Innovative Methodology by ATS for Erosion Analysis


Challenges in the Oil and Gas Industry


duct erosion analysis
Erosion Analysis Simulation


The oil and gas industry is vital to the global economy, being one of the main sources of energy for households, businesses, and industries around the world. However, this constant demand for oil and gas comes with numerous challenges, one of which is pipeline, ducts, and valve erosion, which can compromise the safety and efficiency of operations.


To deal with these challenges, ATS, a company with over 15 years of experience providing “End-to-End Solutions,” has developed several projects for major companies in the oil and gas sector.


One of the most notable projects carried out by ATS for the oil and gas industry was the erosion analysis off pipelines for Constellation and Halliburton, which consisted of predicting the annual erosion rate in a pipeline subject to high shear stresses, especially at junctions called cross-blocks, taking into account all materials used and the complex geometry of the pipeline.


This project presents an additional challenge associated with the fact that the fluid studied, oil with particles, is a non-Newtonian fluid, presenting a more complex behavior that differs from Newtonian fluids, such as water, making it necessary to use a flow solution tool such as CFD++, from Metacomp Technologies, to analyze erosion and critical points of wall reduction in three dimensions.


Pipeline Erosion Study Project


duct flow
Flow Simulation in a Cross-blocks Pipeline


Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) was used to simulate fluid flow and determine pipeline erosion rates, developing a calculation methodology based on specialized literature, validated with experimental data.


The CFD++ software was used to simulate fluid flow and determine erosion rate, taking into account the impact angle and velocity, and the material of the particle and the pipeline. The erosion rate calculation was made with post-processing in Tecplot 360 EX, a scientific visualization software that allows the analysis of large data sets. The use of automation macros in Tecplot 360 allowed the automation of the erosion rate post-processing process.


Structural analysis according to ASME VIII
Structural analysis with NX Nastran Software


Next, with the erosion rate calculated, ATS carried out a coupled Fluid-Structure Analysis (FSI) applying the ASME Vessel Code to eroded dimensions to observe if pipes and joints are capable of supporting high pressures after years of erosion. The analysis was carried out with the help of CFD++ and FEMAP-Nastran software, an integrated solution for finite element analysis (FEA) that allows the modeling of complex mechanical systems.


The coupled Fluid-Structure Analysis (FSI) allowed demonstrating that conventional analyses that take into account average velocity for erosion calculation can be ultraconservative and often do not provide identification of how to improve geometry or the most suitable material. ATS’s calculation followed the variation of the erosion rate during the component’s life, considering 5, 10, and 20 years of operation.


erosion cfd simulation
CFD simulation of erosion


This methodology was approved by CENPES (Leopoldo Américo Miguez de Mello Research, Development, and Innovation Center), Petrobras’ research center, and used by Constellation and Halliburton.


By carrying out erosion analysis activities together with clients, ATS gained valuable experience in developing fluid-structure studies that comply with ASME VIII – Boiler & Pressure Vessel Code criteria, which defines the requirements for the design, manufacture, and inspection of pressure vessels and boilers, and ANSI/API Specification 6A, which specifies the requirements and dimensions of oil and gas production equipment, including valves and fittings.


Benefits of ATS Erosion Analysis Methodology


result of analysis of erosion in pipelines
Simulation of Pipeline Erosion in Three Different Pipelines


The erosion analysis methodology developed by ATS represents a significant advance over traditional methodologies. The validation of the methodology by CENPES and its use by major companies such as Halliburton and Constellation attest to its reliability and effectiveness.


By using it, it is possible to accurately identify the critical areas of pipelines that are most susceptible to erosion and take preventive measures to avoid future problems. In addition, the methodology also allows for more efficient planning and execution of preventive maintenance, avoiding millions in unnecessary maintenance costs and increasing operational efficiency.


By considering periods of 5, 10, and 20 years of operation, ATS offers comprehensive and long-term monitoring of the erosion rate, allowing clients to make informed decisions about maintenance planning and future investments in pipeline infrastructure. This makes it possible to ensure the safety and efficiency of operations, as well as compliance with industry norms and regulations.

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