Performance Analysis of a Natural Gas Gathering and Production System and Diagnosis of Operational Bottlenecks

Open Access
Krishnamurthy, Jayanth Krishna
Graduate Program:
Petroleum and Mineral Engineering
Master of Science
Document Type:
Master Thesis
Date of Defense:
July 29, 2008
Committee Members:
  • Luis F Ayala H, Thesis Advisor
  • Zuleima T Karpyn, Thesis Advisor
  • Natural Gas Gathering and Production System
Maximum energy preservation of the transported fluid is a fundamental design criterion in pipeline networks, in order to curtail the maintenance and operating costs such as compression of gas in the production system. Improper planning of the network system layout during construction of the pipeline could lead to considerable loss of energy of the gas, and on the long run could prove detrimental to the cost incurred to operate the gas pipeline network. Hence it is important to adequately plan the architecture of the pipeline system for optimum operating strategy. The motivation behind this study is to comprehensively analyze a natural gas gathering and production system by developing a steady state gas pipeline network model which predicts the nodal pressures in the system for given flow rates and compressor operating conditions. In this study, a pipeline network model was developed and customized for the gas production and gathering system in Pennsylvania using fundamental principles of fluid mechanics. The network model was history matched to field data by means of flow efficiency adjustments. Upon achieving good history matches, the model was used as a diagnostic tool to analyze the network’s performance and to predict and evaluate the feasibility of any probable modifications that could be done to the pipeline system. Locations with high energy losses were identified, and necessary actions for remediation of these locations were recommended for optimal performance of the pipeline network. This work demonstrates the step-by- step protocol needed for the analysis of natural gas gathering systems and validates the methodology as a powerful tool to diagnose network performance and propose much needed guidance on required network change to field operators.