Pipeline Simulation
Industries | Upstream

 KBC works across all elements of the business construct in upstream production to maximise Return on Capital Employed (ROCE) through maximising revenues and minimising costs whilst minimising capital employed and maintaining operator's "licence to operate". We create and sustain value by effectively converting strategy to results through technical excellence under-pinned by engineering simulation and analytics, sustaining performance through winning operating models and best practices that are powered by cloud, manufacturing execution system (MES) and automation technologies.

Low oil prices and high costs have created a major cash flow issue for asset owners and operators in the upstream industry. As market fundamentals deteriorate, typical operating models of upstream oil companies are being challenged. Operators are reacting by making cuts to capital and operating expenses and adjustments to their asset portfolios in order to deliver desired returns. There is a sharp focus on operational excellence and production optimisation.

Strategy and Business Excellence

Competitive advantage is a challenge at present for those producers who aren’t hedged, have full exposure to oil price volatility and who are located in high cost basins. For some producers, constrained cash flows from low crude price realisations are only just covering their cost of production. In these situations, fully leveraging the asset portfolio to deliver value to shareholders is critical if one’s position on the long-range marginal cost curve needs to be improved. Leveraging the asset portfolio requires prudent capital allocation and investment decisions to be made.

Enabled by KBC Energy Economics’ capabilities in petroleum market economics analysis, we deliver data-driven investment decision support to oil companies to help them deliver maximum value to shareholders through:

  • Business and financial analyses / modelling
  • Market insights and studies
  • Price forecasts and crude valuation
  • Investment appraisals and due diligence (technical, commercial and HSE)


For a production asset, converting strategy to results requires the alignment of people, systems, and tools in the business operating model to deliver safe and reliable production while ensuring value to all key stakeholders. Our Operational Excellence model contains the processes, practices, and procedures of how the business should be operated and monitored, and how the staff interact with and influence the business. The model outlines the vision, objectives, and ambitions of the business, defines the operating business model and continuous improvement process, and clarifies the roles, behaviours, codes of conduct, and governance that the staff utilise as part of their involvement in the business.

Production Optimisation

With crude prices expected to remain low for some time, oil companies' ability to generate revenue is primarily a function of field production levels. Our services help our clients Produce the Limit, enabling them to safely optimise the operation of their asset over Life of Field. We do this through integrated production modelling of offshore and onshore networks from wellbore / sandface through to the topside processing facility.

As part of our Life of Field approach, we assess the actual operating performance of fields with their Maximum Achievable Potential (MAP) by modelling production networks to identify and recommend changes to existing operations without capital expenditure.

At a more granular level, we provide Advanced Process Control (APC) to safely push facility operations closer to their process or equipment limits. This offers an opportunity for maximising production. This is particularly valuable in offshore production facilities where topside space constraints on platforms limit the design of separation equipment. Our Multi-Variable Control (MVC) strategies are the key to production optimisation through increased throughput and increased energy efficiency.

Cost Optimisation

One of the levers for Upstream Operators to enhance their ROCE performance, in today's low crude price environment where cash flows are constrained and market volatility is high, is through minimising operating costs and also ensuring capital efficiency associated with capital project development. Our solutions to these challenges are rigorous, accurate and holistic in representing complex assets from reservoir to transfer line, and across the entire Life of Field. We combine technical excellence, deep industry domain knowledge and operating experience to provide solutions in both of these areas:

Operating costs. We minimise operating costs through energy efficiency optimisation and also improvement in asset care and maintenance (including reliability and maintenance).Capital project efficiency. We improve capital efficiency associated with field development projects through our field development RightSise solution. This allows operators and engineering companies to "get it right the first time" across a range of new and existing assets, with regards to the design of field development plans.

People and Organisation

Any successful operating model which converts strategy into results for a production asset requires alignment of people, systems, and tools to deliver safe and reliable production while delivering value to all key stakeholders. People require clear definition of decision rights and governance. Results can only be achieved by effective human capital management – having the right people, in the right place, at the right time, with the right skills applied in the right way, with the right management system infrastructure around them. This is no easy task with the crew change occurring in the industry, tightening HSE legislation and growing oil demand requiring new production.

At the shop floor level, our training solutions leverage experience from working with hundreds of production facilities around the world to develop comprehensive training models that drive performance excellence for the shift team positions. These models are comprised of a combination of standard principle-level training and custom-developed, site-specific training.

Cloud Enabled Performance Management

Cloud computing and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) have created the opportunity to remotely access data from clients' operations and their supply chains, enabling delivery of new ways to sustain performance at lower cost. Facility process data when combined with unstructured data such as operators' written logs, creates "Big Data". We apply real-time analytics such as statistical and rigorous models to interpret this data and produce actionable information.

Our methodologies for sustaining performance are progressive. We provide innovative and effective performance management solutions under our Sustainability and Continuous Improvement Program (SCIP) in each of the three areas influencing sustained operational excellence: People, Processes and Facilities.

Applied Technology

Upstream production is highly complex and very risky. There are a number of engineering variables and trade-offs which need to be taken into consideration, such as reservoir behaviour and field decline, fluid composition, crude characteristics, thermodynamics and facilities design. In addition to these engineering considerations, human factors play a big part in ensuring safe and efficient production.

 

TECHNOLOGY

We provide world class tools for production system design and optimization with our own Multiflash™, Maximus™ and Petro-SIM™ technologies.

KBC is the only technology provider to supply all three key production network design tools under one company, to provide true Integrated Production Modelling.

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Multiflash

MultiFlash is the market leading PVT tool for Production Chemists. It’s the ideal tool for analysing different crudes and their effect on your process systems; modeling hydrates and wax deposition.

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Maximus

Maximus is the most powerful thermal hydraulic flow assurance and production network modeling and optimization tool available. Flow Assurance and Production Engineers will appreciate its unique ability to handle mass, energy and momentum, including multiphase systems with flow loops and reverse flow regimes. It features a customizable open equation solver and integrates MultiFlash for fluid composition. It easily interfaces with the leading reservoir engineering tools.

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Energy Suite

Our Energy Suite uses the industry established ProSteam platform to simulate and optimise utitlity systems and power plants. Energy-SIM can be applied to the most simple or the most complex site utility configurations across a wide range of industries. Energy-SIM offers ease of use, robust, real-time, on-line energy cost optimisation, on-line performance monitoring and advanced scenario and forecasting capabilities.

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Petro-SIM

Petro-SIM is the most comprehensive process modeling and simulation tool, ideal for topsides, separation and processing facilities engineering design, evaluation and optimization. Process engineers can leverage its unique features including Cumulatives, Workflows and Fluids, and like Maximus, Petro-SIM integrates MultiFlash.

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Wax Deposition Modelling | FloWax

FloWax is a powerful multiphase pipeline simulator with wax deposition modelling capabilities for flow assurance and production applications.

Through the unique blend of Multiflash’ advanced wax thermodynamics and a robust implementation of multiphase flows model in pipeline, FloWax allows Flow Assurance and Production engineers to predict the evolution profiles of:

  • the thickness and the physical properties of wax sediments along the pipeline
  • pressure and temperature of the bulk fluid
  • the physical properties (density, speed, molecular weight, viscosity, holdup ) of the gas, hydrocarbon liquid and aqueous phase

Based on the predicted wax thickness profiles and the criteria required for wax management in production pipelines, the pigging frequency can easily be evaluated.

The built-in pipeline design tool allows including in the model, the pipelines’ geometry, building material, presence of thermal insulation as well the environment in which the pipeline is set. Temperature and Pressure profile from third parties simulators such as Olga can also be imported and matched.

FloWax embeds Multiflash thermodynamic modelling and petroleum fluid characterisation capabilities, however, model files generated with Multiflash standalone can also be used to model the fluid and solve flash calculations.

The multiphase flow model takes into account for different flow regimes as well as the heat transfer between the pipeline and the environment and models the deposition of wax along the pipeline walls, based on mass transfer method.  The shear removal model developed with large flow-loop experimental data can also be included for highly turbulent regimes.

In FloWax the effect of entrained solid waxes on oil rheology is also taken into account to provide reliable predictions on oil viscosity. The model can handle the coexistence of wax sediment, hydrocarbon liquid, aqueous phase and gas. However, the number of phases actually present along the pipeline is determined by the full solution of the phase equilibrium calculation with the built-in Multiflash engine.

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Petro-SIM Upstream Banner-01
Petro-SIM | Upstream and Midstream

Maximise production and economic potential

Petro-SIM is the only purpose-built oil and gas facilities simulator that combines the rich DNA of process simulation with integration to best-in-class KBC and third party software to create leading edge technology that is relevant to the upstream and midstream hydrocarbon industry. Petro-SIM provides the unique capability to model life of facility scenarios from the reservoir through to your processing facilities. Using our innovative technologies significantly improves management of the complex challenges faced by this industry sector and adds clearly identifiable value to your organisation’s bottom line.

Apply best-in-class technology to industry problems

Petro-SIM integration with Multiflash offers a leading compositional PVT simulator with advanced thermodynamics packages able to handle multiple fluid phases as well as rigorously predict and handle solid phases such as ice and hydrates within the process flowsheet. Adding Maximus’ thermal hydraulic network simulator provides Life-of-Field integrated production system models from reservoir through to the production facilities. A consistent thermodynamic basis allows all groups working on the project to collaborate effectively and efficiently. This can only be achieved using KBC’s Maximus and Petro-SIM technology along with the Multiflash common thermodynamic basis.

Petro-SIM’s open platform architecture supports the integration of KBC’s and leading third-party technologies relevant to the upstream and midstream hydrocarbon industry segment.

 

 
 
Upstream Applications:
  • Flow Assurance and Production Engineering
  • Process Design Applications 'Life of Field' Alternative Facilities Studies
  • Process Engineering Applications Hydrate Prediction and Mitigation
 
Midstream Applications:
  • Process Engineering
  • Long-term Strategic Planning for Capital Expenditure Projects
  • Process Design Applications for Mercury Modelling in Gas Cryogenic Facilities

 

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