The flow assurance aspects of all subsea projects have a major contribution tothe pipe design, field layout, choice of lifting equipment (subsea-pump or airlift), power requirement and system operability. The context of deepwatermining pushes the design theories beyond the existing application cases due tothe significantly larger particle size combined with small diameter riser andjumper including wave shape to accommodate vessel motions and excursionrequirements. In order to correctly assess pressure drop and erosion rate closeto real flow conditions, TECHNIP and GIW have built a large scale experimentalbench operated at the same flow condition as forecasted for the deepseaproject. This large scale test is using an innovative method to allow thereproduction of realistic erosion rate in the pipe by preventing the solidparticle to be eroded when looping through the pump.
The current paper summarizes the findings and results from this large scaleexperimental set-up, testing concentration from 10% to 45%, velocities from2.5m/s to 5.5m/s in an 8" flexible pipe with equivalent rocks particles.
As described in (Espinasse, 2010), Technip is supporting an internal R&Dprogram that should allow the understanding of critical parameters essential tothe design and operability of a subsea mining system. Within this R&Dprogram, an extensive study of the abrasion and erosion mechanism inside theflowline is needed to:
• Understand the inner pipe wear mechanism function of flow conditions
• Define the proper flowline pipe material providing the best compromisebetween wear resistance and pipe cost.
• Define a procedure to evaluate the lifetime duration of the flowline pipeduring operations to schedule inspection and maintenance.
To capture and understand the abrasion during subsea mining operations, Techniphas setted-up a full scale test with the help of GIW. In addition of tacklingflowline wear issues, this test is used to validate at large scale thehydraulic modeling exposed in (Parenteau, 2010) and (Parenteau, 2011).
STATE OF THE ART
The particularity of subsea mining is to transport large and dense particle inrather small diameter pipe compared to what the industry of slurry transport isused to. Subsea Mining Partcicle size disctribution can range from 1 mm to60mm. Crushing experience conducted in (B. Waquet, 2011) indicated that atleast 50% will exceed 25mm and more than 25% of the solid will exceed 50mm[Figure 1]. The particle densities range from 2500 kg/m3 up to 4000 kg/m3. Pipediameter will range between 8" to 10", and evolving into wavy shapes.
Orazzini, Simone (ENEL Italy) | Kasirin, Regillio Sarijo (Smith Bits) | Ferrari, Giampaolo (Smith Bits, A Schlumberger Company) | Bertini, Alessandro (Smith Bits, A Schlumberger Company) | Bizzocchi, Isabella (Schlumberger Italiana SPA) | Ford, Robert J. (Schlumberger) | Li, Qingxiu (Smith Bits, A Schlumberger Company) | Zhang, Ming (Smith)
Geothermal energy has been use for centuries to satisfy general heating requirements. The modern geothermal plant is powered by production wells drilled to a source rock to produce steam at the surface. Depending on the location and depth, source formation temperatures vary.
In Italy, the operator must penetrate very hard and abrasive sediment and metamorphic formations to access steam in the granite basement formation. Historically, this was accomplished with a tungsten carbide insert (TCI) roller cone bit (RC). Standard geothermal bits and components, including grease and elastomer seals, are adequate for temperatures up to 150°C (302°F). Beyond these temperatures, the bit's internal components and lubricating material can degrade causing bearing failure limiting on-bottom drilling hours. In the application, the bottom hole temperature is approximately 180°C (350°F) and in some instances it can exceed 280°C (536°F). The extreme heat reduces on-bottom drilling hours leading to multiple bit runs/trips that drive up development costs. The operator required new roller cone technology that would endure the downhole environment.
To solve this challenge, a series of tests were conducted with temperature resistant elastomers and grease compounds in a controlled laboratory environment. The experiments resulted in a new line of roller cone bits equipped with an innovative bearing system that includes new proprietary composite elastomer seals with Kevlar® fabric and a proprietary high temperature grease formula. These innovations increased seal life, lubricity and load capacity at elevated temperatures for HT/HP applications.
The new geothermal bit technology has been run in the Italian application with outstanding results. Compared to standard roller cone products, the high-temperature bits have greatly increased on-bottom drilling hours while reducing total bit consumption and costly tripping for bit change out. Since successful development of the geothermal project is tied to reducing drilling costs, the new bit technology has significantly improved project economics. The authors will discuss development of the high temperature seal and grease compounds for drilling the granite basement source rock. They will also outline changes to the TCI cutting structure, field application, dull grades and bit performance data.
The Larderello area of central Italy (Figure 1) is geologically active and known for its geothermal productivity.1 The first evidence of organized use of the geothermal resource dates back to the 3rd century BC when the Romans used its hot sulfur springs for bathing. In 1817 a group of entrepreneurs led by Francois de Larderel used steam heated cauldrons to extract boric acid (H3BO3) from volcanic mud. The Grand Duke of Tuscany (Leopold II) was a supporter of Larderel's technique and in 1827 built a town for the factory workers named Larderello in honor of Larderel's contribution to the area.2
In 1904 an experiment using steam emerging from surface vents was used to run a rudimentary generator that produced enough electricity to power five light bulbs. It was the first ever practical demonstration of geothermal power. In 1913 the region's first geothermal power plant went into operation and by 1944 five geothermal generating stations were up and running with a combined capacity of 127 MWe.