Design of regulated velocity flow assurance device for petroleum industry



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Texas A&M University


The petroleum industry faces problems in transportation of crude petroleum be- cause of the deposition of paraffins, hydrates and asphaltenes on the insides of the pipeline. These are conventionally removed using either chemical inhibitors or mechani- cal devices, called pigs, which travel through the pipeline and mechanically scrape away the deposits. These pigs are propelled by the pipeline product itself and hence travel at the same velocity as the product. Research has indicated that cleaning would be better if the pigs are traveling at a relatively constant velocity of around 70% of the product velocity. This research utilizes the concept of regulating the bypass flow velocity in order to maintain the pig velocity. The bypass flow is regulated by the control unit based on the feedback from the turbine flowmeter, which monitors the bypass flow. A motorized butterfly valve is used for actually controlling the bypass flow. In addition to cleaning, the proposed pig utilizes on-board electronics like accelerom- eter and pressure transducers to store the data gathered during the pig run. This data can then be analyzed and the condition of the pipeline predicted. Thus, this research addresses the problem of designing a pig to maintain a constant velocity in order to achieve better cleaning. It also helps gather elementary data that can be used to predict the internal conditions in the pipe.