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MAST : A TRANSIENT ONE-DIMENSIONAL SIMULATOR OF

MULTIPHASE FLOWS FOR FLOW ASSURANCE STUDIES

Dr. Marco Bonizzi1


TEA Sistemi Spa

Abstract
In the petroleum industry the production of gas and oil involves the transport of unseparated
reservoir fluids to some processing facilities where they are separated. The phases typically
transported from the reservoir to either offshore or onshore processing facilities are natural gas,
hydrocarbon liquid, water and sometimes even solid particles (such as sand). The pipe profile
depends on the terrain (if offshore it often runs into a vertical riser); its length can vary from some
kilometres to hundreds of kilometres. In order to ensure proper hydraulic design and proper
operation of the multi-phase transporting pipelines, it is necessary to determine the associated flow
characteristics, in particular pressure drop and liquid accumulated in the line. These characteristics
strongly depend on the spatial distribution (i.e. flow pattern) that the phases assume in the pipe
along its distance. Many variables can affect the resulting flow pattern, such as phases flow rates,
pipe diameter and pipe inclination. Given the overall picture, reliable computer simulators for
multiphase flows that can be used by petroleum engineers to conduct numerical studies of the
transportation lines are strongly desired. Within this context, a revolutionary simulator has been
developed by TEA Sistemi Spa, MAST (Multiphase Analysis & Simulation of Transitions).
Starting from the transient one-dimensional formulation, the code numerically integrates the
conservation equations (mass, momentum, pressure and energy) on a staggered grid arrangement
solving for each field (continuous and dispersed gas, continuous and dispersed liquid/s). High
spatial resolutions are adopted, which allow the code to predict the spatial and temporal evolution of
the phases interface in an automatic way. Hence the formulation predicts the development of flow
regimes and various flow parameters without the need for flow regime maps, or the need to change
closure relationships (which are required by the cross section averaging of the local instantaneous
formulation in order to derive the equations in one-dimensional form). Objective of the seminar will
be to give a general overview of the relevant flow patterns that generate with multiphase flows, to
outline the numerical framework (governing equations, numerical discretisation and time marching
procedure) in MAST and to present some results concerning the validation of the adopted
methodology against available literature and field data as well.

1) TEA Sistemi spa, Piazza Mazzini 1, 56127 Pisa (Italy) Tel.: +39-02-55601989; fax: +39-02-55607756. E-mail
address: marco.bonizzi@tea-group.com