Being in the upstream oil and gas field the subject of flow assurance related to multiphase flow in pipelines is something that cannot be ignored. While the commonly used softwares such as PIPESIM, PIPEPHASE, TLNET and TGNET are adequate for most flow assurance studies the subject of transient analysis for multiphase flow is a complex one. PIPESIM does not handle transient analysis whereas TLNET and TGNET handle transient analysis for liquid and gas as single-phase fluids. Reportedly PIPEPHASE has a module which handles transient analysis but PIPEPHASE is certainly not recognized as a transient analysis software for pipeline flow assurance.
The most recognized software for multiphase flow transient analysis is OLGA now owned and marketed by SPT group (formerly ScanDpower). OLGA is a powerful flow assurance simulation tool and is recognized such by companies in the upstream oil and gas business. In fact, OLGA has practically monopolized the multiphase transient flow assurance business till now. OLGA is also quite expensive. A single license could cost anybody upward of a quarter-million dollars. That is quite a bit of money and many a times difficult to justify for procuring unless your only business is flow assurance studies.
For an engineering company outsourcing the flow assurance studies to a flow asssurance specialist company possessing an OLGA license is also quite expensive. Rough estimates would say that for a 3-month study of a complex reservoir network transient behaviour it would not be less than 50 to 60 thousand dollars. That again is a tidy amount of money.
The question that immediately comes to the mind is why is it so expensive to perform transient flow assurance studies using OLGA. The reason is quite simple. OLGA is a monopoly and till now there was no competition to OLGA.
Any monopoly is bad for the customers and end-users and puts them to a disadvantage. The endeavour to find more cost effective solutions drives the business of engineering.
"Kongsberg" a Norwegian conglomerate announced the arrival of its new multiphase transient simulator named "LedaFlow" in 2010. Kongsberg claim it to be a product developed after a decade long collaboration between "ConocoPhillips" and "Total". The capabilities are claimed to be equal to that of OLGA. Reportedly the cost of "LedaFlow" is lower than that of OLGA. I do not know the exact cost difference but again, reportedly it is quite significant. Refer some links below for "LedaFlow":
Several large operating companies have now given acceptance to "LedaFlow" for multiphase transient flow assurance studies including Saudi Aramco and Shell.
I have no personal experience of this software but if ConocoPhillips, Total, Shell, Saudi Aramco etc. are endorsing it there has to be some substance in the software.
Concluding this blog entry If I am able to do the same multiphase transient flow assurance that OLGA provides at a substantially lower cost, than I welcome "LedaFlow" with open arms.
If any readers or members of "Cheresources" are familiar with "LedaFlow" I would like to hear their comments.