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Simulations I

t is well known that the oil and gas industry relies on advanced soſtware tools to optimise exploration, production, transportation, refining and processing

– from predictive analysis to product qualification. Tis all requires powerful codes which have been honed by the soſtware companies working with the oil and gas companies to tailor the soſtware to specific industrial applications. However, less attention is usually given

to the fact that the structures used in oil and gas exploration and production are regularly subjected to harsh, extreme environments but must be capable of performing consistently and reliably in these conditions. In order to guarantee the safety of people using the equipment, and also to prevent accidents, which can be hugely costly, both economically and ecologically, high quality simulation is needed to make sure that everything from the structure of the oil rig right down to the smallest pipe or valve has been designed with performance and reliability in mind.

Pressure vessel design One aspect of this is simulation applied to the design of pressure vessels. Tis is a particular focus of NOV Elmar, which provides technical expertise, advanced equipment, and operational support to the oil and gas industry. Te company specialises in the design and manufacturing of wireline products for slick-line and electric line applications. Richard Herdman, senior design engineer,

said: ‘In our particular sector of pressure vessel design, simulation is used to optimise designs and give a better understanding of stress distribution throughout non-standard product geometry.’ Herdman continued: ‘At NOV Elmar, we have used simulation to develop a new



range of products to ensure well integrity for wireline intervention and which can fit through platform production floor hatches (a considerable dimensional constraint).’ Leandro Castro, co-founder of

MultiMechanics, which provides computer- aided engineering (CAE) solutions, explained that finite element analysis soſtware has been used frequently by engineers for a range of situations in the oil and gas industry.

Modelling mechanics of an iceberg One recent case study used multi-scale technology, a key feature of MultiMechanics’ FEA soſtware, to improve the modelling of an iceberg’s mechanical response. Castro

to withstand wind and ice

The oil and gas industry depends on simulation. Robert Roe explores how the technique can optimise the integrity of structures in extreme environments

said: ‘Tis data can then be incorporated into finite element analysis of iceberg-structure interactions, allowing offshore, arctic designs to be developed and evaluated with more clarity on safety margins.’ Te findings of this study will be presented at the Offshore Technology Conference to be held in Copenhagen, Denmark, from 23 to 25 March. Castro said: ‘FEA has been successfully

used to help with many aspects of the oil and gas industry, including improving risk management, reliability and safety of structures. From drilling bits, composite risers, to offshore platforms, there are multiple structures that benefit from the design flexibility provided by FEA.’ Castro continued: ‘Tese benefits

include the ability to perform fast design exploration of non-trivial shapes and material combinations, oſten necessary to overcome the inherent challenging conditions of this industry.’

Simulation avoids overdesign Both examples make use of sophisticated modelling soſtware in order to meet the

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