Subsea production of oil and gas involves structures on the seabed such as manifolds and X-mas trees that require thermal insulation of piping and valves to avoid gas hydrate formation. The insulation is expensive and time consuming to apply yet may still leave areas with inadequate protection. These “cold spots” accelerate the cooling during a production shutdown. A Heat-Bank concept is developed as an alternative to conventional insulation. The entire subsea structure is covered with an insulated shell. During shutdowns the heated fluid inside the cover keeps the production equipment warm over a prolonged period before hydrates start to form. Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) simulations are used to quantify the heat loss effects of natural convection and leakage through openings in the cover. The CFD analyses demonstrate the relative performance of the concept compared to the traditional method of insulating individual piping components. Application of the Heat-Bank concept opens new possibilities for environmentally friendly and cost-effective field development, especially for deep water.

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