Field M Deepwater TLP Initial Start-Up and Operation: Flow Assurance Challenges and Learnings towards Achieving First-Oil

Chow, M. H. (Sarawak Shell Berhad) | Loke, Y. K. (Sabah Shell Petroleum Company Ltd) | Bandan, P. (Sarawak Shell Berhad) | Zou, X. (Sabah Shell Petroleum Company Ltd)



The Field M phase 1 development consists of 9 production wells and 2 water injectors in offshore Sabah. Field M is the first Tension Leg Platform (TLP) in Malaysia with several unique flow assurance features that were challenging for the project, namely hydrates, waxy crude with high pour point and cloud point temperatures, bypass pigging for wax as base-case strategy as well as an industry first Single Combo Top Tension Riser (SCTTR) with both gas lift and production strings in a nitrogen filled riser annulus. This paper describes the experience of bringing the Field M field into operation including hydrate inhibition, well unloading, dewatering, well ramp-up and ongoing steady state operation from a flow assurance perspective. The initial well unloading process and ongoing steady state operation of the wells and flowlines are described, and comparisons are made between expected responses based on steady state and transient simulations during the design phase, and actual field data. The key challenges faced and technical findings are also documented. Lessons learned during the first year of operation are a combination of work-arounds, differences in fluid properties from those initially assumed, benchmarking of field data with predicted simulation results, and general operational experiences related to flow assurance.