (1) AU2009276524B2 (en)
BR (1) BRPI0916521A2 (en)
GB (1) GB2475184B (en)
NO (1) NO20110309A1 (en)
WO (1) WO2010014770A1 (en)

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GB2475184A (en) 2011-05-11
AU2009276524A1 (en) 2010-02-04
CN102105651A (en) 2011-06-22
GB2475184B (en) 2011-10-19
US20110155385A1 (en) 2011-06-30
WO2010014770A1 (en) 2010-02-04
NO20110309A1 (en) 2011-04-19
BRPI0916521A2 (en) 2015-11-10
EP2149673A1 (en) 2010-02-03
GB201101265D0 (en) 2011-03-09

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