Exhibition & Conference

13-16 September 2021

Singapore EXPO, Singapore

Strategic Programme

Peter Henderson

Process Technical Authority


09:55 - 10:20

Wednesday, 18 September 2019

S1.3 Innovative Modeling Solutions Automate Right-Sizing Evaluation for O&G Operations

Oil and gas (O&G) plants are very complex and complicated operations and will undergo numerous changes from the original design throughout its service life. O&G companies are constantly modifying processing conditions to reduce operating costs. Such modifications include additional feed streams, feedstock compositional changes, different operating conditions, rationalisation (or installation of) process equipment, and more.

Before any changes are done, O process modeling or simulations are conducted to verify results, especially in debottlenecking projects. Yet, traditional plant assessments are tedious, time-consuming efforts; often, such investigations are expensive due to assessing varying levels of uncertainty and many possible scenarios.

A more time-efficient, automated method is needed that can manage the numerous modeling calculations and, likewise, provide a robust assessment of the plant at any point during its operating life.

The paper presents the features and applications of an automated capacity assessment approach using MeasCap software. The authors demonstrate how advanced software tools, such as MeasCap, can be used to improve capacity assessment and debottlenecking studies by removing compromises often encountered in the more traditional design approach.

Using robust, dynamic models, operators can make data-driven decisions on future requirements to maximise plant capacity while still operating in an efficient and safe manner. Such automated assessments can be used to identify capacity limitations, then re-run to understand debottlenecking effectiveness. Options are assessed by the engineering team to understand constructability and cost implications and to compare other options using the same basis.

Once the model is built, its flexibility allows changes in data to be handled easily and will not delay study outcomes. This capacity model can be updated with real-time data and re-used in future assessments.  

Several case studies demonstrate the benefits of automating the right-sizing assessments. Such benefits include: faster study time, higher flexibility, greater robustness, quicker creation of plant operating envelopes, as well as, providing a residual value of the model for future assessments. Presented examples include projects that were implemented based on initial right-sizing assessment work and are:

  • Assessment of new feedstocks where all potential options are evaluated; bottlenecks are identified; and the best solution is developed.
  • Operating life studies to provide a road map for future asset management.
  • Review of low-pressure operation due to reduced backpressure on wells or pipelines and creation of operating envelopes to determine the system limits.
  • FPSO redeployment to assess the process plant for a new field with flow/ composition and to evaluate modifications required.  
  • Facility rationalisation review to determine bottlenecks when reducing the number of equipment items.

The model output exposes bottlenecks and feasible operating envelopes. It supports improved decision-making for righting-size projects. The presented examples show that MeasCap can reduce study time by 30% as compared to a traditional approach.