Executive Summary

Simon Richards, Consulting Engineer

What a bumper issue we have for you this time! When I saw the contents page I thought, wow, we’re really rockin’ and rollin’ now! A seven-paper issue is just perfect to take away and read on your summer vacation. It’s a beautiful day outside in late May as I sit down writing this editorial. I’ve just finished feeding my animals—they sure let you know when they are hungry. Spring has definitely sprung here in Aberdeen! 

However, now for the serious bit: I really need your help to sustain the number of papers we have for review. I would like to encourage you or your colleagues to submit a paper for publication in this journal on the topics listed below. PFC practitioners are a small band of professionals within the larger SPE membership; therefore, I am not being flooded with papers submitted for review. The vast majority of papers presented at SPE conferences are related to subsurface and production issues. I would really like to be snowed under with paper submittals and be able to take on extra Review Chairpersons and Technical Editors to peer review papers; I know you hear this message time and again, but it is important to raise the profile of the SPE within the process and facilities communities.

For your information, the topics that this journal covers are technical developments, case histories, and field reports for all aspects of surface-facilities design, project management, operations, and abandonment including onshore, offshore, subsea, platform-based, and floating-based systems, as well as pipelines for oil and gas developments. It also covers such topics as liquid natural gas, compressed natural gas, and gas-to-liquid plants, terminals, and transportation concepts. We are also interested in relevant topics that do not fit the above list or the more established SPE journals, such as risk, economics, and HSSEQ.

As I mentioned earlier, we have reached a new high this quarter with seven papers for you to read:

Automatic Ultrasonic Inspection of Steel Catenary Risers With a Corrosion-Resistant Alloy Layer. This paper will be of interest to those in the community who specialize in welding inspection. The authors provide background information about the design and installation of austenitic corrosion-resistant alloy clad steel catenary risers, material properties of such a design, and the inspection solution developed to examine such welds.

Leak Detection for Gas and Liquid Pipelines by Online Modeling. A leak-detection method using transient modeling is introduced in this paper. Perhaps one of the once important issues facing pipeline operators is damage limitation from leakages on people, the environment, corporate reputation, and the asset itself. There are a number of devices on the market that purport to monitor pipeline integrity, but this paper considers the issue from the fundamentals.

The Evolution of Inert Gas Systems on SBM FPSOs, the Problem of Venting and a Straightforward Solution. This paper is interesting and describes the development of a novel inert gas system for FPSOs that helps to prevent emergency shutdown during tank filling caused by hydrocarbon/inert gas clouds around the process plant on the deck.

A Model to Predict Liquid Holdup and Pressure Gradient of Near-Horizontal Wet-Gas Pipelines.This paper describes experiments to investigate gas/liquid stratified flow in near-horizontal pipes. It is good to see research continuing into flow assurance. It can only be hoped that much of this work will be eventually incorporated into commercial software so that the wider community can make use of it.

Integrated Flow-Assurance Modeling of the BP Angola Block 18 Western Area Development.This paper considers a new development in integrated asset modeling. The new tool differs from other tools in that it solves rigorous thermal-hydraulic models for flows through wells, flowlines, and risers. The benefit of this more rigorous approach is not only that the predictions are likely to be more accurate and reliable, but that one is able to simultaneously apply flow-assurance constraints. A novel aspect of the investigation was that the simulation model was configured to automatically generate a required well drilling program. This was achieved by defining the order of precedence for fields to come on stream by imposing FPSO capacity or ullage constraints.

Technologies for Arctic Offshore Exploration and Development. This paper gives an interesting state-of-the-art review of ExxonMobil technologies that have been deployed in the last 35 years to develop reserves in the Alaskan, Canadian, and Russian Arctic.

Benchmarking Measurement and Automation Practices in the Upstream Business. There is a clear incentive to use technology to maximize asset operational value through increased production and improved efficiencies. The application of visualization, modeling, optimization, and control technologies is a critical component of this effort. This paper presents the result of a survey of several oil companies to determine the current industry practices addressing people, process, and technology aspects in the production measurement and automation area.

I hope you enjoy this edition of SPEPFC as much as I enjoyed writing this editorial. Please post your thoughts regarding these papers to the appropriate discussion board by way of the discussion link found below each title on the table of contents page. If you have any further questions or comments, please feel free to contact me through the SPE membership directory.