Direct Electrical Heating of Subsea Pipelines—Technology Development and Operating Experience


The formation of hydrates in the subsea production of oil and gas is a well-known problem. As the unprocessed well stream cools down, hydrates start to form around 25 degC, depending on the water cut and pressure in the pipeline. Several solutions are available to solve this problem. Generally, chemicals (i.e., methanol) have been used. Methanol reduces the critical temperature where hydrates are formed. Alternatively, hydrates can be prevented by using thermal insulation in combination with direct electrical heating (DEH). Thus, the well stream is kept above the critical temperature for hydrate formation. DEH heats the pipeline by forcing a large electric current to flow through the pipeline steel. The system model for design and sizing of the system is presented. DEH uses a single-phase system where the heated pipeline is electrically connected to the surrounding sea water. Thus, the system current is divided between sea water and pipeline, requiring additional sacrificial anodes on the pipeline. The anode system for a pipeline with DEH is discussed. There are currently more than 100 km of DEH pipelines on the Norwegian Continental Shelf. The operating experience from these installations is discussed. This paper presents the research and development for application of the system for pipelines with lengths up to 50 km

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@article{Nysveen2007DirectEH, title={Direct Electrical Heating of Subsea Pipelines—Technology Development and Operating Experience}, author={Arne Nysveen and H. Kulbotten and J. K. Lervik and A. H. Bornes and Maria Hoyer-Hansen and J B Bremnes}, journal={IEEE Transactions on Industry Applications}, year={2007}, volume={43}, pages={118-129} }