Offshore oil slug controller is a first

March 8, 2010, Cranfield University

(PhysOrg.com) -- An offshore slug flow control system that could save millions lost in oil production each year has won the 2010 East of England Energy Group (EEEGR) Innovation Award.

Cranfield University and Neftemer Ltd, along with five partner companies and the support of the Technology Strategy Board, created the Inferential Slug Control (ISC). The ISC is the first solution which systematically detects and addresses unwanted accumulations of liquids in pipelines from offshore systems without compromising oil production and subsea instrumentation.

Severe slugging, in which separated gas and liquid regions run along the leading to pressures and flow fluctuations, is a common threat to hydrocarbon recovery and can even lead to equipment being damaged and facility closures. It is estimated that about 10% of offshore oil fields around the world suffer from severe slugging problems.

Dr Yi Cao, Senior Lecturer in the Department of Offshore, Process and Energy Engineering, said: "We are delighted to have won this award. The project has achieved all the goals set at the beginning and the outcome of the project provides a realistic solution without large investment to overcome the severe slugging threat as well as to increase in oil production. This possible increase in production means a potential to increase energy recovery and to extend the reservoir operational life."

A patent for the product has been filed.

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