A novel technique for monitoring hydrate safety margin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

11 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

A novel technique has been developed for optimizing hydrate-inhibitor dose rates by monitoring the actual hydrate safety margin. The technique is based on measuring acoustic velocity and electrical conductivity in an aqueous sample taken from the pipeline/separator. The developed system then determines salt and organic inhibitor concentration (e.g., methanol, monoethylene glycol, and kinetic hydrate inhibitors). In the case of thermodynamic inhibitors, the information is then fed to a thermodynamic model determining the hydrate stability zone (HSZ). Superimposing the pipeline operating conditions (e.g., pressure and temperature profile), the developed system can determine the hydrate safety margin. The system can provide warning if the operating conditions are inside the HSZ or if too much inhibitor is being injected.

The technique can be used in optimizing inhibitor-injection rates, reducing the impact on the environment and operational costs. It can also improve production-system reliability by constant monitoring the hydrate safety margin and protecting the system against pump malfunction and/or changes in process variables (e.g., water cut).

This technique has been developed through a joint-industry project, and its performance has been intensively evaluated using synthetic samples and real produced-water samples by the authors and the project sponsors in field trials. The results demonstrate that this system can be used for different inhibitor systems, including methanol (MeOH)/NaCl, monoethylene glycol (MEG)/NaCl, and kinetic-hydrate-inhibitor/salt systems, with good accuracy.

The developed system can have a major impact on reducing the inhibitor-injection rates and environmental impact and improving the reliability of production systems against risks associated with hydrate formation. The developed system can be laboratory-based, a mobile unit, or online, with near-real-time samples taken from live pipelines/separators.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)376-381
Number of pages6
JournalSPE Production and Operations
Volume27
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2012

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