In 2009 David Panic sucessfully complete his CEED Project with Chevron Australia Pty Ltd titled Challenging the conventional erosional velocity limitations for high rate gas well. The following article was posted in the Chevron Intranet.
Research paves the way to boost productivity
A research project recently undertaken at the University of Western Australia (UWA) on behalf of Chevron Australia has enhanced understanding of the fundamental principles associated with a well respected but yet conservative industry guideline - American Petroleum Institute’s Recommended Practice for Design and Installation of Offshore Production Platform Piping Systems (API RP 14E).
During phase 2 of the Wheatstone Project, the team identified the need to invest in research to determine the maximum allowable extraction rate for a big bore gas well to achieve maximum productivity without compromising safety.
Through Chevron’s strategic alliance with WA:ERA*, Andrew House, Senior Petroleum Engineer, Wheatstone Project, kick-started the research by investing in the resources available in UWA’s Cooperative Education for Enterprise Development (CEED) program. The CEED program enables companies to initiate contact with UWA researchers and students where the research student is appointed an academic supervisor and industry mentor once the scope of the research is defined.
The nine-month study undertaken by David Panic, a mechanical engineering student at UWA, analysed the flow through the tubing retrievable subsurface safety valve (TRSSSV) during early and later field life utilizing computational fluid dynamics. Based on adopted tolerable erosion rate criteria and produced solids properties, the maximum acceptable flow velocity within the TRSSSV exceeded the recommended erosional velocity determined by the API RP 14E for all flow rates modeled.
The research also indicated that while the later field life erosion rate increased significantly, the permissible late-life extraction rate of 210 MMSCF/d (using the same tolerable erosion rate criteria) still exceeded the 110 MMSCF/d recommended using the API RP 14E guideline.
With this information to hand the research results can reap many rewards not only for the Wheatstone Project but for Chevron operations globally, such as:
• Chevron has the capability of extending operating limits of big bore wells
• Chevron has a greater understanding of erosion mechanisms within a typical big bore gas well which will enable the development of practices that maximize productivity while still maintaining well reliability and safety.
• Chevron’s development well count and capital expenditure can potentially be reduced or deferred.
“I am delighted with the outcome of the study. Chevron’s investment in the CEED program has given us an insight into the pool of talent available and I would encourage others to participate in it. Perhaps it could form part of Chevron’s recruitment strategy one day,” said Andrew House.
Having graduated from UWA with a Bachelor in Engineering major in mechanical engineering with first class Honors, David Panic looks back on his role in a challenging and interesting research project.
“Conducting research on one of Chevron’s major capital projects that can have a significant impact has been a very rewarding and great learning experience,” said David.
For more information on WA:ERA*, please email Lisa Hawker, Chevron Energy Technology Company: LisaHawker@Chevron.com
For more information on the CEED program, please email Jeremy Leggoe, CEED Director at UWA: Jeremy Leggoe@uwa.edu.au
22 January 2010
*WA:ERA is a joint venture between CSIRO, Curtin University of Technology and The University of Western Australia. The alliance draws together specialised skills in all science and technology areas to address challenges concerning the discovery, development, recovery, transportation & refinement of subsurface energy sources.