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TPG 4515
Department for Petroleum Engineering and Applied
6th MAY 2013

Adela Musa Syikilili

Heat transfer in subsea pipelines
Consequences of heat transfer in subsea
Methods to overcome the problems associated
by heat loss in subsea pipelines

Subsea pipelines

Gudmundsson 2012 Lecture

Cooling in pipelines
Steady state flow: The fluid
temperature along the pipeline will
be constant at any location

Transient cooling on shut-in: Upon

cooling on shut-in, Cooling changes
with time

Cooling due to wall heat transfer

Wall heat transfer is by conduction and can be
presented by fouriers equations.

Overall heat transfer coefficient

Comparing the Newtonians law of cooling and overall heat
transfer equation

The overall heat transfer equation

The universal heat transfer coefficient of un-insulated steel

pipeline is between 15-25 w/m2K while for insulated steel
pipeline is between 2-4 w/m2K.

Boundary Layer Temperature Profile

A boundary layer is the layer of fluid in the immediate vicinity
of a bounding surface where the effects of viscosity are

The law of the wall 'the average velocity of a turbulent flow

at a certain point is proportional to the logarithm of the
distance from that point to the "wall", or the boundary of the
fluid region.'

Boundary Layer Temperature Profile

Viscous sub-layer 0<y+<5

Buffer layer 5<y+<30

Inertial sub-layer y+>30

The temperature profile for the typical subsea

pipeline cooled from outside



T [C]















y [mm]

d=0.3048 [m], k=0.1 [W/m.K], = 750 [kg/m3], u= 2 [m/s], = 0.5 [mPa.s], Cp =

2300 [J/kg.K], Pr= 11.5 [-], f= 0.015 [-], Q/A = 900 [W/m2] Tw = 20 [C]
Gudmundsson (2012)

Consequences of heat transfer

Natural gas hydrate
The hydrate crystals have complex,
three dimensional structures in
which the water molecules form a
cage and the guest molecules are
entrapped in the cages

Akpabio M.G

Consequences of heat transfer

Paraffin Wax
Paraffin wax consists of high
molecular weight n-paraffin
Normally C20-C40 components of
Wax just like hydrates, precipitates
and deposits on subsea pipelines
(Time 2011)

Wax in crude and condensate starts

to precipitate as a solid phase
typically around 30 to 40 C.

(Infochem 2012)

How to overcome the problems associated

by heat loss in subsea pipe lines

(Labes-Carrier 2007)

Direct heating
An AC is passed on pipeline wall to generate heat. The pipe is
an active conductor in a single-phase electric circuit, together
with a single core power cable as the forward conductor,
located in parallel with and close ("piggy-back") to the heated
The longest single pipeline length operated with DEH today is
42 km (Tyrihans in the North Sea).

DEH on seabed (Kulbotten 2008; Clase and Ystad 2009)

Working principle of the Direct Electrical Heating

Power supply
Connection power supply to pipe,

Working principle schematic of the DEHS (Lervik J.K et al. 1998)

Direct heating
Important requirements for DEH are power supply,
pipe insulation, anode system, and pigg-back
Sacrificial Anords connects the heating system to
the surrounding sea water (that is, earthed) for
safety and reliability purposes. The sea water acts
as an electric conductor in parallel to the pipe
creating a transfer zone.

Electric current distribution

(Kulbotten 2008)

DEH system efficiency

Efficiency has a maximum value in a piggy-back installation

(Lervik J.K et al. 1998)


The Pigg-back cable operational voltage, limits the
heated length to approximately 50 km depending on
heating requirements.
The pipelines may need to be split up in defined
There are several alternative designs for sectioning
DEH. This can be carried out by end fed and midpoint
fed systems.

End fed system.

Midpoint fed system.

Lervik J.K et al (2013)

Advantages of DEH System

Independent on field conditions.
If hydrates if formed in a longer shutdown period pipe,
may be unplugged by heating through DEHS.
Cost efficient in todays market
Environmental friendly and production stream
contamination is eliminated as opposed to the use of
Concept design, planning and implementation is very
Optimization of the riser thermal insulation system, as
opposed to an extensive insulation coating system,
such as pipe-in-pipe or bundles

Disadvantage of DEH System

Cable failure may cause damage to the
pipeline as it creates a short circuit for current
For long pipeline, high power consumption is
required. This would add cost to system as it
will be applied to the pipeline in section of 50
km and this may not be economically feasible

Thermal Insulation materials

Widely used materials in Petroleum industry

Guo.B et al.(2006)

Different forms of insulation materials

3 layers polyethylene (0.225 W/m 0C)
4 layer polyethylene (0.173 W/m 0C)
Polymer syntactic polyurethane (0.121 W/m
Gas syntactic polyurethane (0.156 W/m 0C)
Solid polypropylene has conductivity higher
than foam polypropylene

Types of pipeline insulations

Dry insulation (PIP) : Require an outer barrier
to prevent water ingress.
Wet pipeline insulation: No external barrier to
prevent water ingress

Guo.B et al. (2006)

Flowline bundles
Effectively engineered flowline bundles are attractive
configurations for deepwater field development,
because of their thermal performance and cost
Well streams from Gullfaks South will be transported
through flowline bundles that can be warmed with hot
water to avoid hydrate formation and wax deposition
in the event of a shutdown. About 3MW of waste heat
is available from the gas turbines on Gullfaks A for this
(retrieved 03/12/2013)

Illustration of Flowline bundles

Cold Flow Principal

Cold flow technology is based on allowing hydrate
particles to form in the produced stream, but
preventing their agglomeration and pipeline

Cold flow Technology (re-drawn by Akpabio (2013) after Gudmundssons Concept


Cold Flow concept

Advantages of cold flow concept
CFT also has potentials for longer distance transfer (greater
than 200 km) from the wellhead to the processing facilities.
Economically effective
Environmental friendly due to lack of chemical injection and
harmful discharge
Three cold flow concept
HYDRAFLOW- Centre for Gas Hydrate Research, Heriot-Watt
University, Edinburgh.
SINTEF-BP concept (2005)
NTNU concept - By Prof. Gudmundson

Some Cold Flow Components

(Hoffman 2012)

Cold flow has not been applied on any field yet but in process
of developing for qualification.

DEH are matured but have a lot of room for improvement

Electrically heated pipe in pipe first field option is Totals Islay

Kondapi P (2013)

Cost Estimate Comparison of the different technologies

Akpabio M.G (2013)

Tanzanian Field
Hydrate formation temperature around 20 0C
Pipeline distance to shore about 100 km for (Zafarani and
Lavani Statoil discovered reservoirs )
Water depth 2600-2500m
Reservoir fluid- Natural gas
Average sea temperature 10-15 0C, reservoir fluid 80-75 0C
Most expected problem due to pipeline cooling is hydrate

Heat loss in subsea pipelines can cause
formation of gas hydrates & wax and changes
production flow properties.
There are several method to fight back the
effects of heat transfer. Thermal methods
includes DEHS, Insulation and cold flow
Several methods can be used in a single field
to ensure high efficiency operation.
Evaluations of different methods according to
Tanzania field requirement should be done


Akpabio M.G." Cold flow in long distance subsea pipelines, Master thesis 2013, NTNU Trondheim".
Gudmundsson, J.S. 2012 Flow Assurance Solids in Oil and Gas Production. Appendix A, B and C Water vapour
in Natural Gas. Norwegian University of Science and Technology.
Gudmundsson Jon S, 2013, ''Natural Gas Pipelines and Well'', lecture, NTNU, Trondheim
Gudmundsson, J.S, 2002, '' Cold Flow Hydrate Technology'', 4th International Conference on Gas hydrates,
Guo B. Duan S, Ghalambor A. A simple model in predicling heat loss and temperature profiles in insulated
pipelines University of Louisiana, Lafayetee SPE production and operation February 2006.
Hoffmann, R. (2012): Longer and Colder: Wax Control for Long Step-Out Distances. Statoil Presentation at SPE
FA Workshop, 2012.04, pp 4-10.
Kondapi, P "Today's top 30 flow assurance technologies .Where do they stand".Offshore technology conference,
Huston Texas, USA 6-9 may 2013
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TEKNA, 21 22 October, 2008, pp 8-21.
Kulbotten, H. and Lervik, J.K. (2007): Direct Electrical Heating System for Preventing Wax and Hydrates in
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April 26. STATOIL ASA, pp 5.
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ational offshore and polar engineerimg Ancholage, Alaska, USA June 30- July 5 2013.
Lervik J.K, Martin A, Henry R, Terje L, Peter H ."Direct electrical heating as a method of preventing hydrate and
wax plug". Proceeding of 8th international offshore and polar engineering conference, Monstrial may 24-29 19
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Petroleum Engineering. Seminar Presented at Aker Solutions, Stavanger.