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A.Bashiri , PhD Student, Iran University of Science and Technology L.Fatehnejad, Process Engineer, SAZEH Consultants Engineering & Construction N.Kasiri, Iran University of Science and Technology (IUST), Tehran, Iran

ABSTRACT For a very long time, multi-phase flow did not appear to be a major issue in petroleum operations, since it was restricted to local applications on short length surface transfer lines. But oil and gas producers have very soon observed in their wells and flowlines that large hydraulic instabilities may occur under multi-phase flow conditions. Multi-phase production systems are quire complex but prediction of their behavior is essential for successful design and operation of production facilities. Multi-Phase models can be broken down into three distinct categories: Steady State Correlation, Steady State Mechanistic and Transient Mechanistic. Refer to field data analysis mechanistic steady state and dynamics simulation models, rather than empirical correlations, are widely used and recommended for design of multiphase production system including well, pipeline and downstream installations during flow assurance studies. An extensive validation methodology is proposed here by using real pipelines and wells data. The evaluation of these point models demonstrates that the TACITETM and OLGA2000TM models can be applied to any configuration of pipelines with acceptable accuracy.
KEYWORDS: Multiphase Flow, OLGA2000 TM, Slug, Terrain Slugging, Simulation

INTRODUCTION Nowadays, the multiphase production technique has become a standard method for the development of marginal fields due to significant reduction in CAPEX and OPEX compared to those obtained in the conventional production method. The multiphase production technology consists in the transport of untreated wellhead effluent through a single pipeline either to an existing processing platform or to on-shore processing facilities. In the beginning of the production, the wellhead pressure can be sufficient, depending on the transportation distance, to achieve transportation up to the treatment installations. If the wellhead pressure is not sufficient, multiphase pumps can be used to boost the inlet pressure. The correct predictions of pressure drop, liquid hold-up and flow regime are vital to design a multiphase transport system i.e. pipeline, multiphase pump and downstream process facilities. The old approach to design a multiphase pipeline was to use empirical correlations developed from the test loop experimental data. Nowadays, these correlations are hardly used, as they do not consider the physical phenomena and the accuracy of their predictions can be very poor [1].

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Since the mid 1970's, significant progress has been made to understand the physics of two-phase flow in pipes and wells. This progress has resulted in several two-phase flow mechanistic models to simulate the pipelines and wells under steady state as well as transient conditions. The use of these steady state mechanistic models allows to correctly predicting the pressure drop, liquid hold-up and flow regime for a pipeline and well operating under any condition. The main purpose of this paper is first to define a proper methodology to carry out the validation of a mechanistic two-phase flow pipeline and well simulation model. Then, in accordance with the established methodology, a critical evaluation of the existing pipeline and well simulation models has been carried out using a large number of test loop, real pipeline and well data. MULTI-PHASE FLOW MODELS The prediction of pressure gradients, liquid holdup and flow patterns occurring during the simultaneous flow of gas and liquid in pipes is necessary for design in the petroleum and chemical industries. Techniques most prevalently used in the design of pipeline carrying multiphase flow can be classified into three categories: The Single-Phase Safety Factor (SPSF) Method: In this method, the multiphase flow is assumed to be a single-phase flow having pseudo-properties arrived at by suitably weighting the properties of the individual phases. The Steady Empirical Multiphase (SEMP) Approaches: Many of these correlations, the SEMP approaches, are based on flow regime to estimate the multiphase (gas/liquid/water) flow friction factor, which is then used to estimate pressure drop. While some of the correlations predict pressure-drop reasonably well, their range of applicability is generally limited, making their use as a scale up tool inadequate. Mechanistic Models: Empirical or semi-empirical methods are based on limited data obtained from small-diameter, air-water hydrocarbon system. Extrapolation of these data to larger lines and to hydrocarbon systems was questionable. Application of these correlations can lead to results which are grossly in error. Because of this, two phase equipment can be designed badly, leading to unnecessary costs or even failure. Because of this restriction, mechanistic models that are based on fundamental laws (Mass Conservation, Momentum conservation, Energy Conservation) have been developed to simulate gas-condensate system [3, 4]. Refer to several investigations and comparisons Mechanistic models can predicts multiphase flow behavior in pipeline with acceptable degree of accuracy. Simulators such as TACITETM and OLGA2000TM use this model [11, 12]. At first glance, the decision whether to use steady state or transient models might be seem a simple one. Clearly, there are many events that are inherently time dependent, for example, pipeline startup and shutdown. Obviously in order to properly capture these events, a transient model must be employed. However there are instances where multiphase flow into a pipeline is steady, but the flow behavior within the line has a strongly transient character, for example, terrain slugging. One the other hand, hydrodynamic slugging has an inherently transient character, but with well-defined average behavior and can be successfully modeled with a steady state approach [5].

The three key components in any multiphase study are accurate prediction of flow regime, liquid holdup, and pressure drop, determined as function of production rate. It is difficult to separate these three, as each coupled to the other two, implying a simultaneous solution for all three components. However, as practical matter, regime determination is often done first, followed by liquid hold-up and finally pressure drop. LIQUID INVENTORY IN MULTI-PHASE PIPELINE Holdup or void fraction is an important parameter in Multi-Phase pipelines because certain operating practices such as pigging or sphering a pipework or increasing the flowrate through the line, can result in expulsion of large quantities of the hold-up liquid, usually in the form of slugs. Often, facilities have to be designed and constructed to capture these slugs of liquids. It is important that these receiving facilities are correctly sized. As a result, considerable attention is paid to the accuracy of holdup production, especially in the offshore oil and gas industry. Knowledge of the void fraction is also required in the calculation of pressure drop, and prediction of fluid residence time, which affects temperature loss along a pipework. In many oil and gas developments incorporating multiphase flowlines, multiphase surges are a major Flow Assurance concern due to the excessive demands large changes in oil and gas flow rates place upon the processing facilities. Multiphase surges come in three forms: Slug Volumes during Pigging Operation: Depending on the condition before pigging, the quantity of liquid arriving can be large. The rate of liquid arrival is dictated by the speed of the pig, which may typically be between 2 and 5 m/s. As the liquid is separated from the gas by the pig or sphere, the amount of gas, either resulting from bubbles in the slug or flow bypassing the pig, will be relatively small and the mixture will generally be in the form of slug or bubble flow. Liquid arriving under steady flow condition: The ratio of liquid to gas arriving at the slug catcher will be the same as for the steady flow condition of the system and the liquid will be arriving at a continuous rate. It will be either in the form of entrained droplets, slugs or a steady stratified stream depending on gas/ liquid ratio, pipeline profile and the prevailing flow rate of the pipeline. If in the form of droplets, their sizes will be influenced by velocity and become smaller at higher velocities. Liquid produced as a result of flow rate increase: When the flow rate in the pipeline is being increased, the corresponding volume of liquid holdup under equilibrium will be reduced and the excess quantity will be displaced. It will arrive in the form of slugs or surges of droplets depending on the prevailing gas velocity. The instantaneous liquid- to-gas ratio at the outlet will be greater than the steady flow liquid to gas ratio.

PORTRAITS OF FLOW PATTERNS In analyzing the configurations taken up by gas and liquid flowing together researchers have used a very large number of descriptions. The structure of multiphase flow is generally considered to fall into four basic flow regimes: Stratified Flow: a continuous liquid stream flowing at the bottom of the pipe, with a continuous stream of gas flowing over Slug flow: Stratified flow, punctuated by slugs of highly turbulent liquid Annular flow: a thin liquid film adhering to the pipe wall, and a gas stream containing entrained liquid droplets. Bubble flow: a continuous liquid flow with entrained gas bubbles In most steady stage models flow regimes selection is done against an experimentally constructed flow regime map. Generally superficial liquid velocity is plotted against the superficial gas velocity:

Figure1: Flow Pattern Maps for Horizontal (Left) and Vertical (Right) Two Phase Flow [1]

The OLGA2000TM transient program selects flow regime based on the so called minimum slip criterion. For a given pressure drop selects the flow regime which gives the lowest difference between the gas and liquid linear velocities, hence minimum slip. The minimum slip condition also corresponds to the regime which gives the lowest liquid holdup for a given pressure drop. This is purely empirical criterion but it seems to work. There is no clear guidance as to when the Taitel-Duckler criterion applies and when noslip criterion is correct. There is evidence to suggest that the no-slip criterion does not select the correct flow regime for downward direction flows [5].

Figure2: Experimental Flow Pattern Maps for Vertical Two Phase Flow [10]

SEVERE SLUGGING CONCEPT Severe slugging can occur in two-phase flow systems in which a pipeline segment with a downward inclination angle is followed by another segment/riser with an upward inclination angle. At relatively low gas and liquid flow rates, liquid can accumulate at the riser base of such a system, blocking the gas flow. This will result in an increasing liquid level in the riser until the liquid reaches the riser top. Simultaneously, gas in the downward-inclined section will be compressed. When the gas pressure in the pipeline has increased enough to counter the hydrostatic head of the liquid column, the gas will expand and push the liquid column violently out of the riser into the separator. Severe slugging will cause periods of no liquid and gas production in the separator followed by very high liquid and gas flow rates:

Figure3: Severe (Terrain) Slugging in Pipeline Riser System

The resulting large pressure and flow-rate fluctuations are highly undesirable; sudden surges in liquid production could cause overflow and shutdown of the separator. Fluctuations in gas production could result in operational and safety problems during flaring, and the high pressure fluctuations could negatively impact the fields production performance and ultimately lead to a reduction in recoverable reserves. Currently, there are three basic elimination methods that have been proposed backpressure increase, gas lift, and choking. All other proposed techniques are based on these three methods. The backpressure-increase method eliminates severe slugging by increasing the system pressure, thereby significantly reducing production capacity. In gas lifting, external gas is injected into either the riser or the pipeline at the riser bottom to reduce the hydrostatic head in the riser or to increase the gas flow rate in the pipeline. Gas-lift equipment requires a large footprint on the platform and large amounts of gas to accomplish the elimination. The operational cost of gas lifting can be very significant. Choking increases the backpressure in proportion to the velocity increase in the riser. If the movement of the gas in the riser is stabilized before reaching the choke, steady flow will occur after a short flow period. The stabilization requires very careful choking to ensure minimum backpressure. Although there are several other methods proposed to eliminate severe slugging, their working principles are similar to or derivatives of the three methods described previously.

Figure4: Severe Slugging in Platform Riser

OLGA2000 MODEL The development of the dynamic two-phase-flow model OLGA2000TM started as a project for Statoil to simulate slow transients associated with mass transport, rather than the fast pressure transients well known from the nuclear industry. Problems of interest included terrain slugging, pipeline startup and shut-in variable production rates, and pigging. This implied simulations with time spans ranging from hours to weeks in extreme cases. Thus, the numerical method applied would have to be stable for long time steps and not restricted by the velocity of sound.


A first version of OLGA2000TM based on this approach was working in 1983, but the main development was carried out in a joint research program between the Institute for Energy Technology (IFE) and SINTEF, supported by Conoco Norway, Esso Norge, Mobil Exploration Norway, Norsk Hydro A/S, Petro Canada, Saga Petroleum, Statoil, and Texaco Exploration Norway. In this project, the empirical basis of the model was extended and new applications were introduced. Largely, the present model is a product of this project. PHASE BEHAVIOR STRATEGY Theoretically, there are two methods in pipeline simulation to define flowing fluid: Compositional Model and Black Oil Model. In Black Oil or Two-fluid model, flowing fluid is defined as a mixture of two hypothetical gas and liquid fluids where both of these fluids are treated as a single component fluid. The Gas component may be dissolved in the oil phase and this is taken into account through the Solution Gas Oil Ration (RS). However, the oil component cannot dissolve in the gas phase. It is recommended only for simulation of crude oil pipeline with little dissolved gas. Whereas in compositional model, flowing fluid is introduced to simulation software with exact composition and distribution of each component in different phases shall be calculated with appropriate methods. OLGA2000TM has two options in order to define composition(s) of fluid(s) during pipeline simulation. First option, which is recommended for simulation of GasCondensate pipelines, is Compositional Tracking. By using this module it is possible to enter fluid(s) composition in OLGA2000TM environment and then every time OLGA2000TM need to determine possibility of available phases and required properties and composition of each phase using this module to perform rigorous flash calculation. In second option, PVTsimTM can be used to define available fluid(s) information and let PVTsimTM to generate a file containing required data by OLGA2000TM. During pipeline simulation, OLGA2000TM uses this file for thermo-physical properties prediction. For gascondensate pipeline simulation characterization of heavy end known as C6+ is very important during pipeline simulation. A recent study applied different C6+ characterization techniques to generate a phase envelope:

Figure5: Performance of different C6+ Characterization

It is highly recommended for sound processes design and operation, at least one experimental saturation measurement such as dewpoint or bubble point near the potential operating conditions to characterize the heavy ends. Once the characterization is established, one should use additional experimental measurement to verify the accuracy and validity of the tuning technique. RESULTS AND CONCLUSION The validation of OLGA2000TM pipeline and well simulation model using the data of real pipelines and wells proves that it predicts the pressure drop within the uncertainty of 10% for pipelines and 11% for wells. Further improvements in two phase flow modeling are necessary for highly downward inclinations, annular flow regime and two-phase flow hydrodynamics at very low gas and liquid flowrate.

Figure6: Holdup Predictions for Gas Condensate Field Data with OLGA2000TM


Figure7: Pressure Drop Predictions for Gas Condensate Field Data with OLGA2000TM


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