Multiphase Analysis of Three-Phase Flow (Gas-Condensate-Water) Flow in Pipes

Open Access
Author:
Zaghloul, Jose
Graduate Program:
Petroleum and Natural Gas Engineering
Degree:
Doctor of Philosophy
Document Type:
Dissertation
Date of Defense:
September 21, 2006
Committee Members:
  • Michael Adebola Adewumi, Committee Chair
  • Mku Thaddeus Ityokumbul, Committee Member
  • Turgay Ertekin, Committee Member
  • Robert W Watson, Committee Member
  • Osama O Awadelkarim, Committee Member
Keywords:
  • Three-Phase Flow
  • Multiphase Flow
  • Flow in pipes
Abstract:
The transport of unprocessed gas streams in transmission pipelines is becoming more attractive for new developments. Transporting gas, oil, and water together from wells in satellite fields to existing processing facilities would reduce the investments required for expanding production. However, engineers often face several problems when designing these systems. These problems include reduced flow capacity, corrosion, emulsion, asphaltene or wax deposition, and hydrate formation. Engineers need a tool to understand how the fluids travel together, quantify the flow reduction in the pipe, and determine where, how much, and the type of liquid that would form in a pipe. The present work addresses these needs, gaining a fundamental understanding of the thermodynamics, and hydrodynamic mechanisms for two- and three-phase flow. The current study presents a flow model that couples complex hydrodynamic and thermodynamic models for describing the behavior of fluids traveling in near-horizontal pipes. This work includes: • A hydrodynamic formulation for three-phase flow in pipes • A thermodynamic model capable of performing two-phase and three-phase flow calculations in an accurate, fast and reliable manner. • A new theoretical approach for determining flow pattern transitions in three-phase (gas-condensate-water) flow, and closure models that effectively handle different three-phase flow patterns and their transitions. The unified two-fluid model developed herein is shown to be capable of handling systems exhibiting two-phase (gas-water and gas-condensate) and three-phase (gas-condensate-water) flow. Model predictions were compared against field and experimental data with excellent matches. The hydrodynamic model allows: 1) the determination of flow reduction due to the condensation of liquid(s) in the pipe, 2) assessment of the potential for forming substances that might affect the integrity of the pipe, and 3) evaluation of the possible measures for improving the deliverability of the pipeline. This work develops the framework for a robust thermodynamic-hydrodynamic model capable of simulating two and three-phase flow in typical gas transmission pipelines. The flow model developed herein represents an outstanding tool that allows engineers to improve the design of lines, liquid collection, and separation facilities.