# Pipeline Flooding, Dewatering and Venting Dr Aidan O'Donoghue, Pipeline Research Limited, Glasgow, Scotland

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3 SPE 924 A. O Donoghue 3 Pipeline Dewatering using Pigs Once the line has been flooded and successfully hydro tested, the dewatering pig train is run. The pipeline and precommissioning specification states that the line must contain no more than 4% water at the end of the dewatering operation. This enables the export of sales quality gas via a local tie-in at the end of the section shown above. Sizing the Glycol Slugs The proposed pig train is shown in Figure 6. This consists of pigs. The first three slugs in the train are MEG slugs. The length of these slugs needs to be determined. The final slug is compressed air or nitrogen and provides a final mop-up of glycol in the line, removing glycol spillage from offtakes and tees. Fig. 6 Overview of Pig Train A common method for estimating the total volume of glycol required in the pig slug is to use the following formula: Vol Glycol =. 7 d L Eqn. 1 This provides a total volume of glycol in m 3 given the pipeline diameter, d in metres and the length, L in km. Further investigation into this formula reveals that this provides a single slug length (between two pigs) sufficient to achieve a 6:4 Glycol to water mixture at the end of the pipeline. This ratio is the minimum glycol content to avoid hydrate formation. In the case discussed above a more exacting dewatering exercise is required. It is clear from analysis of the mixing of the water and the glycol in the slugs, that increasing the number of pigs increases the efficiency of the dewatering process. Using a mixing analysis, the table below provides an indication of water percentages in each slug at the end of the pipeline: - Slug Length (m) 1st Slug 2nd Slug 3rd Slug 1 49% 24% 12% 39% % 6% 18 34% 12% 4% 2 33% 11% 3% 28% 8% 2% Table 1 Dewatering efficiency against slug length The result is that a choice of 18m slug lengths between each of the pigs will result in a final water content of 4%. This assumes that the pigs are efficient and fit for purpose. The benefit of this analysis is that the optimum volume of glycol is chosen. Too little would lead to ineffective dewatering and too much which would take up valuable room on-board the vessel. Sizing the Inlet hoses The inlet hose from the vessel to the temporary trap is required to be 17m in length. In order that this does not choke during the dewatering operation, it is necessary that the hose be large enough in diameter. If the diameter is too large, then the hosing becomes expensive. Therefore, the hose size can be optimised. The initial check is to establish if the riser will choke. This is undesirable as the inlet pressure required would be excessive. The check is performed using compressible calculations. The following table summarises the output: - Table 2 Inlet hose checks Hose Size Number of hoses Choked? 2" 1 Yes 2 Yes 4 No 3" 1 No 2 No 4" 1 No 2 No From the table, and using the inlet flow and pressures expected, it appears that the 2 hose will cause the flow to choke. This means that four 2 inlet hoses would be required. Alternatively, a single 3 or 4 hose would be capable of taking the required capacity. Pig Train Velocity, Inlet Pressure and Pigging Duration When the pig train is loaded, it is necessary to push the dewatering train to the end of the pipeline using compressed air. Insufficient compressors or problems with inlet hosing will mean that the pig velocity is too low or the inlet pressure is too great. An analysis is performed to establish the air inlet requirements for the pig train to provide a pig velocity in the region of. m/s. This has been established in the dewatering specification as the target velocity. Additionally, the duration of the dewatering operation requires to be established. The pressure output is shown in Figure 7. This displays very little difference in inlet pressure for the range of hoses considered: - Inlet Pressure (barg) ", 1 riser 4", 2 risers 3", 1 riser 3", 2 risers 2", 4 risers Fig. 7 Inlet Pressure for different hose diameters and number of risers

4 4 A. O Donoghue PPSA Conference, London 24 By recording the inlet pressure as the pig train is moving down the pipeline, it is possible to establish the pig train progress. This can be compared with the predicted values against time or volume pumped. Any problems with the pig train can be observed and this is an effective technique for pig train monitoring. The pig train velocity is shown in Figure 8 below ", 1 riser 4", 2 risers 3", 1 riser 3", 2 risers 2", 4 risers Fig.8 Pig Train Velocity for different diameter and number of hoses There is little difference between the pig train velocities. If anything, the larger diameter riser could allow the train to move too fast at the given inlet flowrate. This could of course be corrected by reducing inlet flow, but it appears that a single 3 hose would provide ample capacity for this job. The pigging duration is given in Table 3: - Riser ID (mm) 1 Riser 2 Risers 4 risers 4" " " 33. Table 3 Pigging Duration for different hoses The pigging durations are fairly similar and a single 3 hose may be the best choice. The final choice depends on other factors such as the cost of the hoses and other hoses being bought for the project as a whole. One aspect that can also be taken into account in this analysis is the effect of line specification changes. This could be changes in pipeline wall thickness or even a change in pipeline diameter in dual diameter pipelines. When pumping a dewatering train from a large diameter line to a small diameter line a short pause while the pressure builds up behind the pig can be expected. This depends on the required pressure in the small diameter line. As the pig slows down, the pressure downstream of the pig reduces and so the delay is expected to be short. Shutting down Compressors One aspect that could be investigated is the effect of shutting down the compressors before the pig train gets to the end of the line. In view of the fact that the terrain slopes back up near the end of the line, there is pressure stored from the deepest part of the dewatering that can push the pig train to the receiver. This can result in savings being made on fuel and allow the next part of the job to be undertaken earlier Compressors stopped at 6km Compressors kept running Compresors stopped at km Fig. 9 Effect of stopping pumping The graph shows pig train velocity against pig train position in the pipeline. The solid line shows the velocity when the compressors are kept running until the pigs are received. The effect of stopping pumping too early is shown in the bottom dashed line. Here the pig train will stop before it gets to the receiver. Pumping will have to be restarted and a delay will have been caused. If the compressors are shut down once the pig train reaches 6km, then the train slows down, but is still received. Effective pig tracking and locating is advisable if this is to be employed. Venting Model Once the pig train has been received, it is necessary to vent down to atmosphere through the inlet hosing, pipework and silencer. A further analysis is provided to compare the venting times for each hose diameter and size. Pressure (barg) Pressure, 3" Hose (barg) Pressure, 4" Hose (barg) Time (Hours) Fig. 1 Venting times The output shows the difference in venting time for the 3 and 4 hoses. The model output is not as accurate for lower pressures due to frictional effects in the pipeline. Nevertheless, this demonstrates that venting the line may take an additional two days with the 3 hose. In the final analysis, this may mean that the 4 hose is the final choice for the air inlet or venting hose.

5 SPE 924 A. O Donoghue Conclusion The analyses performed in this paper allows several estimates to be made: - Pig train velocity in steep downward sections during flooding, cleaning and gauging. A two-phase model allows the pig train velocity dampening to be assessed; The Glycol slugs in the dewatering train are sized using a mixing calculation to estimate the volumes of MEG required. This can reduce the volume of MEG to be stored on the vessel but still provide effective dewatering; The inlet hoses to the pig trap are sized initially on compressible considerations to avoid any choking in the system. This must be checked at all stages in the development; The pig train velocity and required inlet pressure for dewatering can be estimated. This allows the dewatering duration to be established. The output is also useful for monitoring the dewatering operation; The model can be utilised to fine tune the dewatering in terms of shutting down the compressors before the pigs are received; Finally, a venting model is made to allow an estimate of the time required to vent the line to atmosphere. These models and methods allow the pre-commissioning time to be optimised and the cost of vessel deployment reduced or minimised. A final conclusion is not drawn in this paper because there are other aspects to be established such as cost of other equipment, vessel deck space, interaction with other operations and so on. However, the analysis provides a very useful input into the overall planning exercise.

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