Subsea development and production of hydrocarbons is challenging due to remote andharsh conditions. Recent technology development with high speed communication to subsea anddownhole equipment has created a new opportunity to both monitor and control abnormal or undesirableevents with a proactive and preventative approach rather than a reactive approach. Twospecific technology developments are high speed, long-distance fiber optic sensing for productionand completion systems and wired pipe for drilling communications. Both of these communicationsystems offer unprecedented high speed and accurate sensing of equipment and processes that aresusceptible to uncontrolled well situations, leaks, issues with flow assurance, structural integrity,and platform stability, as well as other critical monitoring and control issues. The scope of thisdissertation is to design monitoring and control systems with new theoretical developments andpractical applications. For estimators, a novel `1-norm method is proposed that is less sensitiveto data with outliers, noise, and drift in recovering the true value of unmeasured parameters. Forcontrollers, a similar `1-norm strategy is used to design optimal control strategies that utilize a comprehensivedesign with multivariate control and nonlinear dynamic optimization. A framework forsolving large scale dynamic optimization problems with differential and algebraic equations is detailedfor estimation and control. A first area of application is in fiber optic sensing and automationfor subsea equipment. A post-installable fiber optic clamp is used to transmit structural informationfor a tension leg platform. A proposed controller automatically performs ballast operationsthat both stabilize the floating structure and minimize fatigue damage to the tendons that hold thestructure in place. A second area of application is with managed pressure drilling with movinghorizon estimation and nonlinear model predictive control. The purpose of this application is tomaximize rate of drilling penetration, maintain pressure in the borehole, respond to unexpected gasinflux, detect cuttings loading and pack-off, and better manage abnormal events with the drillingprocess through automation. The benefit of high speed data accessibility is quantified as well asthe potential benefit from a combined control strategy versus separate controllers.



College and Department

Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology; Chemical Engineering



Date Submitted


Document Type





high speed data, managed pressure drilling, nonlinear model predictive control, online, estimation and control, subsea flow assurance, subsea structural monitoring