Increasing worldwide demand for petroleum motivates greater efficiency, safety, and environmental responsibility in upstream oil and gas processes. The objective of this research is to improve these areas with advanced control methods. This work develops the integration of optimal control methods including model predictive control, moving horizon estimation, high fidelity simulators, and switched control techniques applied to subsea riser slugging and managed pressure drilling. A subsea riser slugging model predictive controller eliminates persistent offset and decreases settling time by 5% compared to a traditional PID controller. A sensitivity analysis shows the effect of riser base pressure sensor location on controller response. A review of current crude oil pipeline wax deposition prevention, monitoring, and remediation techniques is given. Also, industrially relevant control model parameter estimation techniques are reviewed and heuristics are developed for gain and time constant estimates for single input/single output systems. The analysis indicates that overestimated controller gain and underestimated controller time constant leads to better controller performance under model parameter uncertainty. An online method for giving statistical significance to control model parameter estimates is presented. Additionally, basic and advanced switched model predictive control schemes are presented. Both algorithms use control models of varying fidelity: a high fidelity process model, a reduced order nonlinear model, and a linear empirical model. The basic switched structure introduces a method for bumpless switching between control models in a predetermined switching order. The advanced switched controller builds on the basic controller; however, instead of a predetermined switching sequence, the advanced algorithm uses the linear empirical controller when possible. When controller performance becomes unacceptable, the algorithm implements the low order model to control the process while the high fidelity model generates simulated data which is used to estimate the empirical model parameters. Once this online model identification process is complete, the controller reinstates the empirical model to control the process. This control framework allows the more accurate, yet computationally expensive, predictive capabilities of the high fidelity simulator to be incorporated into the locally accurate linear empirical model while still maintaining convergence guarantees.



College and Department

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



Date Submitted


Document Type





model predictive control, moving horizon estimation, advanced process control, switched control, high fidelity simulators, subsea riser slugging, pipeline wax deposition, parameter estimation, managed pressure drilling