Investigation and Prediction of High-Viscosity Liquid Effect on Two-Phase Slug Length in Horizontal Pipelines
- Eissa M. Al-safran (Kuwait University) | Bahadir Gokcal (ConocoPhillips) | Cem Sarica (University of Tulsa)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- SPE Production & Operations
- Publication Date
- June 2013
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 296 - 305
- 2013. Society of Petroleum Engineers
- 5.3.2 Multiphase Flow, 7.4.3 Market analysis /supply and demand forecasting/pricing, 4.2 Pipelines, Flowlines and Risers
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- 559 since 2007
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The recent trend of increasing energy demand led the industry toward the development of heavy oil unconventional resources. However, the production and transportation of such heavy oil is a challenge because of the lack of understanding of two-phase flow behavior under the condition of high-viscosity liquid phase. The objective of this study is to physically understand the effect of liquid viscosity on slug length and develop an empirical two-phase slug-length correlation for high oil viscosity. The developed sluglength correlation can improve the existing two-phase flow models often used in the development and maintenance of heavy-oil fields.
Experimental high-viscosity (0.181-0.589 Pa.s) two-phase air/mineral viscous oil slug-length data is acquired in a horizontal 0.0508-m ID pipe. High-speed recorded flow visualization revealed the effect of liquid-phase viscosity on the scooping and shedding processes at the slug front and back, respectively, and liquid film thickness in the Taylor bubble zone. Data analysis showed a one-third reduction in high viscosity (0.181-0.589 Pa.s) average slug length compared with low viscosity (0.001-0.017 Pa.s) average slug length. Furthermore, analysis of slug-length distributions revealed that as liquid viscosity increases, slug-length distribution deviates from the log-normal distribution to a trancated positively skewed distribution. As a result, the average, the variance, and maximum slug length values vary with liquid viscosity. On the basis of these experimental observations, a physical model is proposed which suggests that the thick liquid film in the Taylor bubble zone and the short slug-mixing zone at the slug front result in a fully developed velocity profile at the slug back, stabilizing the slug at a shorter length. A new dimensional-analysis-based empirical model is proposed to predict dimensionless average slug length for high-viscosity liquid slug flow. A validation and comparison study of the proposed correlation showed the best performance among the existing correlations.
|File Size||841 KB||Number of Pages||10|
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