Integrity assurance of subsea, onshore and topsides piping components over the life of a field is of prime importance for optimized production. Sand in the produced hydrocarbon fluids can lead to erosion in various components as it is transported from the well to shore. It causes irreversible metal loss and poses serious threat to the integrity of the production system. It is estimated that the sand erosion related issues annually cost operators billions in lost revenue and maintenance.

The effect of erosion and how to litigate it should be addressed at early stages of a project design. To do this effectively the design team will require prior understanding of potential issues regarding erosion. Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) is a very powerful tool to highlight issues regarding sand erosion and identify the most effective ways to mitigate or reduce the impact of erosion. However CFD is a complex and requires specialist resources to obtain reliable quantitative prediction of metal loss in a system. To be effective CFD requires a robust verification process to provide validated results.

INTECSEA /WorleyParsons have developed a robust sand erosion CFD process through in-house testing and independent validation. This process has been effectively used to highlight and mitigate sand erosion related issues in subsea developments. The same process has also been successfully used for development of the Erosion Control Technology (ECT), a patented (WIPO Patent Application No.: PCT/EP2016/066158) technology developed in-house. ECT is a first of its kind erosion control technology to reduce metal loss due to sand erosion by redistributing sand particles in a flow field. CFD was used for designing the test rig and the technology itself.

This paper will highlight the process which has been undertaken in developing this technology and how applying the CFD process can assist in mitigating the sand erosion risk.

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