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Simulation software solution for flow assurance challenges

As mentioned on the previous blog post, Flow Assurance means to ensure and provide a low-risk and cost-effective transport of hydrocarbons from the reservoir to surface facilities and ultimately to the sales point. 

Most of the problems related to flow assurance challenges are directly related to fluid composition and behavior in a wide range of pressure and temperature conditions. For example, fluids containing long aliphatic hydrocarbon chains (C18+) can lead to paraffin waxes when the fluids encounter a temperature drop. When particular pipe characteristics, such as size and diameter, meet multiphase flow, it can lead to hydrodynamic issues as well, such as severe slugging.  

In order to predict the fluid behavior under different conditions and prevent flow assurance issues such as waxes and hydrates, oil & gas companies need a reliable representation of the hydrocarbon PVT behavior and transport characteristics, as well as optimized design of the production system.

Flow assurance engineer’s role during production

The engineer’s work in flow assurance challenges demands detailed analysis of fluids and a thermo-hydraulic evaluation of the entire system (both steady state and transient, shut down, start up, and so on). These insights are important in designing a reliable production system. In other words, the engineer must:

  • determine a proper thermo-hydraulic design (and decide on parameters such as line diameter and insulation)
  • predict and control potential solids
  • remediate flow blockages or restrictions, and
  • design all modes of operation (startup, steady state, shutdown, rate change, and so on.)

Simulation softwares for Flow assurance challenges

Over the past two decades, ESSS has developed  simulation software solutions for the upstream market. Certainly, one of our main focuses is Production and Flow Assurance. We help companies find simulation solutions, from fluid analysis and system design to online production monitoring.

Read more below about the main simulation software developed by ESSS to tackle flow assurance challenges and see how they can be used in the oil and gas industry.

To address the challenges of representing hydrocarbon behavior – RFDAP FASE

FASE is a fluid analysis and simulation environment software. Developed under a sponsorship by Shell, FASE  addresses the challenges of representing hydrocarbon behavior, and also estimates transport properties for wide ranges of pressures and temperatures. It is a web-based tool integrated with samples and an experimental database. You can use FASE  can for:

  • EoS characterization that considers lumping and pseudo-components definition
  • Multiphase flash and phase properties – Setup P and T to generate results tables and phase diagrams
  • PVT experiments and data regression
  • PVT Tables and compositional models to be used in reservoir and multiphase flow simulators

To optimize production and devise flow assurance strategies to mitigate risks – ALFASIM

ALFAsim is a unidimensional dynamic multiphase flow simulator. It can help the user design wells, pipelines, and subsea layouts, and also it can simulate existing pipeline operations  to optimize production. In addition, ALFAsim helps engineers understand well behavior and devise flow assurance strategies to mitigate risks. Sponsored by Galp, this software has been used by major companies such as Petrobras, Repsol, and YPF. Here’s what you can do with ALFAsim:

  • Transient and steady-state modeling of wells and pipelines.
  • Robust fluid modeling via PVT tables, black oil correlations, and compositional tracking. 
  • Equipment modeling: choke valves, pumps, gas-lift valves, separators, reservoir and heat/mass sources are currently available.
  • Proprietary model input and integration with complex workflows via a robust customization framework.

 To identify possible production issues in real time – ALFATWIN

ALFAtwin is a digital twin of producing wells (based on ALFAsim models). Created in partnership with Petrobras, ALFAtwin software identifies possible production issues in real time, alerting companies and suggesting actions to avoid unplanned shutdowns, and helping  estimate flow rates for each well (virtual flow meter) to evaluate production. ALFAtwin software also:

  • Performs real-time simulations using field data as boundary conditions, and
  • Provides online pressure, temperature, holdup, and other profiles to other applications and diagnostics routines.

For more information about ESSS’s simulation software solutions, please visit the ESSS O&G webpage or email us at

Carolina Barreto

Business Development, ESSS O&G

Carolina Barreto has a Bachelor’s Degree in Chemical Engineering, from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, and a Master’s Degree in Petroleum Engineering, from the University of Tulsa. Spanning over 10 years of professional experience in O&G, Carolina initially worked as a process engineer to later focus on petroleum production, in which the use of simulation for engineering applications became indispensable. Carolina has been working at ESSS since 2018 and is one of the responsible for fostering partnerships between Oil & Gas companies, Universities, Research institutions and ESSS, in order to develop R&D projects related to simulation and new software technologies.

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