Simulation and optimization of an offshore natural gas process Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/mp48sg76q

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  • The principal objective of this study was to investigate process simulation and optimization of an existing offshore natural gas process which needed profitability improvements. Optimization was done using two alternative approaches: a global approach (response surface methodology) or a local approach (successive quadratic programming). The global approach was characterized by process performance at selected case study points throughout the feasible operating region and made use of global information, while the local approach was characterized by numerical iterative computation driven by local information in the neighborhood of a single point in the design space. A Box-Behnken design was used as a second-order response surface design for the estimation of correlation between process simulator design variables and an economic objective function, and the estimation model was then optimized. In the local approach, a process simulator (ASPEN PLUS) with optimization capabilities was used. From the investigation, three major design variables were identified that had significant effects on the objective function of maximum product sales value. The three variables were: the compression ratio of the Production Compressor, the heat duty of the Gas/Gas Exchanger, and the compression ratio of the Expander. The results indicated that profitability of the offshore natural gas process could be improved by greatly (about 60%) increasing the production of raw condensate, even though this meant slightly lower (about 4%) sales of natural gas as a main product. The improvement found, however, was only 7% when the design variables were limited by currently installed equipment. The global approach was found to converge more consistently because once the global quadratic model was calculated, convergence to its unique optimum was simple. On the other hand the local approach had non-unique termination points due to the small effects of some design variables. The global approach provided better engineering insight since the effects of each design variable could be easily calculated from the quadratic model. However, the global approach was less efficient in terms of engineering manpower because of the time required to identify the quadratic model.
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