Abstract

The increasing of deepwater oil field developments brings a growing need for thermal management to prevent hydrate and wax formations in the subsea production system, due to the low environment temperature and long-distance transportation. Pipeline insulation coating is a typical strategy for thermal management. In a subsea production system, pressure, temperature, flowrate, and length of each flowline vary, leading to different thermal performances of the transported fluid. Therefore, the insulation coating should be carefully designed from the overall perspective to minimize the total material volume, thus reducing the cost. In this paper, an optimization model for the insulation material volume of a rigid subsea flowline system is proposed. Then, the best insulation thickness of each subsea flowline can be determined under given flow parameters and temperature requirements. The factor that defines the temperature drop from the riser base to the top termination is introduced and analyzed. There is a proper temperature drop factor associated with the insulation material volume for subsea flowlines, as well as a proper insulation capacity for the risers. This optimization model can define the subsea system insulation and provide reliable results for cost estimation.

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