Optimization of Sea Water Pumping System

Joseph M. Thorp, Aramco Services Company and Jeffrey A. Olsen, Applied Flow Technology - Presented at the 24th International Pump Users Symposium (now the Turbomachinery and Pump Symposia)

This paper describes the optimization of a high-pressure seawater pipeline being constructed to increase oil production from an oil field in Khurais, Saudi Arabia. Consisting of approximately 145 km of pipeline and several pumping stations, the optimization addressed both initial operational requirements and planned expansions over ten years and included both first and life-cycle costs.

Key to this optimization were the capabilities provided in AFT Mercury* (now the Automated Network Sizing Module), Applied Flow Technology's system optimization software. Starting from a well-engineered design, life cycle cost savings of $104 million was realized demonstrating the significant savings possible from using optimization technology.


A new project to increase the oil produced at Khurais, Saudi Arabia, was the focus of a study to determine the optimal pipeline size and pump combination for a 90.4 mile (145.5 km) long, treated-seawater transfer line between Ain Dar and Khurais. The study evaluated the supply pumps at Ain Dar, operations with and without booster pumps at Khurais, and the injection pump configuration at Khurais. The entire system was optimally designed to provide the required seawater flow of 2.14 million barrels per day (62,400 gpm) for initial operations prior to 2009 with the ability to be scaled up to the planned increased flow of 3.0 million barrels per day (87,500 gpm) 10 years later. Both first costs and life-cycle costs over 20 years were evaluated.

The tradeoff of increasing initial costs to reduce life-cycle costs was examined during the study. The pipeline material considered was X-70 steel with sections welded together to form the 56- inch, 60-inch, or 64-inch diameter pipe. The study assumed the pipeline could have a maximum of two unique wall thicknesses along its entire length. The study started from a well-engineered design and through optimization techniques realized a first cost savings of $37 million (5%) and life-cycle cost savings of $104 million (12%). This cost savings could have been greater except that part of the cost reduction was used to allow the possibility for the system to be operated at a 17 percent increased capacity without any additional expenditure for construction. 

*The IntelliFlow® technology featured in this paper has since migrated from AFT Mercury and AFT Titan to become the Automated Network Sizing (ANS) Module for AFT Fathom™ and AFT Arrow™.  This module utilizes similar methods to provide the cost minimization as presented in this paper.

View the Technical Paper


Automated Network Sizing Module

Log in

Login to your account

Username *
Password *
Remember Me

Create an account

Fields marked with an asterisk (*) are required.
Name *
Username *
Password *
Verify password *
Email *
Verify email *
Captcha *
Reload Captcha
© 1996 - 2023 Applied Flow Technology