Improving offshore gas production requires the process compressor to be moved closer to the wellhead. This will yield such benefits as enhanced well output, longer well life and the possibility of exploiting smaller fields. However, the harsh environment, remote location and variable two-phase characteristics of an untreated gas stream pose increased challenges for operational performance and robustness. Several methods are available to ensure that a process compressor maintains constant outlet pressure regardless of inlet stream properties and flow.
Two pressure-ratio control methods — variable inlet guide vanes (IGV) and variable speed — have been investigated. Their effect on diffuser stability has been tested and analysed in dry and wet conditions. Increased diffuser stability in wet conditions with IGV has been discussed and results are presented.