The history of OLGA

OLGA is a computer programme to simulate the simultaneous transport of oil, gas and water through the same pipeline. Field developments with such multiphase transport are much more economic than developments with traditional offshore separation of gas, oil and water and single-phase transportation.

Early history
The development of OLGA started as early as 1979. The concept was conceived and developed by Dr. Dag Malnes and Dr. Kjell Bendiksen at the Institute for Energy Technology (IFE), Kjeller in 1979/1980. Dr. Bendiksen wrote the first version of the code, which was named OLGA, in May 1980. Even at an early stage the program was used to analyze practical problems for Statoil, who financed the development until 1983.

Long and extensive collaboration between SINTEF and IFE
From 1983 till 1992 there were numerous multi-client projects in which  IFE and SINTEF collaborated. Responsibilities were divided such that SINTEF conducted experiments in the large scale multiphase laboratory at Tiller in Trondheim, which had already been financed by Esso Norge, , while IFE developed the OLGA code.

The OLGA development included physical modeling of the flow, formulating empirical closure correlations based on the experimental data from Tiller, development of the numerical methods and the implementation as computer code for practical applications. The modeling work at IFE identified parameter ranges where OLGA was most in need of improvement, and this guided the design of experiments to be done at Tiller.

Commercialization through Scandpower
OLGA was jointly owned by IFE and SINTEF in the first multi-client projects until 1989, when the project sponsors acquired the OLGA ownership. In 1993 Scandpower AS (later SPT Group AS) was given the rights to commercialize OLGA.

Further development sponsored by Statoil, Saga and Norsk Hydro
In 1993 Statoil signed an agreement with IFE and SINTEF to continue a strong focus on multi­phase technology R&D. This agreement was in effect for five years, with Norsk Hydro and Saga Petroleum joining for the last two.

The OLGA Verification and Improvement Project (OVIP)
The OLGA version developed by IFE in the Statoil-Saga-Hydro multiphase programme was handed over to the newly started OVIP project, run jointly by Scandpower and IFE. The cooperation resulted in the greatly improved OLGA 2000 code released in 1999. The OVIP is still a vital multi-client project.

HORIZON and beyond
In 2003, IFE and SPT Group launched a major project called HORIZON, with the aim of replacing many of the empirical correlations in OLGA by models based on more fundamental physics, improving the reliability of scale-up from laboratory scale to field scale. This project is now concluding its second phase, with a total investment from industry of over 100 MNOK. The HORIZON “brand” continues and several smaller follow-up projects are in the planning stage.

Experimental multiphase flow research at IFE
IFE has established specialized laboratories for the study of multiphase flow.  These laboratories enable very detailed measurements using advanced measurement instruments. In this way very valuable information is generated for the further development of the models in OLGA.

A world leading product
SPT Group AS has now the commercial rights to OLGA and has with great success established OLGA as a world leading product, with a dominating market share, and made OLGA a very important tool for a large number of international oil- and engineering companies. The cooperation between SPT Group AS and IFE has resulted in many development activities securing the continuous improvement of OLGA and expanding its application areas.

In 2012, SPT Group AS was bought by the giant oil services company Schlumberger for a considerable price. The story continues…