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A COMPARISON OF MONITORING TECHNIQUES FOR IMPROVED EROSION CONTROL: A FIELD STUDY Bill Hedges BP Trinidad & Tobago PO Box

714 Port of Spain Trinidad & Tobago Andy Bodington Concepts & Services Co. Ltd. PO Box 1336 Port of Spain Trinidad & Tobago ABSTRACT Erosion, corrosion and erosion-corrosion problems provide significant safety and environmental risks to the oil and gas industry due to unexpected material failure. In addition the cost associated with such failures is estimated to be many millions of dollars each year due to deferred or lost production and repair costs. Severe damage has occurred to tubing, flowlines, pipe fittings, headers, valves, pumps, and other production equipment. In some cases projects choose expensive corrosion resistant alloys (CRAs) to mitigate against erosion-corrosion. For the gas fields discussed in this paper an erosion management strategy is in place but two major problems remain: 1. Multiple flowlines (up to three) have been used on each high production rate well (up to 250 mmscf/d). This creates space issues that have resulted in the need for unusual piping routes and platform extensions. In addition all equipment and control systems are multiplied accordingly. 2. Rates are restricted to values based on the API 14E equation. Currently field production is ~1.5 bscf/d of gas. A 1% increase in velocity could result in an increase of 15 mmscf/d. Consequently this semi-quantitative project was sanctioned to evaluate a range of monitoring equipment to determine if it might be possible to safely increase production rates.

INTRODUCTION Erosion, corrosion and erosion-corrosion problems provide significant health, safety and environmental risks to the oil and gas industry due to unexpected material failure. In addition the cost associated with such failures is estimated to be many millions of dollars each year due to deferred or lost production and repair costs. Severe damage has occurred to tubing, flowlines, pipe fittings, headers, valves, pumps, and other production equipment. In some cases projects choose expensive corrosion resistant alloys (CRAs) to mitigate against erosion-corrosion. To date, the most effective counter-measures against erosion and corrosion involve using erosion-corrosion resistant alloys, inhibitors, coatings or placing limitations on production and flow velocities. In the latter case the oil and gas industry often use guidelines based on the API 14E standard1. Unfortunately this guideline was developed for the erosion of steel by water droplets in steam and does not recognize many of the important factors contributing to erosion and corrosion damage. These include the presence of solid particles contained in the flow, corrosivity of the fluid, formation and removal of corrosion scale, geometries of the fittings and flow regime. In Trinidad, BP has an erosion management strategy that can be summarised as follows: 1. Do not produce solids (sand). This is implemented at the design stage of a well. The geologists and reservoir engineer determine how consolidated the reservoir is and then design the well completion accordingly. For highly consolidated sands this may require nothing to be done. For less consolidated sands a range of measures including gravel packs and sand screens are used. 2. Assume that a nominal mass of sand will be produced. This is a practical approach that reflects the known limitations of the sand control measures noted in (1) above. At this time the companys guidelines2 define nominally sand free conditions as 0.1 pounds of sand for every million standard cubic feet of gas (0.1 lbs/mmscf). 3. Limit the velocity of the fluids to a maximum value to avoid erosion. As a default the API 14E guidelines are used in which the maximum velocity allowed (Vmax) is set equal the erosional velocity (Verosion). This is the velocity above which unacceptable rates of erosion are expected to occur and is calculated using the following equation: Vmax = Verosion = C gas density (1)

C is a constant (known as the C factor), the value of which is determined by the companys central technology center and is dependent on the operating conditions (e.g. flow regime, presence of corrosion inhibition) and material of construction of the pipework. At this time2 the value for Carbon steel systems with good corrosion inhibition is 135. For multiphase mixtures the mixture density replaces the gas density.

When the API 14E calculation yields a result that is unacceptably low or when more data is provided (sand size, shape and production rate) a more detailed calculation of the erosional velocity is made. These are done in collaboration with experts in the companys technology Group (EPTG). The models used are developed through research and collaborative programs, such as those at Harwell3, UK and Tulsa University4, U.S.A. 4. Monitor the gas (fluids) to ensure that sand rates do not exceed a nominal value. Currently the nominal value is set to 0.1 lbs/mmscf and the monitoring is undertaken using acoustic sand detectors located at strategic points on the flowline (e.g. bends). These are individually calibrated using known quantities of sand of known size and shape. Once calibrated, a maximum signal from the detector is assigned and if this is exceeded production is choked back until the signal falls below the assigned value. Production is then slowly increased back to the desired rate. 5. Frequent inspection of high risk locations. A simple risk based approach is used to identify the most vulnerable locations. Typically these are the chokes and flowlines at bends. Chokes are opened and inspected visually. If sand is found it is collected and analyzed for size distribution. A typical inspection interval is 3 months. To date this approach has proved reasonably successful in controlling erosion and erosion corrosion. However it has several limitations, which are: The API 14E calculation was developed for steam applications without solids. Clearly its use for multiphase flow (gas, oil, water) with solids is an extrapolation outside its original design. In some cases this leads to an overly conservative design (high alloy steels or restrictive flow rates) whilst in others it underestimates the severity of the problem. The focus on a nominal sand rate is problematic for two reasons. First, it assumes the sand is produced continuously at the same rate and, in practice, this is often not the case with sand produced intermittently. In some cases little or no sand is produced for long periods of time followed by periods of very high rates. Secondly, the actual rate of sand can be very difficult to determine in the field. The focus on a critical erosional velocity assumes that this can be calculated or determined accurately. The acoustic monitors have proven very successful for detecting sand. However they have not been successful in determining the quantity of sand. Moreover, they do not measure the damage that the sand causes.

These limitations have led to two major problems, which are: 1. Multiple flowlines (up to three) have been used on each high production rate well (up to 250 mmscf/d). This creates space issues that have resulted in the need for unusual piping routes and platform extensions. In addition all equipment and control systems are multiplied accordingly. 2. Rates are restricted to the API 14E levels. Currently field production is ~1.5 bscf/d of gas. A 1% increase in velocity could result in an increase of 15 mmscf/d.

Consequently this semi-quantitative project was sanctioned to evaluate a range of monitoring equipment to determine if it might be possible to safely increase production rates.

EXPERIMENTAL Choice of Flowlines For this project a gas production platform was chosen which met the following criteria: Availability of multiphase (oil, water & gas) and gas only wells. The flow rates of the two flowlines should be easily adjustable. Availability of suitable injection points for the injection of sand. No issues with the installation of any of the instruments.

Two separate flowlines were chosen to meet these criteria. These were numbered 1A and 7. Flow velocity and flow regime calculations Tables 1 and 2 detail the conditions for the flowlines 1A and 7. TABLE 1 Physical Data For Flowline Number 1A. (Nominal Diameter = 6, Schedule 80) (OD = 168 mm (6.626), ID = 146 mm (5.761), WT =11 mm (0.432) Choke Gas Oil Water Pressure Temp. Vsg Vso Vsw Position (mmscf/d) (bbls/d) (bbls/d) (psia) (F) (m/s) (m/s) (m/s) (Open %) 73 20 160 4 1050 120 5.60 0.02 0.0004 81 31 302 7 1070 120 8.52 0.03 0.0008 90 47 302 7 1070 120 12.92 0.03 0.0008 100 56 366 15 1086 120 15.16 0.04 0.0020 TABLE 2 Physical Data For Flowline Number 7. (Nominal Diameter = 6, Schedule 80) (OD = 168 mm (6.626), ID = 146 mm (5.761), WT =11 mm (0.432) Choke Position (Open %) 66 75 81 Gas Oil Water Pressure Temp. (mmscf/d) (bbls/d) (bbls/d) (psia) (F) 39 40 47 1,484 1334 1400 526 535 560 1,110 1090 1121 120 120 120 Vsg (m/s) 10.21 10.80 12.33 Vso Vsw (m/s) (m/s) 0.16 0.15 0.15 0.06 0.06 0.06

In all cases the flow regimes were calculated to be annular.

Monitoring Equipment Following a survey of available monitoring equipment, six (6) instruments were selected for evaluation in the field and these are listed in Table 3. TABLE 3 Monitoring Instruments Evaluated Instrument Acoustic Sand Detector Supplier Roxar Measurement Technique Acoustic detects solids Installation Non Intrusive, clamp on type Characteristics Single instrument. Listens for solids impacting on internal surface of flowline. Can be calibrated to measure quantity of sand if flow conditions remain relatively constant. Sends pulsing sound waves through flowline wall, as well as through flowing medium in flowline and receives reflected signal. Change in reflected signal, indicates solids presence in flowing fluid. Flexible mat with 14 individual sensors each measuring wall thickness by pulse echo technique. Mats are permanently installed in position. Single instrument using pulse echo technique. Sends sound waves through flowline wall only and receives reflected signal. Claimed to be very sensitive. Regular UT probe, which measures the flowlines wall thickness. Angled head type installed directly in flow stream. Element metal loss relative to reference element causes change in electrical resistance.

Ultrasonic Sand Detector

A Research Tool Still under Development

Ultrasonic detects solids

Non Intrusive, clamp on type

Flexible UT Mat

Bodycote Metal Technology

Ultrasonic Measures wall thickness

Non Intrusive, bonded on flowline with epoxy Non Intrusive, clamp on type

High Sensitivity Ultrasonic Probe

A Research Tool Still under Development

Ultrasonic Measures wall thickness

Conventional Ultrasonic Probe High Sensitivity ER Probe

Krautkramer Ultrasonic Systems Cormon Limited

Ultrasonic Measures wall thickness Ceion technology Measures metal loss rate.

Non intrusive hand held Intrusive via access fitting

In all cases the representatives of the suppliers were contracted to install the equipment to ensure that there were no concerns relating to this aspect of the trial. Further details of the instruments can be obtained from the respective manufacturers or the authors of this paper. Location Of The Probes On The Flowlines Wherever possible the probes were placed at a location identified as vulnerable to erosion, usually just after a bend. Figures 1 & 2 show schematically the placements of all the probes on the two flowlines. Figure 1 Probe Arrangement on Flowline 1A Figure 2 Probe Arrangement on Flowline 7

Flow

Flow

Legend:
Ultrasonic sand detector UT flexible mats

High Sensitivity ER probe High Sensitivity UT probe

Acoustic Sand detector Conventional UT probe

Sand Injection Equipment A sand injector was used to inject known quantities of sand of known size into the flowlines. The injector consisted of a tank, which was filled with a suspension of sand in a viscous gel, a high pressure hose with a series of ball valves and a check valve. One end of the hose was connected to the tank and the other end to an injection point on the flowline upstream of the instruments. The third component of the injection unit consisted of a pneumatic panel, which housed the controls, gauges and a pump. The system, when pressured up has a higher pressure than the line pressure and the sand mixture is injected into the flowline at a continuous rate. Due to the limited volume of the tank, injection was only possible for 5 to 10 minutes, the exact duration being dependent on the flow rate. After all the sand from the tank was injected, the injection process was be stopped, the tank refilled and injection resumed. Figure 3 shows a typical plot of injection rate versus time.

FIGURE 3 Typical Sand Injection Profile


Sand injected at a rate of 2g/s No sand injected. Tank being refilled

To enable the sand to be pumped and to ensure that the sand concentration was as uniform as possible the sand was mixed into a polymer gel to form a suspension. The suspension was formed by mixing a very small amount of the gel, approximately 250 ml in a bucket filled with approximately 6 litres of water. This was mixed together with a high-speed air driven mixer until the fluid started to get more viscous. The weighed quantity of sand was then placed into the bucket and the high-speed mixer used to mix the sand and gel. The mixture was then poured into the tank of the injector unit. The sand was injected at a known mass per second. Using the known gas production rate this sand rate was converted to a sand loading in pounds of sand per million standard cubic feet of gas (lbs/mmscf).

Experimental Objectives The two primary objectives were to determine: 1. Which of the two sand detectors, if any, could detect small quantities of sand of different sizes (80-120 m and 30-50 m) at different flow velocities. The systems reliability, response time, repeatability and user friendliness were also observed. 2. Which of the metal loss measuring instruments or combination of instruments, if any, could detect small changes in metal loss due to sand injection. It should be noted that this was a broad study involving numerous experiments repeated several times and the full report consists of ~150 pages of data. This paper is focused on the overall conclusions and so many of the experimental results are omitted.

RESULTS Sand Detection Investigation The data reported here is for flowline 7 under the following conditions: Choke settings: 75% Pressure: 1090 psi Sand size: 80-120 m Injection rate: 2g/s Sand Loading: 9.5 lbs/mmscf Ultrasonic Sand Detector Figure 4 shows the oscilloscope trace of the detector during the experiments with an explanation of the various components of the signal.

FIGURE 4 Ultrasonic Sand Detector Results


MIST's sand detector signal

High sensitivity Ultrasonic probe


100 80 60 40 20 Signal, % 0 0 -20 -40 -60 -80 -100 Time, ms 100 200 300 400 500 600 700 800 900 1000

No signal obtained

Green arrow is reflected signal from inside wall

Black arrow is reflected signal from other side of wall internal. The reflected signal passes through the flowing medium. No signal observed.

Blue arrow is reflected signal from inside wall

Flowline I.D.

UT sand detector

Flowline O.D.

The manufacturer claims that if sand is present a third reflection will be seen in the circled area. However, at no time was such a signal seen in any of the tests in this program despite the manufacturers personnel making three separate visits to service and calibrate the equipment. It was therefore concluded that the ultrasonic sand detection equipment was not capable of detecting the sand under the conditions of these tests.

Acoustic sand detector Figure 5 shows the sand injection profile used and the corresponding response of the acoustic detector. FIGURE 5 Sand Injection Profile And Corresponding Acoustic Sand Detector Response

Roxar's Sand Trend A coustic Sand Detector


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Flowline 7

Gel only Background noise

Sand easily detected. Each peak represents when 2g/s was injected

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Figure 5 shows that the background signal prior to any injections was smooth and constant with a value of 21,000 nV. Injection of the gel only increased the signal to 60,000 nV. Injection of the sand in the gel gave a signal of ~200,000 nV. It is clear from the data that the acoustic sand detector detected every injection of sand. Limit Of Detection Of The Acoustic Sand Detector The acoustic detector was shown to be reliable and repeatable for the detection of sand over a wide range of conditions. It did however have some limits at either low velocities and/or

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concentrations. Figure 6 shows the data for Flowline 1A with a choke setting of 81% for decreasing concentrations of both 80-120 and 30-150 m sand. FIGURE 6 Acoustic Sand Detector Response To Decreasing Sand Concentrations
Acoustic sand detector trend. Roxar sand trend. Sand detection limit analysis. Sand detector limit analysis Flowline 1A. Choke 81% for 80-120 andmicrons. 30-50 microns sand 30-50 May 12, 2003 80-120 and
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0.27g/s

0.14g/s 0.06g/s

0.01g/s or 0.06 lbs/mmscf 1.4g/s or 8.6 lbs/mmscf

Signal, nanovolts

Gel

0.95g/s

Time

80-120 m

30-50 m

It was observed that for the 80-120 m sand the lowest rate of sand detection was ~ 0.01g/s or 0.06 lbs/mmscf which is below the limit for nominally sand free conditions of 0.1 lbs/mmscf as stated in the company guidelines2. For the 30-50 m sized sand the lowest rate of sand detection was ~ 1.4 g/s or 8.6 lbs/mmscf which is much higher than the guide of 0.1 lbs/mmscf. Thus it is possible for fine sand to be produced that is not detected by the acoustic detectors. An important question is, therefore, whether this sand causes any significant damage to the flow line.

Metal Loss Investigations Figure 7 shows the sand injection profile and the corresponding responses from the acoustic sand detector and the 4 metal loss detectors located on flowline 1A. The conditions for this test were: choke 100%, Vsg = 15.16 m/s, Vso = 0.04 m/s, sand size = 80-120 m.

Metal Loss, nanometers

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Acoustic sand detector trend Sand easily detected

Roxar sand trend, Flowline 1A, CHOKE 100%, 80-120 microns May 07, 2003

High sensitivity ER probe Metal loss rate about 19 mm/yr


Cormon's Real Time Metal loss trend Metal Loss vs Time
W all thickness, inches 0.41
0 1 2 3 4 5

Metal Loss, mm
0 1 2 3 4
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Metal Loss, mm 10 11 12 5 6 7 8 9

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T im e

FIGURE 7 Instrument Responses To 80-120 Microns Sized Sand (Severe Conditions)

R ight r ax 's M 1 w a ll t hic kn es s me as ur e me nt s

No metal loss observed by the flexible UT mat

MIST's wall thickness measurements

Continual computer hardware problems encountered with the high sensitivity ultrasonic probe

wall thickness measurements by the No Krautkramer's metal loss observed conventional ultrasonic probe

Time

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It is clear that the acoustic detector responded well to all of the sand injections with a repeatable signal. However these responses only indicate that solids are present (detection) but do not provide a measure of how much damage they might be doing.
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The ER probe also responded well to all of the sand injections although there was significant variation in the magnitude of the responses for the same conditions. The total metal loss

during this test was 2,010 nm (0.00201 mm). However, the total time of actual injection was 55 minutes which equates to a metal loss rate of ~19 mm/y. This is clearly an unacceptable rate and this result illustrates the importance of not only detecting the presence of the solids but also being able to determine how much damage they are doing. The flexible UT mat, sensitive and conventional UT probes did not detect anything during these tests. If the wall loss of 2,010 nm, as measured by the ER probe, is accurate this is not surprising since the limit of detection of all of these instruments in significantly greater than this and in the range of ~ 0.1 mm. Figure 8 shows the sand injection profile and the corresponding responses from the acoustic sand detector and the ER metal loss detector located on flowline 7 for less severe conditions than those in figure 7. The conditions for this test were: choke 75%, Vsg = 10.8 m/s, Vso = 0.21 m/s, sand size = 30-50 m. The results for the other metal loss instruments are not shown because, as seen above, they did not detect any metal loss during these tests. FIGURE 8 Instrument Responses To Smaller Sized Sand (30-50 Microns) (Moderate Conditions)

Cormon's Real Time Metal Loss Trend Metal Loss vs Time High sensitivity ER Probe

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Metal loss rate of 0.26 mm/y

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30-50 microns sand injected Flowline 7, 75%trend choke Acoustic sand detector Gel only detected - did not detect the sand injected

Roxar sand trend

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In this test the acoustic detector was only able to detect the gel injected and could not detect the presence of the sand in the gel. In contrast the ER probe responded to the sand injections and measured the damage it did. As seen previously the magnitude of the response did vary considerably. In this test only 34 nm of metal was lost from the probe. The sand injection took place over 70 minutes and this equates to a metal loss rate of ~0.26 mm/y. This is an important result because it can be concluded that the ER probe can measure the damage due to the very fine sand that is known to be produced in these gas fields. DISCUSSION This following discussion and conclusions are based on the entire project and reflect the results of experiments not reported in this paper. Equipment Installation: Advantages & disadvantages Two important lessons from this work are: 1. The choice of sensor location is very important 2. Proper installation of the sensors is critical. These are not new observations but this program has highlighted the importance of getting these issues correct. For probe location the probes should be installed at points of high turbulence or where the flow bombards the flowline wall directly. Points such as elbows and restrictions (eg valves, chokes) are usually the best. In this project, representatives from all the companies that supplied the instruments were present for installation, training and initial data collection. This was obviously done to ensure the best possible installation and to prevent any potential controversy or unfairness. High Sensitivity ER probe The installation of this probe was relatively simple although, being an intrusive one does require the use of a high pressure installation tool operated by trained personnel. In this project the probe had to be installed in an existing access fitting which was on a straight run of pipe. This was not ideal but was compensated for to some extent by the use of an angle headed intrusive probe that acts as a bend, allowing the flow to impinge directly onto it. Flexible UT Mats The installation of these probes was straightforward and they were located at the ideal position, close to bends in the flowline. A problem encountered with these probes on flowline 7 was that after some days the sensor strip became unstuck from the flowline. This cannot be detected visually by inspecting the

strip but is discovered when the sensor fails to record data. The detachment can be proved by applying force to the probe against the flowline and making a measurement. With the force in place data was collected. This problem has been observed in other BP locations worldwide. To overcome this problem, a clamp was designed and installed by Bodycote following which good data was obtained. Thus the use of such a clamp is recommended for this instrument. Acoustic Sand Detector The installation of this probe was simple and straightforward. The probe cannot be installed close to the choke, since noise from the choke generates an unacceptably high background signal (noise). The probe should be installed where sand particles may bombard the flowline wall with the most force such as after an elbow on a downward section of the flowline or after an elbow on a long horizontal section. Ideally, the probe should not be installed after a series of bends in which the distances apart are shorts since this may result in the sand particles losing their energy (velocity). Following the installations the instrument should be calibrated for background noise at different velocities and also detection of sand of known size and quantity. One disadvantage is that the system cannot determine what sand size is produced. However, if a particular platform performs shakeouts then it may be possible to correlate this data with the signal generated. Ultrasonic Sand Detector The installation was relatively simple although one problem was that the transducers needed to be an exact angle and distance apart. The angle and distance needed to be exact within a couple of degrees and millimeters. Sadly, no satisfactory results were obtained with this sensor under the conditions of the experiments. Consequently this probe is not recommended for sand detection. Conventional UT Probe This probe is not intended for permanent installation. It was used in manual mode to confirm that no major wall loss was occurring. High Sensitivity UT Probe The installation of this probe was straightforward. However, following installation the readings became erratic due to the couplant drying out. This issue had been discussed with the manufacturer but it was suggested that this would not be a problem.

Whilst the probe may be more sensitive than a conventional UT probe this could not be proved here. Due to the drying of the couplant gel and the movement of the clamping system due to flowline vibration it is concluded that this probe is not suitable for permanent installation in a tropical oilfield environment.

Instrument Results The primary characteristics of the monitoring instruments considered in this work were the sensitivity, reliability, response time, repeatability and general usefulness for monitoring in field applications.

Sand detectors analysis Ultrasonic Sand Detector From all the data observed, this detector did not detect any sand for the entire project. One observation was that even if the sand detector worked the software for monitoring needs to be simpler to interpret. Thus it is concluded that this instrument is not capable of detecting sand under the conditions in this work. Acoustic Sand Detector This detector detected all of the 80-120 m sized sand injected. For the 30-50 m sized sand not all of injections were detected when the flow velocity and/or the rate of sand injection was low. Whenever sand was detected the response time was very fast and essentially instantaneous. The instruments were reliable and needed no intervention or maintenance. Some disadvantages of the instrument are the loss of sensitivity under low velocity conditions or with viscous fluids (not seen in this work but from other studies) and the noise interference from slug flow or severe choke noise. Metal loss rate monitoring instruments High Sensitivity ER probe For the background metal loss rates the inconnel element showed lower rates than the carbon steel. This was expected since the Inconnel element only erodes and does not corrode. For the experiments with the carbon steel element, flowline 7, as expected showed a higher corrosion rate than flowline 1A. This was due to the significantly high water content of flowline 7. For the corrosion data the results were in good agreement with those from the corrosion coupon data.

When sand was injected, the system proved to be extremely sensitive. An important observation was the detection of metal loss when 30-50 m sized sand was injected at a rate that the sand detectors did not detect. For injections with both sand sizes, it was observed that although the sand was detected the magnitudes of the responses were not always the same for the same conditions. This led to the conclusions that either not all the sand bombarded the sensor or it was an error within the instrument. For the case in which not all the sand bombards the sensor this is very important to note and highlights the importance of installing the probe in the correct location. Ideally, for erosion monitoring the best strategy is to use a flush mounted probe installed at an elbow. When the corrosivity of the environment changed, as when the inhibitor was not injected for some days, the probe detected the increase in corrosion rate. Two potential disadvantages of this probe are: 1. For carbon steel elements, metal loss can be detected but the mechanism cannot (erosion vs corrosion). To discriminate between these an additional probe with a corrosion resistant element to measure erosion only must be used. 2. The element used can be supplied in various thicknesses that offer a balance between sensitivity and lifetime. The elements eventually wear out so these probes need to be replaced at a frequency dependent on the environment and element thickness. It is concluded that this probe is very useful for both detecting sand and, more importantly, indicating how much metal is being lost due to a combination of erosion, corrosion and erosion corrosion. Flexible UT Mats From the results, the background data did not show any wall loss for any of the flowlines. The scatter in the data often suggested that there was some metal loss but careful, long term monitoring, indicated that this was not so. The probe was stable but for the small amount of metal loss generated in the tests the detection limit was not sensitive enough. During the sand injections and non injection of the inhibitor the probe showed no metal loss. It is concluded that these probes cannot be used for short term sand detection or small losses in wall thickness. They are however ideal for the detection of excessive wall loss and would provide a good back up measure for other instruments. They are also well suited to locations that are difficult to access for inspection personnel. High Sensitivity UT Probe The hardware continually gave problems throughout the project and no useful data was recorded. It may be more sensitive than a conventional UT probe although this was not proved here. When used in the same way as a conventional UT probe the readings were accurate and reliable. However, since it cannot be installed permanently there is no advantage to using this instrument over a cheaper, more reliable conventional one.

This UT system is not recommended for use in an oilfield environment. Conventional UT Probe As expected from this conventional UT probe the results were reliable, accurate, stable and repeatable. However, no metal loss was detected for any of the flowlines because the total loss was less than the sensitivity of the instrument. This probe provided an important check that no significant damage was done to the flowlines during these trials. It is not designed for permanent installation. CONCLUSIONS 1. The choice of location of probes for both sand detection and wall loss measurements is critical. Factors such as flow regime and system geometry must be accounted for in deciding where to locate a probe. 2. Installation of all of the probes was relatively straightforward but care is required. In these tests representatives from all of the manufacturers of probes were present to install their systems to avoid concerns relating to inadequate installation. 3. All of the monitoring instruments have their uses in the appropriate environment but not all of them are useful for an oil and gas application. 4. The ultrasonic sand detector did not work under any conditions and is not recommended for further evaluation. 5. The sensitive UT metal loss probe worked well but is not suited for permanent installation and there is no advantage to using it over a cheaper, conventional UT probe. 6. The conventional UT probe worked well to provide the assurance that no significant wall loss occurred during the tests in this work. This probe is not recommended for permanent installation. 7. The flexible UT mat, metal loss sensors worked well after a clamp was fitted to ensure they stayed in contact with the flowline. They were not sensitive enough to detect any metal loss due to the sand injected in these tests and are not recommend for short term metal loss monitoring. They do, however provide, an ideal, on-line method for the detection of significant wall loss. They would make a good back-up for other more sensitive instruments. They are also ideally suited for monitoring locations that are difficult to reach. 8. The acoustic detectors are reliable, sensitive detectors of sand and require little or no maintenance although they must be calibrated carefully. They detected all of the 80120 m sized sand under all of the conditions tested and in many cases did this below the recommended limit of 0.1 lbs/mmscf. For the 30-50 m sized sand, which is commonly produced in these gas fields, the results were not as impressive and at lower velocities the sand was not detected. At medium velocities the sand was detected but

at higher quantities than 0.1 lbs/mmscf. It may be that little or no damage is done below the detection limit of these sensors and so this may not be a problem. However, data from the ER probe suggests that this is not the case (see below). At high velocities the 30-50 m sand was detected at the 0.1 lbs/mmscf limit. This probe is recommended for permanent installation for the monitoring of sand and other solids. 9. The ER probe performed very well and detected almost all of the sand injected in the experiments, including the 30-50 m size at low velocities. There were two issues with this probe: a. Some erroneous results were obtained which indicated an increase in wall thickness. b. The magnitude of the signal was not always constant for the same conditions. This may have been due different flow patterns of the sand. 10. Some erroneous results were obtained and the magnitude of the detection signal is variable. 11. Using a combination of the acoustic sand detector and ER probe it should be possible to increase the production rate of gas in a safe way to avoid erosion problems. 12. At this time it is not possible to provide a generalised flow limit for flowline design and each well and flowline must be considered on an individual basis. Further work will be undertaken to define more carefully the exact limits.

REFERENCES 1. Recommended Practice For Design and Installation of Offshore Production Platform Piping Systems, API Recommended Practice 14E, 5th Edition, October 1991 (revised 2000). 2. J.W. Martin, BP Erosion Guidelines, Revision 2.1, 1999. 3. P. Birchenough, S. Dawson, T. Lockett & McCarthy, Simultaneous Erosion & Corrosion in Multiphase flow, NACE 7th Middle East Conference on corrosion, Bahrain, 1996. 4. B. Mclaury, S. Shirazi, J. Shadley & E. Rybicki, Parameters Affecting Flow Accelerated Erosion & Erosion-Corrosion, NACE Corrosion 1995, Orlando, Florida, USA.