Radical innovation Sprint By Rie Jerichow

Although an accelerometer is a tiny measuring device, like the one Simon Pedersen is holding in his hand, the potential for exploiting the vibrations it captures is large. To the right is his research colleague Martin Dalgaard Ulriksen. Private photo.

Existing vibration measurements may alleviate slugs

When you open a tap after the water supply has been disconnected, it often sputters and sprays completely uncontrollably due to air pockets in the water. Something similar takes place regularly in the separator, where production fluids are separated into oil, gas and water. A Radical Innovation Sprint project has developed an innovative solution on how to deal with this problem which is a challenge to production rate and process safety.

Slugs in the oil industry have nothing but shape in common with slugs in nature. A slug in the oil industry is an gas pocket leading to an unsteady multi-phase flow in pipelines. This is completely contrary to the desirable situation which is a steady flow allowing separation and production to continue unhindered. So not only are slugs troublesome to production, they can also pose a potential risk to pipelines and the environment. A Radical Innovation Sprint project has come up with a solution on how to deal with the elongated gas pockets.

“The processes that handle the separation of the production fluids are often not designed to deal with large fluctuations. They cannot keep up with the pace of such a burst. Therefore, severe slugs have negative effect on the production rate and process safety. In the worst cases, you may have to stop production or discharge to the sea huge amounts of oil in the water and flare the gas instead of producing it,” explains Simon Pedersen, Assistant Professor at the Department of Energy Technology, Aalborg University in Esbjerg.

Although an accelerometer is a tiny measuring device, like the one Simon Pedersen is holding in his hand, the potential for exploiting the vibrations it captures is large. To the right is his research colleague Martin Dalgaard Ulriksen. Private photo.

Radical Innovation Sprint 2019

Radical Innovation Sprint invites people to explore the potential of the craziest, wildest ideas that has the potential to improve the production of oil and gas in the Danish North Sea. DHRTC offers funding to the ideas that might change the oil and gas industry, and over the past two years, about 25% of all submitted ideas were offered funding.

It does not matter whether the participants have a background in the oil and gas industry or not. The Radical Innovation Team will provide knowledge and help mature the ideas. During February and March, the team visits the partner institutions and host Ideation Workshops, where participants learn more about the Sprint and receive guidance from the DHRTC experts.

Deadline for application is 1 May. An external committee evaluates the submitted, anonymised ideas and decides which ones to fund. The research projects are to be completed during a three-month period, from 1 September to 30 November 2019.

So, if you can eliminate slugs, you can also extend the lifetime of the pipeline Simon Pedersen
A roadshow led to the idea of a project

Simon Pedersen is specializing in slugs. Three years ago, he completed his PhD thesis on the modeling and control of slugging flows. But he was curious to verify an idea of how to predict coming slugs.

When the Radical Innovation Team came to Esbjerg on their road show, Simon Pedersen heard about Radical Sprint and thought it was obvious to apply for funding here. Subsequently, he presented his idea to Martin Dalgaard Ulriksen who has a mechanical engineering background and a Ph.D. in structural dynamics. In this project, both their competencies would be necessary.

Simon Pedersen explains: “Today we have equipment to eliminate slugs more or less. One can, for example, open or close the valves or inject gas. However, the operator who makes these decisions does not have enough information to act at the optimal times. My idea was to capture vibrations from the slugs by installed accelerometers on the vertical part of the pipeline above sea level, so that the valves could adapt faster to the flow than today and thus optimize production.”

Slugs do not only create problems for production.

”They also create structural problems, because the vibrations from the slugs can cause fatigue in the pipeline. This affects the lifetime of the pipeline. So, if you can eliminate slugs, you can also extend the lifetime of the pipeline,” he says.

The researchers who received funding in 2018 were:

Torben Lund Skovhus, VIA University College

Mette Hedegaard Thomsen, AAU

Tanmay Chaturvedi, AAU

 

Vittorio Boffa, AAU

Xianzheng Ma, AAU

Anil Kumar Suri, AAU

 

Cenja Quist Jensen, AAU

Aamer Ali, AAU

Trine Jensen, AAU

Henriette C. Jensen, AAU

 

Jingdong Zhang, DTU

Rebecka Maria Larsen Werchmeister, DTU

 

Seyed Soheil Mansouri, DTU

Vahid Shadravan, DTU

Louise la Cour Freiesleben, DTU

 

Kenny Kataoka Sørensen, AU

Paulina Janusz, AU

 

Hans Henning Stutz, AU

Christina Grith B Christense, AU 

Astrid Voss, AU

Louise Vincentia Jensen Aagaard, AU 

Mogens Hinge, AU

Peter Norlyk, AU 

Kenneth Sørensen, AU 

 

Alberto Scoma, AU

Marta Barbato, AU 

 

Martin Dalgaard Ulriksen, AAU

Simon Pedersen, AAU

Lasse Bolther Klockmann, AAU

Tommi Navntoft Hansen, AAU

 

Helle Foged Thomsen, GEO

Finn Engstrøm, Total

Jens Laurids Sørensen, AAU

 

Zhenyu Yang, AAU

Rolan Ossi, AAU

Ying Qu, AAU