Capacity Planning for Modular and Transportable Infrastructure for Shale Gas Production and Processing
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Copyright 2018 American Chemical Society. Shale gas wells typically have steep production decline curves in the first few years of operation. Therefore, if such reduction in production is not accounted for, much of the supporting infrastructure within the shale gas field owned by the exploration and production (E&P) company will be grossly oversized after only a few years of production. Instead of the conventional approach of utilizing spatially fixed processing facilities, this work proposes the use of modular and transportable processing plants. This in turn allows the processing facilities to be composed of multiple modular plants operating in parallel. These modular plants can be reallocated within the field to other processing facilities by the E&P company to combat the uncertainty in production that comes with developing a shale gas field. A superstructure is developed to aid in formulating the capacity planning and allocation problem as a multi-stage stochastic program with uncertain production forecasts. We incorporate a novel recourse function that allows the operator of the E&P company to quantify the effect of postponing the processing of the influent to a later time due to insufficient processing capacity. The proposed approach and solution technique are illustrated through a case study. For a set of randomly generated scenarios, the modular and transportable system shows major cost and operational benefits over the traditional permanent plants with fixed capacities.