Heating options for underwater heavy oil pipelines

Published on:

2023-01-31 14:34

Decrease in the temperature of crude oil when transported via subsea pipeline often results in increased viscosity, hydration, and paraffin deposition. This will directly affect the efficient transportation of offshore oil and gas and even lead to the blocking of pipelines. In severe cases, this will lead to the abandonment of underwater pipelines. This phenomenon is more evident in the development of heavy oil in the sea. In order to meet the temperature requirements of crude oil in subsea pipelines during production operations and downtime, it is generally necessary to take appropriate temperature maintenance measures for subsea pipelines.

Due to heat loss in the transportation of subsea pipelines, it is difficult to achieve the ideal temperature maintenance effect through simple passive insulation. Active heating is designed to compensate for the heat loss of the subsea pipeline through external heat so that a certain subsea pipeline temperature can be maintained. In real design, passive insulation technology is usually combined with active heating technology to achieve the best temperature maintenance effect.

Underwater pipeline heating technology is divided into thermal liquid heating and electric heating according to different heating sources. Electric heating is divided into direct electric heating and indirect electric heating. An offshore oil field in the Bohaya Sea region finally chose electric heating technology after a comprehensive comparison.

Direct electric heating has low electrical efficiency, requires special anti-corrosion design, requires regular inspection and maintenance. Currently, most direct electric heating pipes are designed for short-term use, less often for long-term use.

The heating efficiency of the heating medium is low, and the corrosion problem caused by the heating medium entering the heater pipe must be taken into account. However, with sufficient residual heat on the platform, heating with thermal liquid has certain advantages.

The temperature gradient of electric heating is small, the thermal stability time is long, the required electric power is small, and it is suitable for long-term use. Electric heating has a wide range of applications, high thermal efficiency, energy saving, no environmental pollution and long service life. The advantages of remote control and automatic control are the development direction of electric heating technology.

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