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Oil & Gas Downstream Processing

ANSYS softwareANSYS CFD and FEA simulation software is currently being used extensively for the design and engineering of Oil & Gas equipment. A number of SimuTech clients are now using ANSYS FEA and CFD software for Oil & Gas downstream processing projects. Scroll down to see some of the many challenges and benefits related to consulting projects directly completed by SimuTech experts that have been associated with downstream processing for Oil & Gas.

Also, in addition to simulation software and consulting services, SimuTech is a leader in vibration diagnostics to the Oil & Gas industry as well.

CFD consulting
Combustion/Reaction Modeling

Oil & gas downstream processing simulations

Design ElementChallengesSimulation Benefits
  • Mixing is a basic unit operation in chemical and hydrocarbon processing, yet it is very complex and there are many parameters affecting “good mixing”
  • Selection of the right vessel geometry, type and related internals (shafts, baffles, coils, etc.)
  • Operating condition, selection of feed location, impeller speed, scale up
  • Blending, reacting and suspending of multi-component and multi-phase material
  • Optimizing yield, reduce power input and process time
  • Detailed results offer better understanding of mixing in single and multiphase flows (including heat and mass transfer)
  • Perform blending, mixing and residence time calculations
  • Optimize vessel geometry and select the right internals, sparger, dip tube and feed location, impeller speed
  • Calculate forces on impellers
  • Perform steady state or dynamic stress and thermal analysis
Particulate Flows
  • Create more final products through particulate formation
  • Control particle size and thus final product quality
  • Design of catalytic particulate (controlling particle attrition)
  • Design of efficient particle separation, classification and collection equipment
  • Fines capture and removal
  • Particle entrainment (environmental concerns)
  • Fluidization and fluidized bed reactors
  • Gasification of biomass and coal particles
  • Gas-solid hydrodynamics that provide insight into particle residence time, particle concentration, erosion, and separation
  • Heat and mass transfer studies involving homogenous and heterogeneous reactions
  • Effect of internals, including short-circuiting, flow distribution
  • Design and optimization of separators, filters, and other solid handling devices
  • Novel reactor design and scale up studies
Sloshing Separator Tank Design
  • Increased requirements in overboard water discharge
  • Continued interest in designing smaller and more efficient separator (size and weight concerns)
  • Increase range of operability
  • Account for wave induced motion of FPSO and offshore platforms
  • Estimate the hydrodynamic forces caused by sloshing in 6 degrees of freedom
  • Evaluate damping and performance of internals such as baffles and coalescers
  • Optimize the shape and location of inlets and outlets, and performance of any upstream gas separators
  • Design for fatigue and structural stresses on vessel (pressure vessel codes), the supports and the internals
Liquid-Liquid Separator Tank Design
  • Increased need for highly polished discharged products
  • Design for performance, weight, operating cost, reliability across a range throughput
  • Complex flows including coalescence and breakup multi-phases
  • Structural integrity and reliability
  • Account of multiphase flow and its behavior in different parts of the separator
  • Include effect of particle size distribution, coalescence and breakup using population balance  
  • Optimize design and placement of internals including baffles, pores and packed sections, and size and location of inlets and outlets
  • Provide insight for design of separator sections including sizing, pressure drop analysis and overall performance
  • Design separators to operate at wider cut ranges
  • De-oiling water and dewatering oil at much higher rates
  • Performance highly sensitive to:
    • Geometrical shape and vortex core stability
    • Concentrations and droplet size
  • Design inlet configuration and geometry for high angular velocity
  • Evaluate separation efficiency for different oil to water and water to oil mixtures
  • Optimize placement of vortex finder
  • Develop multi-stage or collection of separators
  • Increased sand and particulate in many production lines
  • Separator design for possible downhole application
  • Continuous need for improvement in collection efficiency and increase throughput
  • Wide range of applicability and the associated need to design separators to operate for a broad range of particle sizes
  • Scale up and/or connecting in a series
  • Optimize inlet design to reduce erosion, increase efficiency and find the range of device’s usability
  • Geometry and design optimization for various particle loading in 2-phase and 3-phase applications
  • Relevant to many applications and any separator shapes, accounting for:
    • particles mass, diameter and loading
    • flow characteristics and pressure drop
    • welding, structural stress fabrication and erosion
    • performance in stages or in an assembly
Valves, Chocks, Regulators
  • Design products that work reliably in harsh environments and for complex applications
  • Concerns about erosion, cavitation, throughput, leakage, pressure drop, dynamic response, flow uniformity
  • Thermal and structural stresses
  • Controls, electronic devices and sensors sometimes used with these devices
  • Manufacturing processes and cost
  • Applicable to design, analysis,  production and operation of these types of devices
  • Ability to engineer the entire system using full range of multiphysics capabilities
  • Understand structural and thermal stresses to increase reliability and safety
  • Predict erosion spots and design to reduce its impact
  • Design to minimize cavitation
  • Improve pressure drop and the range of the equipment operability
  • Accelerate design by performing parametric and design optimization
Heat Exchangers
  • Heat exchanger efficiency
  • Avoid fouling, maldistribution
  • Sizing and type selection
  • Thermal and structural design
  • Fabrication and manufacturing practices
  • Design to code using ASME pressure vessel tools and analysis
  • Retrofit exciting devices for process improvement and efficiency
  • Look at flow and heat transfer to design around dead or hot spots
  • Design tubes, baffles and heat exchangers geometry to meet overall process objectives
Induced Gas Flotation (IGF) System
  • Major design challenge because of high level of separation in a single cell vertical column induced gas floatation (IGF) system
  • Tightened regulations and heightened concerns about produced water has resulted in requirements to purify water to less than 20 parts per million of total oil content
  • Develop and inject fine gas bubbles (100 to 500 microns) into the vessel with contaminated water
  • Save weight and space on offshore platforms
  • Generally time consuming and expensive to perform conventional physical testing
  • Simulate existing standard eductors used in gas flotation devices to understand why they do not work for this purpose
  • Help design experiments to validate the concerns
  • Design new gas distributor and perform detailed studies to observe their effectiveness
  • Account of multiphase flow and its behavior in different parts of the IGF
  • Reduce prototyping and product development by better understanding problem areas
  • Sample client case: New injector and baffling system created well-distributed gas bubbles and eliminated undesired recirculation zones
Combustion Systems: Flares
  • Control flame shape and flare performance for different fuel and wind velocity
  • Avoid back mixing and flame blow out
  • Design flare support system and placement
  • Reduce maintenance cost
  • Optimize flare design, shape and burner internals
  • Compare performance of different arrangements and best placement
  • Perform radiation and heat transfer studies from the flame
  • Learn about thermal and structural stresses
  • Burner performance
  • Back mixing and burner design
  • Pollution and NOx reduction
  • Fatigue and creep from thermal stresses
  • Flame shape, instability and interaction
  • Burner design and performance for various fuels
  • Help in developing low and ultra-low NOx burners
  • Predict temperature and NOx, with varying fuel, load and swirl
  • Predict thermal loads and stresses for different designs
  • Burner spacing, orientation and resulting thermal performance of the system
Erosion in a Pipe-Reduction
  • Piping changes are necessary
  • Erosion in elbow and/or reduction areas can lead to material depletion and leaks
  • An estimate of life for given piping and evaluation of extense of wear are required
  • Erosion can accelerate after pitting occurs
  • Erosion impact can be calculated as a function of:
    • Angle of impingement
    • Impact velocity
    • Particle diameter
    • Particle mass
    • Collision frequency between particles and solid walls
    • Material type (FEA) modelling can find erosion rates for field conditions for equipment lifetime
  • Eroded material is removed leading to better material thickness predictions
  • Higher flow rates, increased solid concentration in eroding equipment
  • Substantial costly maintenance and shutdown costs
  • Quite common in many aspects of oil and gas processing
  • Can find erosion rates for field conditions for equipment lifetime
  • Optimization of production, operation, inspection and maintenance
  • Maximum erosion in complex flows and geometries can be predicted to within a factor of 2-3
Erosion in Filters/Screens
  • Many operations include sand particles
  • Screens and other filtration devices routinely are subjected to erosion
  • Use filters to separate particles of different size
  • Design characteristics of the screen and filters
  • Observe buildup of larger particles and effectiveness of the screen design
  • Gain better understanding of particle buildup and particle accumulation
  • Predict erosion and schedule appropriate operation and maintenance