Case Studies – Highlights | Process Technology Division


CHOPS Field Partial Dewatering and Metering Facility

Description

  • Heavy Crude Oil
  • Large oilfield between two States
  • CHOPS field
  • High sand production rates
  • High TAN for the crude oil (due to high proportion of naphthenic acids)
  • High water cuts > 80-90%
  • Tough emulsions due to solids and naphthenic acids
  • Low free-water, ~60% of the water was emulsified

Challenge

  • A large CPF was built to gather, process, measure, and export the production from both states in a single place
  • A claim was presented by the other state demanding production quantification before crossing the border for production allocation and royalty liquidation
  • After extensive negotiations with the claiming state, an agreement that required new metering facilities before crossing the border was reached
  • The new metering facilities would have to minimize error and uncertainty while avoiding duplicating the recently built processing facilities

Project Development

  • It was agreed that a reduction of the water cut below 20% would reduce error in metered oil to acceptable levels using a Coriolis meter plus a water cut transmitter
  • Partial dewatering facility designed to achieve the objective
  • A single-stage separation process was defined to reduce investment and footprint
  • H-HT designed and customized for the application

Outcome

  • Custom H-HT design surpassed KPI, 1% WC was achieved
  • Special inlet device allowed for easy free-water breakout
  • Eccentric FT design maximized heat transfer into the emulsion phase minimizing water heating, reducing required duty and gas consumption
  • Temperature balance:
    • Emulsion Inlet: ~104°F
    • Produced Water Outlet: ~113°F
    • Treated Oil Outlet: ~149°F
  • Take-Away: sound and innovative solutions were implemented to approach complex problems while minimizing investments

Brown Field Partial Treatment for Improved Oil Recovery

Description

Partial Dewatering, Light Water Treatment, and Water Injection Facility:

  • Massive brown-field under secondary & EOR development projects
  • High water flow rates pumped around the field increased OPEX and CAPEX
  • Large, complex, and expensive dewatering and water treatment facilities designed for +100,000 bbl./d built to reinject PW close to where it was produced

Challenge

  • Extended time to “fill-up” the facilities, resulted in extended periods of operation in turndown regimes
  • Longer time to repay the investment
  • Not all the water was required close to the producing area resulting in complex water balances and water transfer networks
  • Reduce footprint
  • Simplify the process
  • Modularize
  • Treat only the amount of water required in the area and bypass the remainder downstream to the CPF

Project Development

  • Field water balance developed to determine areas requiring additional capacity
  • Determined the best capacity for the new modular design
  • Determined the best locations
  • Several process schemes were developed and assessed, including pressurized and atmospheric, tankless, and inline separation designs

Outcome

  • Optimized existing capacity across the field minimizing investments in new facilities or expansions of existing ones
  • New modules designed for +30,000 bbl./d, therefore, investments could be staged
  • Simplified process arrangement with minimal controls
  • Partial treatment design allowed treating only what is needed locally for reinjection thus reducing pumping costs and operational complexity.
  • Take-Away: wide-angle perspective allowed a thorough analysis to maximize capacity and optimize future investments

Integrated CPF for Two Unconventional Fields development

Description

CPF Complex Unconventional HC:

  • Isolated green-field development of two nearby unconventional oil fields required processing facilities for gas – oil – produced water – slop streams – freshwater – power generation

Challenge

  • High GOR oil resulted in high yields of a rich gas stream
  • High salinity posed challenges to the desalting process
  • Auto & inter incompatible HCs produced emulsifying HC solid aggregates
  • Isolated fields with no nearby infrastructure
  • Market context and geological uncertainties conditioned investment options, which required staged and scalable facilities to cope with production success and funds availability

Project Development

  • Assessment of different processing schemes and main processing equipment technologies
  • Defined project staging and modularization to match investment curve while addressing production and investment uncertainties
  • Cost estimation to weight options versus operational advantages

Outcome

  • Evolutive design composed of modules and trains allowed facility growth both in capacity and treatment intensity to cope with production demands, sales objectives, and CAPEX constraints.
  • Maximized saleable HCs streams with no emissions and no burning of rich gas streams
  • Embedded HCs stabilization process with power generation capabilities to reduce GHG emissions
  • Auto power generation capabilities + surplus for implementation of a gas-to-wire solution
  • Minimized freshwater consumption
  • Process embedded with solids and waste management system to reduce effluents

Unconventional Play Development Scenarios Modeling

Description

Business Case Scenarios Modeling for Midstream Company:

  • Midstream company established on unconventional HCs basin required an extensive study to decide upon a convenient business model for the development of gathering and processing alternatives for multiple exploitation scenarios of several producers distributed across an extensive area.
  • Business model would have to consider:
    • Gathering facilities
    • Processing facilities
    • Production metering and allocation facilities
    • Collection, transfer, and export pipeline networks
    • Required investments and operational costs.

Challenge

  • Limited time to develop multiple scenarios that required technical solutions and cost estimation to define the business model
  • Built-in flexibility for future expansions, to handle incremental production from customers and to incorporate potential new operators
  • Manage uncertainty in third party’s production forecasts plus fluid properties

Project Development

  • Assessment of multiple production scenarios
  • Fluids characterization and determination of blended fluids properties
  • Defined multiple gathering, processing, and fluids transfer alternatives
  • Defined most convenient and flexible process schemes
  • Sizing of main equipment
  • Cost estimation to determine CAPEX/OPEX to weigh different alternatives

Outcome

  • Scalable and upgradeable facilities designed to maximize business model opportunities
  • Generated multiple design scenarios providing quality information to the midstream operator to reassess the business model accordingly with E&P operators entering or leaving the network.

Tankless Facility Concept for Full Field Development Project

Description

Tankless full field development project for unconventional oilfield:

  • Greenfield development
  • 15 wells pads spread out across an ample area
  • Constrained investment timeline

Challenge

  • Significant production of associated gas
  • Stringent GHG emission regulations
  • Treated fluids (gas, oil, water) to comply with midstream specs
  • Stringent RVP specs
  • Staged development required to match investment curve

Project Development

  • Assessment of configuration alternatives for the gathering network for multiphasic and single-phase options
  • Development of distributed and centralized processing facilities alternatives
  • CAPEX and OPEX assessment to weight options
  • Design of all the required process equipment

Outcome

  • Developed tankless facilities concept to reduce emissions
  • Designed modular facilities concept to allow investment constraints and track production objectives
  • Embedded equipment relocation schedule to reduce CAPEX
  • Take-Away: future proof, reliable facilities developed to minimize upfront CAPEX, immobilized HCs stock and reduced total carbon footprint

Upscaling & Upgrading Unconventional field

Description

Unconventional HCs full field development and upgrading:

  • Operator projected upscaling of two greenfield projects from pilot to factory mode, which required the upgrading and expansion of facilities such as well-pads, gathering network, and EPF
  • Diverse fluid compositions from exploratory wells of two fields
  • Facilities required to process the commingled production from two oilfields

Challenge

  • Become independent from 3rd party’s facilities for fluid processing
  • Reuse existing pipeline network to export gross production to 3rd party as part of oilfield’s new gathering network for diverse GOR and WC scenarios
  • As much as possible, utilize out- off-the-shelf equipment and adapt to the project when/where necessary.
  • Operator required reusing and adapting the engineering design of a former project executed in another country, for different fluid composition and conditions, to optimize resources and project delivery.
  • Address high salinity issues
  • Address high wax content in oil with high WAT
  • Flexibility to operate at:
    • Various inlet compositions
    • Different pressure scenarios to optimize liquids HCs production along with the oilfield life

Project Development

  • Analysis of well-pad and gathering system network for each operational scenario, including flow assurance scenarios (e.g., slugs, hydrates, and wax deposition)
  • Upgraded standard equipment design from other facilities to address desalting issues
  • Pressure sensitivity analysis to maximize oil recovery
  • CAPEX and OPEX estimation

Outcome

  • Repurposed the existing pipeline network
  • Repurposed available equipment for different design conditions
  • Equipment definition and sizing covering over 80% reuse between different operating pressures
  • Operating pressure optimized to maximize oil recovery with a focus on minimizing power consumption
  • NPV optimized for multiple operational scenarios
  • Proposed sensitivity analysis of extended operating pressure scenarios, aside the operator’s early assumptions, singled out the most cost-effective solution.
  • Breakeven achieved 4 months before operator’s alternative
  • Flow-assurance results allowed upgrading standard slug-catcher design for sustained EPF operation

Remote Black Oil Full Field Development Project

Description

Black Oil full field development project:

  • Black oil greenfield project on isolated non-connected block required full field development including wellhead facilities, gathering network with tank batteries to collect gross production from block’s producing areas, produced water injection network, CPF, truck loading facilities, truck unloading – Oil Storage & lease custody transfer metering facilities
  • Junior operator with lean structure, no operating field and no cash flow generation until field production is initiated

Challenge

  • Basin edge project, which implies increased geological risks and limited data on fluid properties
  • Complex field topography
  • Diverse development and ramp-up scenarios to cope with market conditions, funding, and availability of drilling equipment
  • Remote location, which implies limited access to field and construction professional services
  • Tight budget tied to exploratory success plus cash flow generation of forthcoming oil production
  • Required flexible design

Project Development

  • Definition of well pad facilities plus extended test equipment
  • Optimized gathering network defined after wells grid design considering block delimitation requirements, topography challenges and early development of promissory areas
  • Block divided into producing areas to stage the investment demands and optimize the transport of gross production based on distances and field topography
  • Designed tank battery for each producing area for gathering gross production, primary separation, and production transfer
  • Designed integrated tank battery with features for future expansion into CPF and with early dewatering capabilities to reduce the cost of trucking production to storage and transfer facilities in 3rd party’s block.

Outcome

  • Embedded fully staged design to cope with diverse and possible project acceleration scenarios according to budget and HCs production success
  • Simple to operate, flexible, robust, and expandable facilities concept developed for operation with available unskilled crews.

Fast-Track Remote Greenfield Development in sensitive area

Description

Fast-track project for remote greenfield development in a sensitive area:

  • Greenfield development required project acceleration due to superb results in exploratory wells plus assumed commitments with leasing authority
  • Oilfield in remote, environmentally, and socially sensitive area
  • No nearby infrastructure
  • Junior operator with limited access to financial support and a lean structure with limited capabilities for project development and execution

Challenge

  • Develop EPF with readily available equipment in the market to handle unexpected high yield wells
  • EPF ready for future expansion to cope with an accelerated and expanded drilling plan
  • Provide the capability to deal with future high flow rates of produced water
  • Limited time frame to build facilities on-site due to seasonal weather constraints
  • Limited fieldwork due to restricted access to local qualified service companies and construction crews

Project Development

  • Market research to find available equipment
  • Process configuration defined accordingly
  • Embedded process scheme allows future expansions to handle production growth and expected produced water surge due to reservoir characteristics.
  • Provided onsite support during construction to overcome and solve on the fly any problems derived from departure from project plans and/or engineering changes
  • Rapidly readjust project due to late arrival of equipment

Outcome

  • Flexible, robust, and environmentally compliant process configuration allowed the operator to fulfill the production objectives in a limited time frame.
  • Scalable facilities provided the capability to deal with increased future production rates.
  • Modular equipment allowed reducing field assembly jobs to the minimum.
  • Take-Away: Despite all the project constraints, it was possible to accomplish the objectives with a fully compliant facility based on available equipment in the market

Brown Field Revamping & Upgrading

Description

GAS PLANT RECONFIGURATION

  • Brown Field Project
  • (30+ year-old facility)
  • Gas flowing out of spec into the sales pipeline
  • Upgrading of facilities required to handle forthcoming production of new unconventional developments in the block

Challenge

  • Maximize the use of existing equipment from other facilities that were running on turndown.
  • Use new or rental equipment to fill in the gap
  • Minimize plant shutdowns when performing plant modifications
  • Uncertainty on gas composition

Project Development

  • Debottleneck study of an existing facility (with little to no design information)
  • Survey of existing equipment that could solve the bottlenecks
  • Project to disassemble and reassemble an existing plant
  • Commissioning and startup technical support on-site
  • Operator Training
  • Perform Test Run
  • Fine-tuning of the process

Outcome

  • Gas ON SPEC 95% of the time. (After operator’s training)
  • Increased capacity from 70 MMSCFD to 105+ MMSCFD
  • Continuous process support to maximize liquids recovery as reservoir composition evolved
  • Take Away: Fast and low-cost solution allowed to take advantage of brown-field facilities to monetize gas and liquids production from new unconventional field developments

Side-Streams to Wire

Description

Rich Gas processing in Unconventional Fields

  • Research and development of processing alternatives to capture value out of LPG rich gas in unconventional plays

Challenge

  • Minimize emissions
  • Produce on-spec oil and gas
  • Produce value out of the reject LPG rich stream

Project Development

  • Two ICE technologies selected
  • Developed gas processing schemes to produce fuel streams for ICE

Outcome

  • Technology integration that allows a Low-Cost Energy Generation that has a significantly lower carbon footprint when used to replace Diesel.
  • Provides means to monetize LPG stream when LPG recovery project is not profitable or there is no attractive market.
  • Take-away: thinking outside of the box enabled economical gas processing alternatives to develop stranded assets