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INTEC ENGINEERING, INC.

DEEPSTAR
MULTIPHASE DESIGN GUIDELINE
H-0806.35 19-1 1-Dec-00
19.0 PIGGING
19.1 Introduction
This section of the design guide serves to provide guidance in the design and operation of
pigging systems that assure hydrocarbon deliverability in an economical manner. This
section covers industry status, flow assurance pigging requirements, typical system
configurations and operating modes, pig types and selection, basic system components
and design considerations, and system operating requirements.
19.2 Industry Status
During this decade there has been a rapid expansion in exploration and field development
in ever-deeper water. With this approach, the flow assurance issues that relate to pipeline
hydraulics, hydrate formation and paraffin deposition have been magnified because of the
longer tiebacks and colder subsea environment.
There is plenty of pigging experience available with land pipelines and shallow water
developments, especially when pigging from platform to platform. However, pigging
experience in deepwater is limited and has been confined mainly to the Gulf of Mexico
and Brazil. A summary of some deepwater pigging experience is found in Table 19.1.
Because of the potential show stoppers associated with deepwater production, greater
interest has been given to considering the deployment of pigs as an integral part of the
flow assurance and pipeline maintenance program. Several operators have recently
performed field specific studies to determine the feasibility of pigging as the principal
means to control wax. Other studies have focused on performing trade offs between
dual flowline pigging and single flowline pigging using subsea pig launcher or receiver.
As more fields are developed, it is envisaged that greater emphasis will be given to the
subject of pigging with the result of producing more cost effective flow assurance
systems.
19.3 Pigging Requirements
From the perspective of flow assurance, pigging is required to maintain the original
design integrity and flow performance of pipelines, flowlines and risers for the duration
of their intended operational life. Specific requirements are as follows:
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INTEC ENGINEERING, INC. DEEPSTAR
MULTIPHASE DESIGN GUIDELINE
H-0806.35 19-3 1-Dec-00
To prevent excessive build- up of solids (wax, scale, sand, etc.) by scraping the
pipe interior and removing solids from the line.
To displace accumulations of water or other fluids (corrosive) from low points
in the line.
Apply corrosion inhibitor or biocides through batching.
The most common requirement in deepwater hydrocarbon applications is to
control wax deposition. Because of the colder environment associated with
deepwater, the productions fluids have greater probability of falling below their
cloud point resulting in wax formation and deposition. This is especially the case
during system turndown when restricted flow rates imply lower fluid
temperatures. The nature of the wax deposition can be exacerbated by the
inclusion of other components such as sand, scale corrosion and asphaltenes. The
mixture can become easily hard and difficult to remove.
In gas lines, conditions can occur where liquids condense and collect on the
bottom of the pipeline. Large liquid accumulations will limit throughput by
increasing pressure loss, increase local pipeline corrosion and increase the
potential for hydrate formation. They are also liable to be swept up by the gas,
resulting in the production of hydrodynamic or terrain slugs that can exceed the
capacity of the process receiving facility. Managing liquid accumulation through
regular line displacement, will maintain pipeline integrity, optimize flow
conditions, and enable the receiving facility (slug catcher/separator) to be
economically designed.
Inhibitors and biocides are used to protect the pipeline from being attacked and
corroded. Although chemicals can be added to the product flow to provide
pipeline protection, they are not completely effective because of their inability to
reach all the inside surface of the pipeline. Through running regular slugs of
corrosion inhibitor or biocide between two batching pigs, the majority of the
inside surface of the pipe can be coated and thus protected. It should be noted
that only the top center section of the inside pipe may not be coated.
Although, pipeline and flowline inspection is not considered an integral part of
flow assurance pigging requirements, it is considered worthy of brief discussion
because of its potential impact on system design and operation. In the Gulf of
INTEC ENGINEERING, INC. DEEPSTAR
MULTIPHASE DESIGN GUIDELINE
H-0806.35 19-4 1-Dec-00
Mexico, current regulations (embodied in Volume 49 of the Code of Federal
Regulations, Parts 192.150-Transportation of Natural and Other Gas by Pipeline,
and 195.120 Transportation of Hazardous Liquids by Pipeline) do not require
the periodic internal inspection of subsea production flowlines unless the lines are
10-inch nominal or greater and transporting liquids or gas back to onshore
facilities. However, it is possible that regulations may change in the future that
require intelligent pigs to be run. Therefore, consideration should be given to
design (i.e. constant ID, 5D bends, etc.) and operation (i.e., aggressive pig
cleaning, etc.) of the pipeline system to facilitate the smooth passage of intelligent
pigs.
19.4 System Configurations & Operating Modes
There are several offshore pigging configurations available. They can be
classified into three basic categories:
Surface One Way Pigging
This configuration is the simplest and is similar to that of land based systems.
Refer to Figure 19-1. The launcher and receiver are located at the surface, and all
pigging operations are conducted in the direction of normal flow using the on-
stream fluid and flowrate to propel the pig through the continuous line. The lines
that are usually pigged are either oil or gas export pipelines.
The general configuration is the connection of a shallow water fixed platform to a
deepwater host that could be a fixed platform, tension leg platform (TLP), deep
draft caisson vessel (DDCV) or semi-submersible vessel. The most common
arrangement worldwide is fixed platform-to- fixed platform. Pigging is easily
accomplished since the pigging path between fixed platforms tends to be rigid
with uniform inside diameter. In deeper waters the pigging path can become
more complex since rigid pipe is combined with flexible pipe and risers. This has
been the case for some developments that have employed TLPs and semi-
submersible as deepwater hosts. An example of TLP-to-fixed platform is
Conocos Joliet development in the Gulf of Mexico. Because the flexible and
rigid steel pipe sections were of different diameter this has limited the type of pigs
run.
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INTEC ENGINEERING, INC. DEEPSTAR
MULTIPHASE DESIGN GUIDELINE
H-0806.35 19-6 1-Dec-00
Subsea Loop Pigging
This configuration involves a launcher and receiver located at some host, and two
piping runs that are connected together to form a continuous loop. The piping
runs tieback a remote subsea facility (i.e. single well, manifold etc) to a deepwater
or shallow water host. Refer to Figure 19.2. Each leg can be dedicated as a return
line for production or may serve as a different function (i.e. test line). As a
minimum, the host must have a pressure source that is capable of driving the pig
around the loop and into the inward bound flowline. The fluid used to launch and
drive the pig must be compatible with the produced fluid.
Operating modes for loop or round trip (RT) pigging depend upon the
configuration of the remote subsea facility. Assuming the remote subsea facility
comprises a dual manifold header with single pigging isolation valve, the possible
operating modes are as follows:
Round Trip Using Pump/Compressor
Well production is shut in and the pigging isolation valve is opened. With the
host pump or compressor, launch pig down the outward-bound flowline and
drive pig back to the host via the other flowline. Close the pigging isolation
valve and resume production.
This operating mode is the simplest and most common arrangement for round
trip pigging. However, it represents the greatest downtime in production. It is
suited to systems that have production fluids that are considered too hot for
the pig, or production flowrates that are too high or low to effectively pig
with. It also mitigates the risk of losing the flowline to a wax plug since the
progress of the pig is directly controlled with either the pump or compressor
for the duration of the trip.
Round Trip Using Well Production
Shut- in well production and open the pigging isolation valve at the manifold.
Using a pump or compressor, propel the pig down the outward-bound flowline
around the subsea pigging loop into the return flowline. Close the pigging
isolation valve and restart well production to drive the pig back to the host.
This operating mode enables downtime to be reduced since production can be
restarted once the pig traverses the loop. Since the return of the pig is
dependent upon well production, the well must have sufficient pressure to
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INTEC ENGINEERING, INC. DEEPSTAR
MULTIPHASAE DESIGN GUIDELINE
H-0806.35 19-8 1-Dec-00
overcome the static and fluid friction losses. This may not be the case in late
field life, when reservoir pressure has declined. Also, there is no direct
method for controlling the progress of the return pig except for manipulating
the surface choke and possibly the subsea choke.
Round Trip and Drive Against Well Production
Open the pigging isolation valve at the manifold and drive the pig against well
production using a compressor or pump. When the pig traverses the loop and
into the other flowline, close the pigging isolation valve. The pig will then be
driven back to the host with well production.
This operating mode involves less production downtime since the well is not
shut in during pig delivery. However, this comes at the expense of requiring
greater pump/compressor capacity to drive against manifold pressure.
Although production is maintained during pig delivery, it is at a reduced rate.
Comparing the above operating modes, it is apparent that production downtime
can be reduced by employing a three- line arrangement with piggable wye. Refer
to Figure 19-3. With this arrangement, well production can be maintained in one
leg while the other legs remain dedicated to pig transit. Because residual fluids
and solids are displaced from the lines during pigging, the process capacity of the
host must be sufficient to handle the simultaneous arrival of production and
displaced fluids. If this is not the case, then either production rates or pigging
operation will have to be compromised.
A good example of a looped configuration that employs three lines, and with
different line sizes, is Exxons Zinc development in the Gulf of Mexico. Three
steel flowlines approximately 6 miles long connect the Zinc manifold template to
the Alabaster fixed platform. The lines are a single 8- inch low-pressure bulk
production, single 8- inch test/service line and 4-inch high-pressure line for testing
individual wells. Refer to Figure 19-4. Bi-directional cup pigs have been
launched regularly to remove sand and condensate from the 8- inch lines. In
pigging the 4-inch line, foam and sphere pigs have been launched and driven into
the 8-inch line via the pigging valve assembly on the manifold. The 4-inch pigs
were recovered when the 8- inch lines were pigged.
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INTEC ENGINEERING, INC. DEEPSTAR
MULTIPHASE DESIGN GUIDELINE
H-0806.35 19-11 1-Dec-00
Subsea One-Way Pigging
This configuration applies to those developments that do not provide convenient
or viable surface entry and/or exit point for pigging. The development may be the
single flowline tieback of a subsea facility to shallow water host or system that
has an incompatible pigging path (i.e. riser and pipeline are of different diameter,
there is a restrictive bend, material limitations, etc.) The latter case is typical of
branch/trunkline tie- ins. In these cases, a subsea pig launcher (SPL) or subsea pig
receiver (SPR) is necessary.
The SPL and SPR provide the ability to get pigs into or out of lines that do not
have a surface access point. Refer to Figure 19-5. They provide the same
functions as of the conventional land-based launcher and receiver except they are
engineered specifically for subsea deployment and rely upon surface vessel
support. Pigs can be launched subsea using a SPL and propelled towards the host
receiver or SPR. The pressure source for launching and propelling the pigs can be
either well production and/or fluid supplied from surface vessel. The SPR plays
the opposite role to the SPL and is responsible for catching the pigs launched
from the host launcher or SPL. The SPR requires a connection that conveys
displaced flowline contents to a surface vessel or into another flowline.
A good example of an operational SPL is the one used by BP Amoco in their
Eastern Trough Area Project (ETAP) development in the North Sea. The SPL is
located on a subsea production manifold that is tied back 22 miles to the Central
Processing Facility (CPF) by a 16-inch flowline. Since deployment, the SPL has
successfully launched several bi-directional mandrel pigs that have removed wax
from one of the longest subsea tiebacks in the North Sea.
19.5 Pig Types & Selection
There are four main types of pigs that can be used for flow assurance purposes:
sphere, foam, solid-cast and mandrel.
19.5.1 Mandrel
These pigs are assembled from a number of component parts (plastic and metal),
which are mounted on a shaft so that they can be replaced or reconfigured as
required. The conventional mandrel pig will comprise sealing elements that are
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INTEC ENGINEERING, INC. DEEPSTAR
MULTIPHASE DESIGN GUIDELINE
H-0806.35 19-16 1-Dec-00
used to drive the pig and also cleaning elements, if the intended application is to
clean the line. Refer to Figure 19-6.
The sealing elements are normally made from polyurethane and can be divided
into piston-type cup, conical cup and flat disc. Refer to Figure 19-7. The piston-
type cups have a pressure-energized shape that provides a good seal and some
compensation for wear. They are normally mounted on large diameter flanges,
which increase the risk of metal-to- metal contact in the line. Because of the mall
amount of contact material, this limits their ability to conform to ovality.
Therefore, they are susceptible to losing their seal when traveling through lines
that have significant out-of-roundness.
Conical cups are more accommodating in sealing within pipes of irregular
circularity or roundness. Also, the geometry of the cup enables a greater radial
load and hence tighter seal to be produced when differential pressure is applied.
This results in swabbing operations being more efficient. Although a higher wear
rate might be expected because of the tighter seal, this is compensated for by the
exceptionally wide wear surface that the conical cup provides. Also, because of
the tighter seal, conical cups have been known to smear soft deposits against the
inside wall. This process makes the cleaning operation ineffective.
Solid discs have been used where bi-directional pigging has been required.
Usually four discs sized to be an interference fit are mounted on the pig body.
Since they have little or no capability to compensate for wear, they need frequent
replacement.
The cleaning elements are components designed to remove solid or semi-solid
deposits and can either be wire brushes, blades, discs or a combination. The wire
brushes are generally mounted on springs to force them into contact with the pipe
wall and compensate for wear. For smaller diameter pigs, the wire brush
element(s) are usually a continuous wire wheel. Wire brushes tend to be suitable
for removing only hard deposits. Based upon BP Amocos experience in pigging
various main oil lines (Beatrice, Ninian, Wytch Farm) they recommend that wire
brushes be avoided in soft waxy lines since they quickly become clogged up.
Blades are suitable for removing both hard and soft deposits. The blades can be
made from steel for extreme situations, but normally they are molded from
polyurethane that is of slightly harder grade than the sealing elements. Various
INTEC ENGINEERING, INC. DEEPSTAR
MULTIPHASE DESIGN GUIDELINE
H-0806.35 19-17 1-Dec-00
shapes are available with the most common being the 3-Rib blade. Apart from
its basic simplicity that keeps tooling costs low, it has the added advantage of
imparting a slow rotation to the pig that contributes to reducing effective wear
rates.
Cleaning discs are similar to the sealing discs except that they are sized below the
nominal pipe ID and are made harder. Independent studies performed by Shell
and Petrobras, verified that discs were the most effective cleaning element in
removing solids of various hardness. Bi-directional disc pigs have been
successfully used in a number of recent deepwater cleaning applications (i.e. BP-
Amoco Troika, BP-Amoco Pompano, etc.). There is also intention to use the
same pigs on other upcoming field developments (i.e. Shell Macaroni, Exxon
Mica, etc.). Lastly, disc pigs have also performed well in removing condensate
when combined with solid drive discs.
19.5.2 Solid Cast
Solid cast pigs are similar to mandrel pigs except they are molded in one piece,
generally from polyurethane, whereby the body, sealing and scraping elements are
an integral unit. Refer to Figure 19-8. They are as effective as the mandrel type
pigs in removing liquids and soft to medium deposits. Solid cast pigs are
normally only available in the smaller sizes (12 inch and below). Their
development was a result of labor costs for assembling and replacing parts on
small pigs being significantly higher than the cost of a new pig.
The lighter and more flexible design mitigates the risk of damaging the flowline
and helps to negotiate tight bends and other irregularities. However, field repairs
are not possible and complete replacement is usually necessary in the event of one
part becoming damaged.
19.5.3 Foam
Foam pigs are widely used in the pipeline industry. Petrobras has extensively
used them to remove soft to medium wax deposits. They are particularly suitable
when developing a pigging program for a line that has not been regularly pigged
and which may contain unexpected restrictions. Foam pigs are manufactured in
many designs and sizes. They are manufactured from polyurethane foam of
various densities ranging from low (2-4 lb/ft
3
), medium (5-7 lb/ft
3
), and high (8-
10 lb/ft
3
). Each of the density ranges offers a different flexibility and wear
resistance, the lower density being more flexible and subject to wear than the
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INTEC ENGINEERING, INC. DEEPSTAR
MULTIPHASE DESIGN GUIDELINE
H-0806.35 19-19 1-Dec-00
higher density. Although normally found in bullet shape form, they can have
concave, flat, or bullet noses on each end. An elastomeric coating is normally
INTEC ENGINEERING, INC. DEEPSTAR
MULTIPHASE DESIGN GUIDELINE
H-0806.35 19-20 1-Dec-00
applied to the base to provide for maximum seal against the propelling force.
Some even have coating on the surface to enhance the sealing and wiping
capability of the pig, and to increase its wear resistance. Normally, the overall
length of the pig is 1.75-2 times the pipe diameter, with the base to shoulder (the
point where the surface bearing area begins to taper towards the nose) dimension
measuring 1.5 times the diameter. Foam pigs are currently manufactured in
diameters from 0.25- inch to 108-inch, with increments of 0.125- inch available in
diameters under 12-inch.
There are numerous designs of foam pigs available, but the most frequently used
are swabs, bare squeegees, crisscross, silicon carbide and wire-brush. Refer to
Figure 19-9. The swabs are a low-density design with base coated for a seal and
are used for the removal of soft materials, drying and absorption of liquids (a
swab can absorb up to 75 percent of its volume in liquids). The bare squeegees
range from medium to high-density foam with coated base and are used for liquid
removal and light cleaning. Crisscross foam pigs are made from either medium or
high-density foam with coating on the surface bearing area. They are used for
dewatering, batching, cleaning and removal of solids (soft to medium hardness).
Silicon carbide is similar in make-up to the crisscross, except the bearing area is
covered with silicon carbide/aluminum oxide grit or straps. Mostly employed for
scraping or cracking hard deposits such as oxides or carbonates (normally for
short runs). Finally, the wire brush is made from medium to high-density foam
where bristle straps (steel, brass or plastic) cover the total bearing area or are
incorporated into a crisscross pattern. This wire brush pig is used for maximum
scraping of hard deposits such as mill scale.
19.5.4 Sphere
Spheres have been mostly used for sweeping liquids from lines and have some
limited success in solids removal. Conventional spheres are simply hollow balls,
fitted with flush or recessed valves to enable them to be filled and inflated with
glycol-water mixture to achieve the desired diameter. For small pipe diameters,
spheres are normally made solid. They are generally molded from polyurethane
in either one piece (requires rotational mold technique) or from two halves, which
are subsequently bonded together. The latter method is usually the least
expensive and is understood to have been developed to the point where
homogeneity can be guaranteed.
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(
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INTEC ENGINEERING, INC. DEEPSTAR
MULTIPHASE DESIGN GUIDELINE
H-0806.35 19-22 1-Dec-00
Because differential pressure requirements for propelling spheres are relatively
low, this results in minimum wear other than cuts and abrasions from the internal
surfaces such as weld penetrations. If spheres do not have constant wall thickness
then inflation will expand the thin wall section more than the other surfaces and
distort the sphere. This will cause irregular wear and premature failure
19.5.5 Pros and Cons
The pros and cons of the mandrel, solid-cast, foam and sphere pigs are
summarized in Table 19.2.
19.5.6 Special Pig Types
Whilst the majority of flow assurance pigging requirements can be satisfied with
standard pigs, there are occasions where special type pigs must be applied. The
following discusses the most relevant of the specialized pigs available:
Multi Diameter Pig
This type of pig has been used by several operators where the pigging path has
comprised of several different diameters. Pig construction usually comprises a
disc for the smaller diameter and overlapping slotted discs (flaps or petal discs)
for the larger diameter. The slotted discs will fold in the small pipeline and
resume their original shape (to effect a seal) when they enter the larger pipeline.
Petrobras for fields in the Campos Basin region have attempted to use dual
diameter disc pigs instead of foam pigs to remove hard wax deposits. Initial runs
through 2.5 inch and 4- inch pigging path, proved that the dual diameter could
traverse successfully but did not remove wax effectively. Based upon field
experience the dual diameter pig was re-developed to be more effective in
removing harder deposits.
By-Pass Pig
This pig is fitted with what is effectively a relief valve that is set to open at a pre-
chosen differential pressure. If during a cleaning operation, the pig builds up a
large accumulation or slug of debris ahead of it, the pressure differential across
the pig will rise as the pig works harder. If a standard cleaning pig was used, the
accumulation may increase until the pig became stuck or substantially damaged.
This situation is mitigated with a pressure by-pass pig, since once the pre-set
differential pressure is reached, the by-pass valve opens, thereby allowing a
INTEC ENGINEERING, INC. DEEPSTAR
MULTIPHASE DESIGN GUIDELINE
H-0806.35 19-23 1-Dec-00
substantial volume of fluid or gas to flow through the pig body. This results in
the debris being jetted or blown away from the front of the pig, after which time
the differential required to run the pig will drop, the by-pass valve will close, and
the pig will move on.
A more sophisticated version of this pig type has been developed for the purpose
of controlling the velocity and hence the performance of the pig. The variable
speed pig was originally developed by Apache Industries of Edmonton, Canada,
and was designed to run independent of the normal product flow and speed within
a pipeline where high velocities were present (i.e. gas transmission and export
lines). By regulating the amount of by-pass through the body, the speed of the pig
can be controlled within a pre-set range. The variable speed pig senses its
velocity, compares this to a pre-set value, then controls the volume of by-pass to
maintain the required speed. Although, this pig would be ideal for removing
solids and liquids (i.e. limit slug rate) when gas driven, it would be difficult to
justify because of its relative high cost.
Shunting Pig
This three-section pig has been specifically developed to recover stuck or lost pigs
from pipelines. It is generally accepted that running a second pig of similar or
identical design to the one that is stuck or lost is futile, since there is a high
probability that it will succumb to the same misfortune as the original. The
second pig normally becomes damaged as a result of too much load being applied
to push a stuck or lost pig. Using a three section shunting pig, it has been
recognized that the leading section will probably be damaged as it pushes the
debris ahead of it, but drive can be maintained because of the second and third
sections not coming into contact with the debris being pushed. Additionally, to
further assist the recovery of a stuck or lost pig, the shunting pig can be
deliberately made heavy to increase momentum.
Gel Pig
Gel pigs have been successfully used in a number of applications involving solids
removal, liquid displacement, recovery of stuck pigs, product separation, and
application of in-situ coatings (i.e. inhibitor, biocides, solvents etc.). They are
based upon combining a base fluid (water, diesel, crude, solvent etc.) with a
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INTEC ENGINEERING, INC. DEEPSTAR
MULTIPHASE DESIGN GUIDELINE
H-0806.35 19-26 1-Dec-00
crosslinked gum-based polymer to form a thick visco-elastic substance. They can
be made to any density and range from pre- formed pigs that are usually shipped to
site within their metal mould, to a light foam that is sprayed into the line. For
optimum performance, gel pigs are used in conjunction with conventional pigs.
Gel pigging is invariably expensive as the gel is usually required in large
quantities and therefore must be manufactured in-situ. It is also usually
biodegradable and this makes product life very limited.
19.5.7 Pig Selection
The success of a pigging operation depends very much on the correct pig
selection. The decision should focus on the following:
Select a pig suitable for the application
Select a pig which travels through the line with minimum risk
Select a pig that provides optimum performance and therefore minimizes the
number of runs and production downtime.
There are many factors that influence final pig selection. The main ones to
consider are:
Line contents - liquid or solids, volumes, solid consistency (i.e. soft, medium
or hard), thickness, location, chemical compatibility, etc.
System design - pigging path profile (i.e. line diameters, length, elevation, size
and position of valves, tees, bends, wyes, etc.), capacity of receiving facilities,
propulsion media (gas or liquid), available drive pressure, etc.
As a rough guide to pig selection for solids removal, a simple decision tree has
been developed. Refer to Figure 19-10. From the decision tree, it is evident that
pig types fall into the general categories of disc (mandrel or solid-cast) or foam
discs. For liquid removal and batching, the most suitable pig types are either cup
disc (mandrel or solid-cast), foam pigs or spheres. Cup disc pigs would provide
the greatest efficiency if the pigging path was deemed compatible, otherwise soft
to medium density foam pigs would be used instead. Spheres as discussed
previously, would be applicable if some form of pigging automation was required
(i.e. high pigging frequency).
19.6 Basic System Components and Design Considerations
The section deals with basic system components and design considerations.
INTEC ENGINEERING, INC. DEEPSTAR
MULTIPHASE DESIGN GUIDELINE
H-0806.35 19-27 1-Dec-00
19.6.1 Flowline System
To avoid compromising pig selection and operation, the flowline system must
meet the following basic design specification:
Line Pipe To ensure smooth passage of pig during transit, a constant bore is
recommended. Maximum deviation of internal diameter from the nominal
should be kept to below the figures given in Table 19.3. Any internal
diameter change should be made within a transition piece of 1:5 slope.
INTEC ENGINEERING, INC. DEEPSTAR
MULTIPHASE DESIGN GUIDELINE
H-0806.35 19-28 1-Dec-00
SOLIDS REMOVAL-INPUT PARAMETERS
INTEC ENGINEERING, INC. DEEPSTAR
MULTIPHASE DESIGN GUIDELINE
H-0806.35 19-29 1-Dec-00
Table 19-3: Inside Diameter Maximum Deviation
Nominal Diameter (inches) Maximum Deviation (mm)
4 4
6 6
8-12 10
14-20 14
20-36 16
36 and above 20
Valves All valves should be full bore, have concentric inlet and outlet bores,
no internal producing features and be specified by internal diameter. Valves
should guarantee 100% opening and have limited or zero by-pass.
Tees/Offtakes Branch connections with outlets above 50% of nominal line
size should be barred. At least three diameters of straight pipe should be
installed between any two tees. To prevent solids from being pushed into
manifold branches, the branches should be positioned above the pipe
centerline. Also, branch isolation valves should be located as close to the
manifold header as practically possible to minimize the amount of solids that
could compact into the branch/valve gap
Bends The minimum radius for bends is detailed in Table 19.4 below.
Besides the minimum radius, the ovality (out-of-roundness) of any bend
should be limited to 3%. For 30 and 45 bends, there should be a minimum
straight length of 6 feet for pipe diameters to 24- inch, and 3D for diameters of
24-inch and above.
Table 19-4: Minimum Bend Radius
Nominal Diameter (inches) Minimum Bend Radius
4 and below 10D
6 - 12 5D
14 and above 3D
Wyes The angle between the branches of a wye should be set at 30. The
bore in the section where the branches merge should be enlarged to 105-110%
of the pipeline diameter. This enables pigs to contact surfaces and expand out
to their unrestrained diameter, hence reducing the friction experienced as it
passes through the wye. The web between the incoming branches should be
made as long as possible to maintain the separation between the bores.
19.6.2 Surface Launcher/Receiver
Surface pig launchers and receivers can be divided into three basic categories:
horizontal, inclined/declined, and vertical installations. Refer to Figures 19-11 for
basic layout.
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INTEC ENGINEERING, INC. DEEPSTAR
MULTIPHASE DESIGN GUIDELINE
H-0806.35 19-31 1-Dec-00
Horizontal configurations tend to be preferred over vertical designs even although
they consume more deck space. The horizontal designs tend to accommodate
more standard pig types and facilitate easier handling and cleaning operations.
Vertical configurations require certain pig types to be modified to achieve
positive location. For example, when loading a disc pig into a vertical launcher,
the nose of the disc pig must be tapered to ensure that the disc pig aligns itself
vertically and effect a seal within the launch tube. There have been numerous
cases where standard pigs have failed to launch because they adopted an askew
position - launch fluid bypassed the seals and therefore did not create sufficient
differential pressure to drive the pig. Also, vertical receivers usually require the
use of internal perforated baskets to capture the returned pigs. Failure to capture
the pig could result in the pig falling back into the line and possibly
compromising the closure of the isolation valve.
Inclined/declined traps tend to be used specifically for launching and receiving
spheres. For launching purposes, the trap is inclined approximately 5 degrees,
with the closure made higher than the neck. This permits gravity to assist the
sphere to freely roll into the launch position. A sphere pin (specially designed
launch valve) or pneumatically operated flap is used to release the spheres
individually into the neck of the trap for launching. Inclined/declined traps tend
to be suited to the remote operation of multiple spheres.
Both the surface launcher and receiver should be configured to be multi-
functional. This will allow for the handling of different types of pigs and
accommodate the possibility that any pigs may have to be sent or recovered in the
direction of normal flow.
The typical barrel length on a launcher trap should be 1 times the length of the
pig from the bypass line to the reducer weld and on receiver traps 1 times the
length of the pig from the bypass line to the closure weld. If a cleaning pig is to
be run with foam pig in tow (accommodates locating device) or an intelligent pig
is to be run, then the length of the barrel needs to be increased accordingly.
The use of an eccentric (taper at top) rather than concentric reducer at the end of
the barrel is the preferred arrangement. The eccentric reducer better assists in
locating the first drive seal in the launch tube and provides the pig a smooth
transition from line pipe to oversized barrel when receiving.
INTEC ENGINEERING, INC. DEEPSTAR
MULTIPHASE DESIGN GUIDELINE
H-0806.35 19-32 1-Dec-00
The pressure rating of the launcher and receiver should match the pressure rating
of the incoming piping and valves and therefore should meet the design code of
ASME B31.4 for liquid pipelines or ASME B31.8 for gas pipelines or other
applicable code.
The kicker line on the launcher and the bypass line on the receiver should be sized
generously. This ensures that pigs can be launched even when they are not
effecting a good seal within the reducer. Also, a generously sized bypass
connection will ensure the smooth arrival of pigs into the receiver under various
flow conditions.
To prevent inadvertent movement of pig within launcher (forward movement into
isolating valve or backward movement resulting in seal loss) and dangerous
pressure traps between pig and valve, a pressure balance line should be run
between the two extreme ends of all pig traps.
To verify the launch and receipt of a pig, all traps require to be fitted with some
type of pig passage indicator. The indicator can either be a mechanical or
electrical (magnetic field) type providing that it satisfies the criteria of being bi-
directional, flush with the internal pipe wall and can be safely replaced under
pressure using standard methods
To avoid the potential problems as a result of too much wax arriving at the
receiver (i.e. failure to open/close isolation valves, etc.), arrangements should be
made to heat trace or provide a means to inject solvent into the receiver or
surrounding pipework. The internals should be designed so that they are as free
draining as possible to minimize wax deposition. The injection point should also
provide the means to introduce chemicals or gels during batching operations.
To ensure safety, the launcher and receiver should have vent and drain ports,
reliable pressure gages and seals, and appropriate interlocks to prevent the pig
trap from being opened while pressure remains inside.
19.6.3 Subsea Launcher/Receiver
Subsea pig launchers and receivers (SPL/SPR) have similar functions to
conventional surface launchers and receivers except they are engineered
specifically for subsea deployment and therefore rely upon surface vessel support.
They are normally installed onto a flowline hub profile that incorporates an
INTEC ENGINEERING, INC. DEEPSTAR
MULTIPHASE DESIGN GUIDELINE
H-0806.35 19-33 1-Dec-00
isolation valve along with guidance/support structure to accommodate the SPL or
SPR.
The SPL/SPR can either be an active (remotely operated) or passive (ROV
operated) design. The decision between active and passive will have a significant
impact on design and operation of the SPL/SPR and production system. If
configured to be active, valves on the SPL/SPR and flowline (hub isolation)
require to be hydraulically actuated by the subsea controls system. This represents
higher system cost and operational risk. This explains why the majority of
SPL/SPR designs adopt a passive approach.
To launch a pig, a communication path for the kicker fluid is required from either
the subsea production system (i.e. well production, methanol injection, etc.) or
surface support vessel. If the source of kicker fluid is from the subsea production
system then another single hub connection with isolation valve, in parallel with
the main hub connection (pigging path) is required. Alternatively, an integral
multi- hub connection could be used that employs parallel or concentric bores. If
kicker fluid is supplied from a surface support vessel, then the number of subsea
interfaces and valves can be minimized. However, a service umbilical is required
to connect the surface pressure source to the SPL kicker line. In the event the
surface vessel requires to suddenly drive off location (i.e. loss of dynamic
positioning), then the service umbilical should be capable of emergency
disconnect. The emergency quick connect/disconnect system will terminate and
isolate the service umbilical at the surface or subsea
For receiving a pig, similar connections to the above would be required for the
bypass path.
Specific features of a deepwater SPL/SPR are addressed below:
The SPL/SPR should accommodate several utility pigs that can be
individually launched or captured. To cover the possibility of intelligent
pigging, the barrel section should be capable of being replaced or extended.
A positive pig release and retaining mechanism is required that can be reliably
operated by ROV. The preferred system should prevent the possibility of pig
hang up and slipping.
INTEC ENGINEERING, INC. DEEPSTAR
MULTIPHASE DESIGN GUIDELINE
H-0806.35 19-34 1-Dec-00
Employ an ROV operated flowline connector that is capable of multiple make
and break. Guidance will be integral to the connector via a large swallow area
that captures the hub and aligns the seal bore prior to make-up. The connector
will also provide the means to pressure test after make-up.
Rough alignment systems are required for initial location on the flowline hub
profile. Depending on depth, this could be a minimum of two API guideposts
that have guidewires connected back to the surface or guide funnels that are
incorporated on SPL/SPR or flowline hub.
A simple soft landing system is required that minimizes the likelihood of
damaging sealing mechanisms during installation.
To eliminate the requirement of handling the SPL/SPR under pressure or full
of launch fluids, a method of relieving pressure and purging prior to SPL/SPR
retrieval should be provided.
For SPL/SPR that employ dual connections that permit the flow of kicker or
bypass fluid, a fine alignment system will be required to orient the seal
mechanisms of each connector prior to engagement.
A pressure cap should be provided that blanks off the flowline hubs when the
SPL/SPR is not installed. This will be in line with dual barrier philosophy.
Identical arrangements as used by the SPL/SPR for installation and alignment
on the flowline hub(s) will be used by the pressure cap. To ensure safe
operation, the pressure cap should have a ROV operated vent arrangement that
enables pressure to be bled down prior to its removal.
A test and transportation stump should be provided to serve both the pressure
cap and SPL/SPR. The test and transportation skid must allow function and
pressure testing and facilitate the transferring from the horizontal to vertical
and vice versa.
The SPL/SPR and pressure-retaining cap, requires structural framing that is
designed in accordance with good practice for offshore handling,
transportation and installation. The structural frame should act as a mount for
the SPL/SPR barrel and support the installation mechanisms including the
guidecones, guide sleeves and connectors.
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The SPL/SPR should be configured for simple installation and retrieval. If
deployed from dynamically positioned diver support vessel, then crane hook
should be sufficient, providing the hook enables ROV to easily make and
break the connection.
19.6.4 Propulsion
Liquid or Gas
Most configurations require some pressure source to launch and propel pigs
through the pipeline system. Since the effectiveness of a pigging operation is
dependent upon controlling the speed of the pig, selection of the correct method
of propulsion is critical.
The arrangements for pigging multi-phase production flowlines are different than
those for gas and oil export lines. In oil export or water injection lines, propulsion
and speed control is relatively straightforward since it involves controlling the
output of the final separator stage or the booster pumps. For gas export lines,
although speed control can be more involved because of potential liquid hold-up
and steep riser sections, the speed of the pig again is essentially determined by the
on-stream flow conditions set by the separator or compressor.
When an operator requires pigging of multi-phase production flowlines, a
decision must be made whether to use liquid or gas propulsion. The decision will
depend upon many factors (i.e. flowline conditions, configuration, operating
strategy, fluid availability, process capacity, etc.).
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Figure 19-11: Liquid Volume Requirements for Round Trip Pigging
If the flowline is expected to contain deposited solids of unknown volume and
composition, then liquid propulsion is strongly recommended. Liquid propulsion
would provide the ability to directly control pig progress, enhance pig-cleaning
performance, and produce the necessary feedback for establishing a database used
in optimizing pigging frequency. Also, another major benefit of liquid
propulsions is the ability to determine the approximate location of the pig if it
should become inadvertently stuck (i.e. assuming the seals had not failed). The
major drawback of liquid propulsion, especially if dealing with a gas production
system where liquid production is not available for pigging, is the logistics
associated with the storage, handling and disposal of the liquid. Figure 19-12,
depicts the liquid volume requirements for round trip systems of different
flowline sizes and tieback lengths. If the liquid recovered during the pigging
operation can be reused as pig propellant, then the initial liquid volumes can be
reduced accordingly.
0
10000
20000
30000
40000
50000
60000
0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45
Tie-Back Distance (miles)
L
i
q
u
i
d

P
r
o
p
u
l
s
i
o
n

V
o
l
u
m
e

(
b
a
r
r
e
l
s
)
6 Inch ID
8 Inch ID
10 Inch ID
12 Inch ID
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If conditions within multi-phase flowlines are considered relatively benign, then
providing the necessary preparations and precautions are taken, then gas
propulsion should be suffice. Because of the gas compressibility, speed control is
more difficult but can be achieved to some degree using a number of methods.
These are discussed in Section 19.7.2.
Types of Fluid
Liquid propellants could be water, lease crude, produced crude or diesel. Water is
inexpensive and is readily available offshore. However, uninhibited water would
represent a high risk of forming hydrates or in the case of waxy lines, the water
could harden the wax deposits making subsequent removal more difficult. The
use of hot water is not considered viable because of the cooling effect associated
with deepwater ambient temperatures. Lease and produced crudes are relatively
inexpensive and their availability will depend upon the host infrastructure. Diesel
is an excellent propelling fluid, especially if pigging operation involves wax
removal. Since diesel is a solvent, it will tend to soften the removed wax and
layers of wax on the pipe wall. However, this effect diminishes with lower
ambient temperatures. For significant volumes, diesel would prove to be an
expensive option.
Gas propellants could be buy-back gas or nitrogen. The use of air in hydrocarbon
lines would not be acceptable because of the associated safety risk. Buy-back gas
is readily available and inexpensive whereas nitrogen is the opposite. A typical
2,000-gallon storage tank provides 150 MSCF of useable nitrogen. For a 30- mile
round trip pigging operation through 6- inch ID flowlines, approximately 8,580
MSCF of nitrogen would be required based on a pigging pressure of 2,000 psi.
This volume would be equivalent to approximately 57 tanks of nitrogen. The
logistics associated with procuring and operating this arrangement would prove
overwhelming. The alternative is to use a nitrogen generator. However, this
option is expensive to rent or purchase and represents significant equipment
spread. Therefore, nitrogen is deemed only suitable for short tieback distances
where volumetric requirements are not significant.
Pump Rating
The pressure rating of a pump for solids removal (i.e. wax) can simply be
calculated by combining separator pressure, fluid friction, wax friction and pig
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drive pressure. For the majority of configurations, no static head requires to be
considered since flowline is balanced.
Fluid friction can be estimated using Darcy-Weisbachs equation. The drive
pressure for the pig can be estimated from a rule of thumb method as used by
pig vendors. Refer to Figure 19-13. The wax friction component depends upon
many variables (thickness, volume, strength, consistency etc) and this makes
prediction extremely difficult. However, to take some account of the wax friction
component, a pressure drop of 25 to-50 percent of the calculated fluid friction is
proposed.
P
d
= P
f
+ P
p
+ P
w
+ P
s
where:
P
d
= pump discharge pressure, psia
P
f
= fluid friction pressure, psia
P
p
= pig drive pressure, psia
P
w
= wax friction pressure, psia
P
s
= separator pressure, psia
I
N
T
E
C

E
N
G
I
N
E
E
R
I
N
G
,

I
N
C
.
D
E
E
P
S
T
A
R
M
U
L
T
I
P
H
A
S
E

D
E
S
I
G
N

G
U
I
D
E
L
I
N
E
H
-
0
8
0
6
.
3
5
1
9
-
3
9
1
-
D
e
c
-
0
0
F
i
g
u
r
e
1
9
-
1
2
:


T
y
p
i
c
a
l

D
P

R
e
q
u
i
r
e
d

t
o

D
r
i
v
e

D
i
f
f
e
r
e
n
t

T
y
p
e
s

o
f

P
i
g
s
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The minimum flowrate capacity of the pump should be rated to ensure that the pig
travels at above 3 ft/s. If the pig is used in a cleaning application, then pig bypass
(refer to section 19.7.3) requires to be considered. For wax cleaning a bypass of 5
percent is proposed.
Q
d
= 1.05 x V
p
x A
f
where:
Q
d
= pump discharge flowrate, ft
3
/s
V
p
= pig velocity, ft/s
A
f
= flow area, ft
2
Assuming the pump has an efficiency of 70 percent, the pumping power
requirements can be calculated as follows:
Wp = Q
d
x P
d
x .262

where:
Wp = pump power, hp
= pump efficiency
To enable the possible remediation of a stuck pig or wax blockage through
pressurization, it would be prudent to consider rating the pigging pump to match
the maximum allowable operating pressure of the flowline.
Compressor Rating
The rating of a compressor for multi-phase flowlines is best determined from
transient modeling. The drive pressure and flow is mainly dependent on the
liquid hold- up within the flowlines and back pressures that may exist for a
particular pig operating mode (i.e. driving against well production or separator).
As an alternative to transient modeling, a simple approach to approximating
compressor rating is outlined below. This approach considers a round trip
pigging configuration for wax removal, where the host is located in shallow water
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and the subsea facility (i.e. subsea manifold and trees) is located in deepwater.
Although well production may be used to return pig once it has traversed the
manifold pigging loop, it is considered prudent to size the compressor based upon
propelling the pig completely around the circuit. Production during this operation
is shut in and flowlines are set at separator pressure. Assuming production
involves wet gas, the flowlines will contain X barrels of liquid hold-up that
accumulates at the lowest point in the system (i.e. subsea manifold).
Approximate values for liquid hold- up can be taken from steady state or transient
calculations.
Because of the gas, liquid, wax and pig drive pressure components, and the
configuration of the system, the compressor load will vary during the pigging
cycle. A typical pressure profile against round trip pigging distance is shown in
Figure 19-14.
The liquid friction component can be estimated using Darcy-Weisbachs equation.
The length component is equivalent to the length of line that the liquid hold-up
represents and the flowrate is equivalent to a pig speed of 3 ft/s. The gas friction
component can be estimated from general equations found in the Engineering
Data Book compiled by the Gas Processors Supplier Association (GPSA). The
pig drive pressure can similarly be estimated as outlined previously. If wax is
present, it is proposed that the wax friction component be equivalent to 25-75
percent of the liquid friction component. Without calculating the total pressure
profile per pigging distance, a conservative approach to determining compressor
rating is proposed, that combines the maximum value of all components.
P
d
= P
fl
+ P
fg
+ P
sl
+ P
p
+ P
w
+ P
s
where:
P
d
= compressor discharge pressure, psia
P
fl
= liquid friction pressure, psia
P
fg
= gas friction pressure, psia
P
sl
= static liquid pressure, psia
P
p
= pig drive pressure, psia
P
w
= wax friction pressure, psia
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P
s
= separator pressure, psia
The flowrate of the compressor should be rated to ensure that the pig travels
above 3 ft/s at rated discharge pressure.
Q
d
= P
d
T
a
V
p
A
f
Z
a
0.0864
P
a
T
d
Z
d
where:
Q
d
= compressor discharge flowrate at standard conditions, mmscfd
V
p
= pig velocity, ft/s
A
f
= flow area, ft
2
P
d
= compressor discharge pressure, psia
P
a
= ambient standard pressure = 14.73 psia
T
a
= ambient standard temperature = 520 R
T
d
= compressor discharge temperature, R
Z
a
=compressibility factor at standard conditions
Z
d
=compressibility factor at discharge conditions
The power rating of the compressor can be determined from the following
formula.
W
c
= 0.0857 | |
(
(
(

|
|
.
|

\
|
(

1
1
1

k
k
s
d s
av
P
P
k
k
E
T Q
Z
Where:
W
c
= Compressor brake horsepower, bhp
Q = Compressor flowrate, mmscf
T
s
= Suction Temperature, R
Z
d
= Discharge Compressibility factor
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E = Efficiency
High-speed reciprocating units use 0.82
Low-speed reciprocating units use 0.85
Centrifugal units use 0.72
= Polytropic efficiency
k = Ratio of gas specific heats, C
p
/C
v
P
s
= Compressor suction pressure, psia
P
d
= Compressor discharge pressure, psia
Z
av
= (Z
s
+ Z
d
)/2
Figure 19-13: Typical Pressure Profile for Round Trip Pigging Multiphase
Flowlines
0
200
400
600
800
1000
1200
1400
1600
1800
2000
0 10 20 30 40 50 60
Typical Round Trip Pigging Distance (miles)
T
y
p
i
c
a
l

R
o
u
n
d

T
r
i
p

P
r
e
s
s
u
r
e

P
r
o
f
i
l
e

(
p
s
i
)
Pig Drive
Liquid Friction
Gas Friction
Wax Friction
Liquid Static
Separator
Total Pressure
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19.7 System Operating Requirements
19.7.1 Monitoring & Assessment
To assist in optimizing pigging frequency and assessing pig performance,
arrangements should be made to monitor the pipeline system before, during, and
after each pigging operation. As a minimum, the inlet and outlet pressures,
flowrates and temperatures should be measured and recorded.
If a supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) system is installed and
combined with a computer model of the pipeline, then the pigging operation can
be monitored and assessed on a real time basis. The system will continually
compare the readings from reliable pressure transducers, flowmeters, and
temperature sensors against those calculated by the computer model. Any
significant deviation from established limits between the measured and calculated
parameters would result in an alarm or warning signal. The operator would then
be in a position to implement remedial action to prevent a stuck pig or if a pig
should stick there would be enough data available to estimate the location of the
pig. The SCADA and computer model could also be used to assess the hydraulic
performance of the flowline before and after any pigging operation. This would
assist the operator in deciding whether or not changes were required to operating
procedures, chemical treatment program, pigging strategy etc.
In addition to monitoring the pigging operation, relevant information should be
collated to produce a comprehensive record of each pigging run. Typical
information that should be collated is as follows:
Launch and receive dates and times
Numbers and types of pigs launched and received
Drawings of the pigs with overall dimensions and seal/cup spacings
Line conditions during each pig run, including problems and unusual pressure
fluctuations
Conditions at the receiver after the pig run, such as the quantity and type of
debris, conditions of the pig, and resulting pressure drop
Launcher and receiver trap dimensions and connections
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A map and schematic of the pipeline showing its route along with key features
such as valves, bends, branch connections, and diameter changes
19.7.2 Speed Control
Pigs are most effective when running within an optimum speed range. For solids
and liquid removal this range is 3 to 7 ft/s. At speeds below 3 ft/s, the pig may run
in a series of start and stop motions, especially if gas driven. Also, at low speeds,
the turbulent effect ahead of the pig will diminish resulting in removed solids
falling from suspension. As the solids settle, they will accumulate in front of the
pig and eventually lead to line blockage.
At higher speeds, there will be greater wear of sealing and scraping elements. If
speed is too high, the pig will tend to ride over the deposits or if there is
substantial volumes of liquid present, hydroplaning may occur. When high
speeds are experienced in a gas-pig-gas arrangement, then frictional heating and
consequent breakdown of the polyurethane components is possible. Research has
shown that as speed increases, the differential pressure increases.
Speed control of pigs propelled by liquid is relatively straightforward since it is
directly proportional to the volumetric output of the separator or pump. For pigs
propelled by gas, speed control is more complicated since it is affected by several
variables (i.e. gas compressibility, line conditions, operating mode etc.).
For gas export lines, where pig speed is essentially determined by on-stream flow
conditions set by the separator or compressor, the speed if excessive, can be
reduced using pig by-pass. This involves creating a passage through the pig for
the gas propellant to flow. This method not only improves pig performance but
reduces the peak liquid slug rate that arrives ahead of the pig. This enables the
operator to use smaller and more economical separators or slug catchers. Field
tests performed on a 20- inch two-phase line, demonstrated that a 10% bypass
produced a reduction of 70 percent in liquid arrival rate. As well as slipping the
pig within the drive medium, by-pass also enhances cleaning performance. This
is discussed in the next section 19.7.3.
In multi-phase lines of reasonable liquid content, speed control under gas
propulsion may be achieved by regulating the delivery rate of the liquid column
ahead of the pig. This assumes that operating conditions permit the pig to
produce a homogeneous liquid column ahead of itself. If the multi-phase line is
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predominantly of the gas phase with minimum liquid hold-up, the operator could
still implement the latter speed control method by introducing a slug of liquid into
the flowline prior to the launch of the pig. Another method for controlling speed
under gas propulsion is to operate at higher pressures and maintain a reasonable
level of backpressure on the pig. If the pig should stick during operation, then
instead of packing the flowline and increasing the pressure via the compressor,
the backpressure could steadily be reduced to initiate controlled pig movement.
This procedure should help mitigate the high-speed pig excursions that are
normally associated with gas propulsion. Also, higher backpressures would be
advantageous when pigs are launched from deepwater hosts. The greater
backpressure would limit the differential across the pig and hence the speed
during transit down and up the steep risers.
19.7.3 Bypass
To improve the performance of cleaning pigs some form of pig bypass is
recommended. Bypass involves using the differential pressure across the pig to
create fluid flow from rear to the front of the pig. The stream of fluid that flows
through the pig not only washes the cleaning elements but creates a region of
turbulence ahead of the pig. This region of turbulence is conducive in maintaining
removed solids in suspension. If the removed solid is not held in suspension then
it can settle and accumulate as a plug in front of the pig. Bypass provides
lubrication and enables the pig to slip in the fluid drive stream so that the deposits
removed can float away in the faster flowing stream in front of the pig.
Mandrel cleaning pigs have the bypass designed such that flow enters the pig
from rear via ports, flows past the cleaning elements, and then exits the front via
other ports. For foam pigs and mandrel pigs without ports, bypass is between the
surface bearing area and the pipe wall.
The amount of bypass is specified as a percentage of actual bypass area to the
equivalent area of the flowline internal diameter. Pig vendors have recommended
a range of 3 to 5 percent. If bypass exceeds 5 percent then there is a risk the pig
may install, especially if gas propelled
19.7.4 Solids Handling
Providing removed solids remain in suspension in front of the pig, then the solids
when it arrives at the host should travel through the process equipment trouble
free. However, there may be occasion where the solids could compact within
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reduced bore sections (i.e. shell and tube line heaters). If this blockage is not
timely alleviated then it could possibly extend upstream beyond the host
shutdown valve, and therefore affect the operation of this valve and compromise
system safety.
To mitigate this condition, the contents of the pigged flowline could be diverted
into a dedicated test separator. This would leave the host separator (solids free) to
handle well production. The test separator would also provide the means of
directly assessing the type and quantity of solids being removed per pigging
operation. This would provide valuable information for optimizing the pigging
strategy. To minimize cost, the test separator should only be employed when there
is high uncertainty associated with the contents of the line (i.e. early or infrequent
pig runs, change of production conditions, etc.). Another possible method to
handle solids and avoid blockages would be to incorporate injection points for
introducing chemicals or compressed air at strategic locations on the host
receiving facility.
19.7.5 Operator Training and Manual
An essential part of successful pigging is the training of operator personnel.
Without the correct training, there is a high risk that inappropriate action may be
taken that not only compromises the pigging operation but system production and
the safety of personnel. Simple but detailed operating procedures that cover every
aspect of the pigging operation are required.
19.7.6 Tracking & Location
To ensure pigging operations are conducted in a safe and effective manner, some
method of tracking pig passage is required. In its simplest form, this comprises
mechanical indicators permanently installed on the launcher and receiver.
Verification that a pig has left the launcher or arrived at the receiver will enable
for the loading or removal operations to be safely performed.
When pigging lines for the first time or lines that have been pigged infrequently,
there is a high risk that pigs may become stuck. Therefore, pig tracking in these
situations becomes more critical, especially in deepwater lines, if the time and
expense associated with locating a stuck pig is to be minimized. More
sophisticated tracking methods other than mechanical indicators are required.
The following briefly outlines some of the offshore methods available:
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Magnetic
This involves inserting a permanent magnet inside a stainless steel or
polyurethane pig. A sensor mounted on the flowline detects a change in magnetic
field as the pig traverses past. To track a pig the method relies on several sensors
to be located subsea permanently or positioned temporarily by ROV. When the
sensor is activated it can be communicated to surface via an umbilical, strobe light
monitored by ROV or diver, or acoustic pinger/transponder on sensor. The
accuracy of pig location will depend upon the distance between monitoring
points. Either way, the practicalities and cost associated with deploying
numerous sensors will probably prove to be prohibitively high.
Petrobras use this method to detect the passage of pigs through the pigging loop.
A magnetic sensor mounted on the pigging loop transmits a signal to surface via
the subsea control pod.
Electromagnetic
The electromagnetic method is currently the most widely used in surface gas
pipelines. The pig is installed with an electromagnetic transmitter. The
transmitter when energized radiates an alternating field that penetrates the
flowline and surroundings and is detected by a receiver. Depending on the size of
the flowline, the transmitter may have to be mounted inside a foam pig and be
towed behind the cleaning pig. The same method of tracking the pig as outlined
above for the permanent magnet would apply.
Because of the electrical conductivity of the seawater, the signal is rapidly
attenuated. To detect the signal and precisely locate the pig, an ROV would have
to fly with a receiver and remain relatively close to the flowline. Based on
feedback from vendor, the approximate signal range is affected by the size, wall
thickness and medium within the line. Through simple tests the actual
transmission range can be determined.
BP Troika recently used the electromagnetic method successfully during the
recent repair of a leaking flowline. An electromagnetic transmitter was fitted
inside an extra long foam pig. The pig driven by seawater was used to displace
production from the leaking flowline. An ROV located at the subsea pigging loop
verified the pigs arrival followed by sending signal to stop driving the pig. Once
the line was repaired, the pig was returned by pumping dead crude from the
platform.
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Radioactive
This method is similar to the electromagnetic method except that a radioactive
source is used to label the pig. The gamma radiation emitted through the pipe
wall can be used to track and detect the location of the pig. This type of method
requires special personnel trained in handling, transporting, and deploying the
radioactive source. Since this method suffers from significant signal attenuation
because of the seawater, it requires that the ROV remain in close proximity to the
flowline to locate the pigs exact position.
Acoustic Vibration
This system is designed to respond to low energy pulses on the pipe wall and to
amplify the signal to produce a usable audio or visual output. The acoustic
vibrational pulses are generated when the discs or cups of the moving pig make
contact with the weld beads on the flowline. The method is only suitable for gas
lines.
The method relies on the continuous tracking of the pig using several sensors.
Using information from acoustic detectors and correlating this against flowline
information (distance to valves, weld joints, bends, etc.), the distance that the pig
has traveled and its location can be estimated.
Acoustic
The method is based on emitting a low frequency acoustic signal. The signal can
be transmitted from either a pinger or transponder incorporated into the cleaning
pig or a foam pig towed behind it. Both systems operate more effectively in a line
containing liquid rather than gas. Liquid is a better acoustic conductor than gas.
The pinger emits an acoustic signal at regular intervals and can be tracked by a
surface vessel with hydrophone and directional antenna. To locate a stuck pig,
the same surface vessel and method is used to determine general location,
followed by deploying an ROV equipped with a ping pointer for precise
location. Because the pinger is battery powered and therefore has a finite life,
tracking and locating operations must be performed in a timely manner.
The transponder system is a receiver-transmitter beacon that transmits an acoustic
pulse (reply) on a preset frequency only after receiving a recognized interrogation
pulse from a surface vessel. The transponder will only emit a reply when an
interrogation pulse from the surface vessel is received, thus conserving power and
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prolonging battery life. Typical battery life of mini-transponders is in the range of
30-60 days. By timing the arrival of the reply signal the slant range to the
transponder can be calculated. The accuracy of range is good and is usually
repeatable to within 2-3 ft. Hence a pigs exact position can readily be
determined.
Both pingers and transponders have been extensively used in the North Sea during
commissioning of standard (i.e. single wall) pipelines.
Radio
A pig transponder is being developed based on the principle of using extremely
low radio frequencies similar to submarine communication systems. The method
intends to increase the transmission range to 20-25 ft. This will make the location
of a stuck pig more feasible when relying on an ROV- mounted receiver.
Pressure and Flow Monitoring
This method has been discussed in Section 19.7.1 (Monitoring & Assessment)
and involves monitoring and recording flowline pressure variations and
volumetric rates during a pig run and correlating this information against the time
of the run to determine an approximate location for the pig. Using a supervisory
control and data acquisition (SCADA) system combined with a computer model
of the line, the pigging operation could be monitored on a real time basis.
Although this method is not envisaged as an accurate means of tracking and
locating pigs, it would assist and complement the other direct methods.
Table 19.5 attempts to summarize in general, the applicability of each of the
tracking and location methods for typical deepwater pipeline configurations, by
considering their relevant strengths and weaknesses as well as practical
experience.
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Table 19-5: General Applicability of Tracking & Location Methods
Deepwater Pipeline Configuration
Tracking & Locating Method Single Wall Pipe-in-Pipe
Gas Liquid Multi-Phase Gas Liquid Multi-Phase
Magnetic ** ** ** ** ** **
Electromagnetic **** * ** **** * *
Radioactive ** * * * * *
Acoustic Vibration *** * * * * *
Acoustic (Pinger/Transponder) * **** * * ** *
Radio * ** * * ** *
Pressure & Flow ** ** * ** ** *
Key Very Good ****, Good ***, Fair **, Poor *
In addition to verifying the launch and receipt of pigs and their location if they
become stuck, pig tracking provides the operator with other benefits as described
below:
Speed Assessment - Accurate cognizance of a pigs speed will enable the
operator to vary volumetric input or output until the optimum speed is
achieved.
Valve Operation Positive indication of pig location is required prior to
operating system valves (i.e. pigging loop isolation, diverter etc.).
Arrival Time Accurate knowledge of pig arrival time enables receiving
operations to be optimized. This is particularly important when receiving a
train of pigs, where knowledge of the pig arrival times will determine the
nature of the removal and disposal operations.
19.7.7 Stuck Pig
In the event a pig (does not incorporate locating signal) becomes stuck because it
has encountered an impassable obstruction (partially opened valve, wax plug etc.)
or loses its seal, then the operator should proceed with caution by following pre-
established procedures. The procedures should identify the actions to be
performed to correct the situation and prevent any additional problems from
occurring. The basis for the procedures is sequentially described below.
INTEC ENGINEERING, INC. DEEPSTAR
MULTIPHASE DESIGN GUIDELINE
H-0806.35 19-52 1-Dec-00
Verify that the pig has left the launcher. Isolate and depressurize the launcher
before performing visual inspection.
If verified as being in the pipeline, check that all pigging path valves are in the
open position. Partially closed valves can stick or damage pigs.
Examine the pig pressure chart or SCADA system for clues where the pig
may have stopped. A sudden rise in pressure could attribute to the pig
becoming stuck. The time of this occurrence can be compared against the pig
launch time and flowrates to determine approximate position. Because of
possible pig by-pass and slippage this could produce large discrepancies.
If return flow is evident then this suggests that the pig seals could be
damaged. Increase flow rate in the attempt that the higher momentum will
recover the pig. If this fails, consider launching a foam pig or gel train to
effect a seal behind the pig. In the event the foam pig or gel train are
unsuccessful they should be capable of being dissolved.
If return flow is not evident then this suggests that the pigs seals are still
intact. Increase or rapidly vary the drive pressure to overcome the retaining
force. If this is unsuccessful, then pressure can be reversed providing the
stuck pig had bi-directional sealing capability.
If the above methods fail to locate or recover the stuck pig, then a second pig
complete with tracking device should be run. In this situation the use of the
shunting pig (described previously in section 19.5.6) should be considered
over running a pig that is identical or similar to the one that is stuck. When
the stuck pig can still not be fully recovered, then it is imperative that all
attempts be made to push the stuck pig into a section of line that is in
shallower water. This will significantly reduce the time and cost if the line is
to be cut and repaired.
19.8 References
1. Azevodo, L.F.A, Braga, A.M.B., Naccache, M.F. and Gomes, M.G.F.M.,
Petrobras S.A. (1996), Simple Hydrodynamic Models of the Prediction of Pig
INTEC ENGINEERING, INC. DEEPSTAR
MULTIPHASE DESIGN GUIDELINE
H-0806.35 19-53 1-Dec-00
Motions in Pipelines, (OTC 8232). Offshore Technology Conference,
Houston, (May).
2. Cordell, J. L., Mainline Management Services (1986), Design of Pigs for
Subsea Systems. Pipes and Pipelines International, (Sept).
3. Cordell, J. and Vanzant, H. (1977), All About Pigging.
4. Formigli, J., SPE and Porciuncula, S. Petrosbras (1997), Campos Basin: 20
Years of Subsea and Marine Hardware Evolution, (OTC 8489). Offshore
Technology Conference, Houston, Texas, (May).
5. Gomes, M.G.F.M.; Pereira; F. B.; Lino, and A. C. F.; Petrobras S. A. (1996),
Solutions and Procedures to Assure Flow in Deepwater Conditions (OTC
8229), Offshore Technology Conference, Houston, Texas (May).
6. Kozel, A., H. O. Mohr Research and Engineering (1996), Subsea Pigging
Considerations. Pipes and Pipelines International, Houston, Texas (Feb).
7. Lima, P.C.R. and Alves, S. J., Petrobras S.A. (1995). Application of Low
Density Foam Pigs Offshore Brazil, (OTC 007864), Offshore Technology
Conference, Houston, Texas (May).
8. Lino, A. C. F.; Mastrangelo, C.; Pereira; F. B.; Gomes, M.G.F.M., Petrobras
S.A. (1997), The Engineering Pigging Equipment for Subsea Systems in
Campos Basin, (OTC 8540). Offshore Technology Conference, Houston,
Texas (May).
9. Lochte, G. E. and Konzel, A., H. O. Mohr Research and Engineering, (1995),
How Pigging Operations Impact Deepwater Production Economics. Offshore
Magazine, 58:4 (May).
10. Marshall, G. R. (1988), Cleaning of the Valhall Offshore Oil Pipeline, (OTC
5743). Offshore Technology Conference, Houston (May).
11. McNulty, J. G. and Short, G. C. (1992), Predicting the Performance of
Conventional Pigs. Pipeline Pigging and Inspection Technology Conference,
Houston (Feb).
12. ODonoghue, A., Caltec Ltd, UK (1993), Characteristics and Performance of
Conventional Cleaning Pigs. Pipes and Pipelines International, (Sept-Oct).
13. Pipes and Pipeline International (1995). An Introduction to Pipeline Pigging.
14. Schaefer, E. F., (1991), Pigging of Subsea Pipelines, (OTC 6769). Offshore
Technology Conference, Houston (May).
INTEC ENGINEERING, INC. DEEPSTAR
MULTIPHASE DESIGN GUIDELINE
H-0806.35 19-54 1-Dec-00
15. Slater, J. Petrocorp Exploration Ltd. (New Zealand), (1990), Handling New
Zealand Waxy Crude Oil, (OSEA 90138). Offshore Southeast Asia
Conference, Singapore (Dec).
16. Smith, G. L., Knapp Polly Pig Inc., (1996), Pigging Velocities and The
Variable-Speed Pig. Pipes and Pipelines International, Houston, Texas (Feb).
17. Stewart, M and Arnold, K. (1993), Surface Production Operations Volume
2, Design of Gas-Handling Systems and Facilities.
18. Tiratsoo, J. N. H. (1992), Pipeline Pigging Technology.