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Research Papers: Natural Gas Technology

The State-of-the-Art of Gas-Liquid Cylindrical Cyclone Control Technology: From Laboratory to Field

[+] Author and Article Information
Shoubo Wang

 The University of Tulsa, 800 S Tucker Drive, Tulsa, OK 74104

Luis Gomez

 The University of Tulsa, 800 S Tucker Drive, Tulsa, OK 74104

Ram Mohan

 The University of Tulsa, 800 S Tucker Drive, Tulsa, OK 74104

Ovadia Shoham

 The University of Tulsa, 800 S Tucker Drive, Tulsa, OK 74104

Gene Kouba

 Chevron Energy Technology Company, 1400 Smith Street, Houston, TX 77002

Jack Marrelli

 Chevron Energy Technology Company, 1400 Smith Street, Houston, TX 77002

J. Energy Resour. Technol 132(3), 032701 (Sep 29, 2010) (9 pages) doi:10.1115/1.4001900 History: Received March 27, 2005; Revised January 29, 2010; Published September 29, 2010; Online September 29, 2010

Conventional gas-liquid separators are vessel-type with simple level and pressure control since the residence time is large. Compact gas-liquid separators, such as gas-liquid cylindrical cyclone (GLCC© —gas-liquid cylindrical cyclone—copyright, University of Tulsa, 1994), have emerged recently as alternatives to reduce size and increase separation efficiency for onshore, offshore, and subsea applications. As compared with the vessel-type separators, compact separators are simple, low-cost, low-weight, require little maintenance and are easy to install and operate. However, the residence time of the GLCC is very small. Consequently, it can be destabilized easily due to high flow variations at the inlet, for example, slugging, without the aid of fast and accurate control systems. In the past, lack of understanding of control system dynamics and design tools has prevented this technology from fast field deployment. The objective of this study is to present a review of the compact gas-liquid separator (GLCC) control technology. This includes the development of control strategies, control system design, dynamic simulation, experimental investigation, and field applications. The performance of compact gas-liquid separator (GLCC) strongly depends on the liquid level and/or separating pressure. In this investigation, several control strategies have been presented for field applications of gas-liquid compact separators. Especially, an optimal control strategy was developed for handling slug flow and optimizing the system performance in terms of reduced or eliminated liquid carry-over or gas carry-under. The developed strategies have been used for the design of several hundreds of GLCC applications, currently in operation in the field. Details of some of these applications are also presented. This study provides the state-of-the-art of gas-liquid compact separator control technology from the laboratory to the field.

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Copyright © 2010 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figures

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Figure 1

Schematic of gas-liquid cylindrical cyclone separator

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Figure 2

Operational envelope for liquid carry-over and flow regimes for different control strategies

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Figure 3

Block diagram of optimal liquid level control

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Figure 4

Block diagram of the linear model for optimal liquid level control

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Figure 5

Control system response for level control by LCV and pressure control by GCV

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Figure 6

Control system response for integrated level control by both LCV and GCV

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Figure 7

Control system response for optimal control strategy (slug flow)

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Figure 8

GLCC metering skid at former humble flow facility, Chevron

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Figure 9

Control system response of optimal control for steady inflow condition

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Figure 10

Liquid level response of optimal control for slugging case

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Figure 11

Control valve response of optimal control for slugging case

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Figure 12

GLCC field application for single well measurements (autopump control; courtesy, SMS)

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