Aker Solutions and operators join forces to qualify subsea gas separation

subsea illustration jip 1920x1080Aker Solutions and a group of oil and gas operators have come together in a joint industry project to make subsea gas separation a reality

Using CO2 injection to increase recovery rates in offshore oil and gas fields can improve the economics of a field significantly, but so far, the separation of ‘back-produced’ CO2 from the well-stream has been considered carried out on an existing platform, adding cost and making the concept economically unattractive.

Aker Solutions together with energy companies Total, Pertamina, Equinor and industry group the CO2 Capture Project (CCP), have initiated a Joint Industry Project (JIP) to identify required membrane qualities for a subsea gas and CO2 separation process, to minimise pre-treatment needs and avoid large processing modules.

Flooding an oil field with CO2 increases recovery rates, and extends the life of an offshore field. Aker Solutions has developed new concepts for subsea processing of well streams from CO2-flooded oil fields, in which CO2-rich gas is separated, compressed and re-injected back into the reservoir. The hydrocarbon-enriched gas can then be routed to the topside production facility.

Subsea gas separation has the potential to make CO2-rich gas fields commercially viable.

A prerequisite for the concept to be technically and economically attractive is that the gas separation is done with robust membranes that reduce pre-treatment requirements and remove the need for large processing plants.

Also, the qualified operating range for relevant membrane materials does not match the optimal operating conditions for gas separation on the seabed. Hence, testing must be done to obtain knowledge about membrane performance under these conditions.

The project will perform tests of different membrane qualities under relevant conditions related to pressure, temperature, gas composition and rates. The tests will be carried out by the SINTEF research institute in Norway. The project also includes technical and economic engineering studies to assess the technology concept based on the test results.

Aker Solutions delivered the first subsea gas compression system to Equinor for the Åsgard field offshore Norway. The system has been in operation with no unplanned downtime since it was installed in 2015. The subsea gas separation technology in combination with the subsea gas compression technology could make offshore handling of CO2 for EOR technically and economically attractive.

Alain Charles Publishing, University House, 11-13 Lower Grosvenor Place, London, SW1W 0EX, UK
T: +44 20 7834 7676, F: +44 20 7973 0076, W: www.alaincharles.com

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