Optimized operation of gas turbines is discussed for six LM2500PE engines at a Statoil North Sea offshore field. Three engines are generator drivers whilst three engines are compressor drivers. Two of the compressor drive engines are running at peak load (T5.4 control), hence the production rate is limited by the available power from these engines. All of the six engines discussed run continuously without redundancy, gas turbine uptime is therefore critical for the field’s production and economy. The performance and operational experience with upgraded inlet air filter systems and online water wash at high water-to-air ratio, as well as successful operation at longer intervals and higher average engine performance are described.

For North Sea operation, a key property of the filter system is the ability to handle high humidity and high salt-content through the harsh environment in these waters. The upgraded filter systems analyzed in this paper is a 2-stage system (vane separator stage upstream of the high-efficiency-filter stage), which is a simplified design versus the old traditional 3-stage systems (louvre upstream and vane separator downstream of the filter stage). These 2-stage systems rely on an efficient upstream vane separator to remove the vast majority of water from the airflow before it reaches the high-efficiency filters. The high-efficiency filters are especially designed to withstand moisture. Deposit analysis from the downstream side of the filters has been performed. Extensive testing of both new and used filter elements, of different filter grade and operated at different intervals, has been performed on a filter test rig facility onshore.

All six engines have historically been operated with 4-month intervals between maintenance stops. Online wash is performed daily between the maintenance stops at full load (i.e. normal operating load for the subject engine). As a result of successful development and pilot testing of new filters and optimized filter change intervals, as well as successful online water wash, the engine operating intervals are now extended to 6 months with very low deterioration rate.

Understanding the gas turbine performance deterioration is of vital importance. Trending of its deviation from the engine baseline facilitates load-independent monitoring of the gas turbine’s condition. Instrument resolution and repeatability are key factors in order to get reasonable results from the performance analysis. Improvement of the package instrumentation has been implemented on three of the analyzed engines, for better performance monitoring. As a result of these analyses, a set of monitoring parameters is suggested for effective diagnostics of compressor degradation. Avenues for further research and development are proposed in order to further increase the understanding of the deterioration mechanisms and the gas turbine performance and response.

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