Compact separation technologies have been gradually introduced into topside facilities during the last decade. Deployments have typically been motivated by a need to debottleneck facilities in mature fields, where a compact unit could be installed into a congested process plant without major reconstruction. While the advantages of compact separation technologies are generally acknowledged, the lack of data regarding performance, flexibility and reliability - as well the absence of process simulation tools - has until now resulted in a limited utilization of compact processing concepts in new field developments.
In close collaboration with a major oil operator a program has been established with the aim of developing a Compact Topside Gas/Oil/Water Processing Plant, with high efficiency and reliability, capable of handling the new oil properties and high CO2 content that characterizes the recent Pre-Salt discoveries. Inline ultra-compact separation technologies have been combined with optimized vessel designs to achieve a flexible and reliable processing plant for future FPSO's.
During the conceptual design phase extensive process simulations of the complete processing plant have been performed. Dynamic performance modelling has been included into these simulations for each component, allowing detailed predictions of plant performance in the presence of transients. This has been used for design optimisation, evaluating impact of component failure, as well as the development of a control and automation philosophy. Feedback from existing installations has been used to perform a Technology Maturity Assessment of each new technology incorporated in the compact topside facility and to establish a reliability database. For any technology not ranked at the highest Technology Readiness Level the gaps and required qualification activities have been identified.
This paper presents the activities executed during the development of a novel topside facility based on compact separation technologies, including Technology Maturity and Reliability Assessment, as well as capabilities of new process simulation tools.
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