TUV SUD NEL Opens £16M Subsea Centre of Excellence

TÜV SÜD National Engineering Laboratory (NEL) has launched its £16-million Advanced Multiphase Facility (AMF), which should help global oil and gas operators to ensure that production remains economically viable.

The AMF’s test range (of operating pressures, temperatures, flowrates and metrology) is said to be beyond the capability of any other laboratory in the world.

Operating at pressures up to 140 bar, the AMF doubles previous test facility capabilities to meet industry’s current and future measurement challenges. With a working envelope at least 20 times larger than any multiphase or wet gas facility in the world, the AMF also has the highest flow rate in the world (for both gas and liquid) within one multiphase facility.

Spanning 1,600 m2, the AMF contains a £1.45-million, full production scale separator with an operating weight of 270 tonnes and is also the only facility in the world to offer an integrated subsea choke, as well as be capable of testing the complete range of flow meters. 2D, three-phase, x-ray tomography and sensors deliver high definition images of complex flows to expand industry’s understanding of fluid behaviours and their impact on measurement.

Construction of the AMF began in September 2017 and it was officially opened by Derek Mackay, the Scottish Government’s Cabinet Secretary for Finance.

The AMF will focus predominantly on the £50-billion-per-annum global subsea sector and wet gas business, facilitating company-led industrial projects and product development, hands-on industry training and academic research.

Creating at least 17 new jobs, the centre will futureproof the delivery of innovative technical services to the oil and gas production market for the next 25 years.

Dr Brian Millington, managing director of TÜV SÜD National Engineering Laboratory, said: “The AMF’s world-leading research facilities will support the global oil & gas industry with both current and future measurement challenges, from well optimisation to fiscal accounting. While significant production opportunities exist in extreme environments, higher operating pressures and temperatures can impact the performance of multiphase flow measurement devices. The AMF will increase the viability of well exploitation by helping operators to more accurately measure multiphase flow and better understand the performance of production operations in these challenging but potentially profitable environments.”

Scottish Enterprise has supported the development of the AMF with £4.9 million of research and development funding. Alongside the grant from Scottish Enterprise, TÜV SÜD National Engineering Laboratory’s parent company, TÜV SÜD AG, also invested £11.1 million.

Professor Axel Stepken, chairman of board of management of TÜV SÜD AG, said: “Measurement of multiphase flows is a key factor in understanding the performance of production operations and production optimisation. Together, we have created the conditions necessary for ensuring that Scotland, and with it the TÜV SÜD National Engineering Laboratory, will continue to set the pace of progress in flow measurement in the future.

Derek Mackay, Cabinet Secretary for Finance, commented: “TÜV SÜD National Engineering Laboratory’s £16m investment into this facility is great news for Scotland. The Scottish Government is working hard to establish stronger trading links between Scotland and Germany and this news is testament to Scotland’s ability to attract inward investment in spite of the continuing uncertainty around Brexit.”

David Smith, Director of National Opportunities for Scottish Enterprise, said: “It’s fantastic to see the centre open and ready for business. Our £4.9m R&D grant was the catalyst for TÜV SÜD National Engineering Laboratory to secure over £11m of funding from its German parent company. Doing this means we can anchor the skills and expertise in the East Kilbride facility for the long term and create more economic opportunity for the families and communities in the area.”

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