Debottlenecking Gas Production with a Digital Twin

Debottlenecking Gas Production With a Digital Twin

March 24, 2020

I am excited to present a webinar for AspenTech drawing on my session from the OPTIMIZE 2019 conference. YPFB had great success using Aspen HYSYS® to address some serious engineering challenges; many other companies may be able to learn from our experience.


YPFB is Bolivia’s national oil company and a key natural gas producer throughout South America. Over the last few years, Bolivia has expanded its gas export pipelines and processing facilities and discovered important reserves.


Two of the most important major gas fields in Bolivia were experiencing a problem common with naturally fractured gas reserves: the reservoirs decline dramatically after reaching a plateau, with almost no advance warning. This makes it difficult to determine when to start developing the compression project, which compression arrangement will be best and when to start operation.


Complicating matters, Bolivia had agreements to supply gas to Brazil and Argentina and a shortage of hydrocarbon liquids, which did not allow YPFB to choke gas production in any of its gas fields. At this mature stage of the Bolivian wells, close to losing one of the major gas fields and paying fines and penalties from customers, YPFB needed to find a solution to the problem.


The conventional solution would be to find places to lower pressure drops, either at the gas processing plant or the pipe gathering systems, to decrease well backpressure. We solved this issue by integrating and debottlenecking the whole system. Using Aspen HYSYS and Aspen Exchanger Design and Rating (EDR), we were able to increase revenue by more than $280 million USD in one year. Softening the production decline rate gave Bolivia a breath of release when the plant pressure went from 1,200 psig to 850 psig and production increased by almost 10%.


The rest of the story gets better: having learned the lesson in San Alberto, we applied the same integration and performance engineering approach to the San Antonio processing plant, the other major gas field in Bolivia where YPFB Andina holds shares.  The results there were not only increased revenues, but savings in the well compression project under development.


Please register for the webinar, which will take place on April 16, to get more details on how we used a digital twin from AspenTech to debottleneck operations and learn about YPFB’s next project using AspenTech’s Performance Engineering solution. I hope you will join us!

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