Discover a Career - James P. Brill on “Modeling Multiphase Flow in Pipes.”
With this issue, TWA inaugurates the Discover a Career section, in which an experienced industry professional gives a broad picture of an area of his or her expertise, its relevance to the current and future work of the industry, its challenges, the professional opportunities it offers, and the expectations one might have from a career in this area. In this article, James P. Brill, professor emeritus and research professor of petroleum engineering, University of Tulsa, discusses modeling multiphase flow in pipes.
Multiphase flow occurs in almost all producing oil and gas wells and surface pipes that transport produced fluids. The significantly different densities and viscosities of these fluids make multiphase flow much more complicated than the single-phase flow covered in an undergraduate fluid-mechanics course. Predicting multiphase-flow behavior in an oil and gas production system is further complicated by complex heat transfer that occurs as fluids flow through the piping system and the mass transfer that takes place among hydrocarbon fluids as pressure and temperature change. These phenomena are governed by conservation of mass, momentum, and energy, coupled with fundamental thermodynamics and heat transfer.