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Prediction of Pressure Gradients for Multiphase

Flow in Tubing
GEORGE H. FANCHER, JR.*
JUNIOR MEMBER AIME THE U. OF TEXAS
KERMIT E. BROWN AUSTIN, TEX.
MEMBER AIME

ABSTRACT flow patterns do not allow anyone correlation to


be accurate for all ranges of flow.
An 8, OOO-ft experimental field well was utilized
to conduct flowing pressure gradient tests under INTRODUCTION
conditions of continuous, multiphase flow through
2 Jl8-in. OD tubing. The well was equipped with The ability to analytically predict the pressure
10 gas-lift valves and 10 Maihak electronic pressure at any point in a flow string is essential in deter-
recorders, as well as instruments to accurately mining optimum production string dimensions and
measure the surface pressure, temperature, volume in the design of gas-lift installations. This infor-
of injected gas and fluid production. mation is also invaluable in predicting bottom-hole
These tests were conducted for flow rates ranging pressures in flowing wells.
from 75 to 936 BID at various gas-liquid ratios Although this problem is not new to industry, it
from 105 to 9,433 scflbbl. An expanding-orifice has by no means been solved completely for all
gas-lift valve allowed each flow rate to be produced types of flow condit'ions. Versluys,2 Uren, et al,3
with a range of controlled gas-liquid ratios. From Gosline,4 May,S and Moore, et al, 6, 7 were all
these data an accurate pressure traverse has been early investigators of multiphase flow through
constructed for various flow rates and for various vertical conduits. However, all of these investiga-
gas-liquid ratios. tions and proposed methods were very limited as to
A comparison of these tests to Poettmann and their range of application. Likewise, many are
Carpenter's correlation indicates that deviations extremely complicated and therefore not very useful
occur for certain ranges of flow rates and gas- in the field.
liquid ratios. Numerous curves are presented Only in the last decade have any significant
illustrating the comparison of this correlation methods been proposed which are generally applic-
with the field data. Poettmann and Carpenter's able. The most widely accepted procedure in
correlation deviates some for low flow rates and, industry at the present time is a semi-empirical
method developed from an energy balance, proposed
in particular, for gas-liquid ratios in excess of
3,000 scflbbl. These deviations are believed to by Poettmann and Carpenter 8 in 1952. Their
be rna inly due to the friction-factor correlation. correlation is based on actual pressure measure-
However, Poettmann and Carpenter's correlation ments from field wells. Accurate predictions from
gives excellent agreement in those ranges of this correlation are limited to high flow rates and
higher density. This was as expected and predicted low gas-liquid ratios.
by Poettmann. He pointed out that their method Although this method will be discussed in
was not intended to be extended to those ranges of detail later, it should be pointed out that two
low densities whereby an extreme reversal in important parameters, namely the gas-liquid ratio
curvature occurs.1 and the viscosity, were omitted in their correlation.
As a result of these experimental tests, correla- The viscosity was justifiably omitted since their
data was in the highly turbulent flow region for
tions using Poettmann and Carpenter's method
both phases, and most wells fall in this category.
were established between the friction factors and
mass flow rates which are applicable for all gas- The gas -liquid ratio was incorporated to some
extent in the gas-density term. In 1954, Gilbert 9
liquid ratios and flow rates. Definite changing
presented numerous pressure gradient curves
obtained from field data for various flow rates and
Original manuscript received in Society of Petroleum
Engineers office Aug. 13, 1962. Revised manuscript received
gas-liquid ratios for the determination of optimum
Jan. 7, 1963. Paper presented at 37th Annual Fall Meeting flow strings. However, no method is presented for
of SPE, Oct. 7-10, 1962, in Los Angeles, Calif.
predicting pressure gradients except bJ' comparison
lReferences given at end of paper.
*Now associated with The California Oil Co. in Casper,
to these curves. Baxendell, et aI, 1 proposed a
Wyo. method based on P oettmann and Carpenter's procedure

MARCH, 1963 59
for high-rate flowing wells. Similarly, Tek 11 pre- traverse data to allow accurate prediction of the
sented a procedure for calculating pressure gradients pressure traverse in 2-in. tubing for any liquid flow
in two-phase flow by employing a two-phase Reynolds rate, and for any gas-liquid ratio in the range of
number and friction-factor function in Poettmann's these tests.
correlation. EXPERIMENT AL TESTING
Undoubtedly, the most significant correlation EQUIPMENT AND PROCEDURE
since Poettmann and Carpenter's is the one proposed
by Ros.12 This is a general; but complicated, The details of the experimental set-up and testing
procedure which is based on a pressure balance procedure has been previously outlined in a paper
between any two points in the flow string. The by Brown and J essen. 13 , 14 The test well was capa-
relationships between all variables w,~re investigated ble of making 1,000 BID of total liquid (95 per cent
by dimensional analysis from which ir:elevant groups salt water). The physical properties of the oil,
were eliminated. The resulting relationship consists water and gas are shown in Table l.
of a dimensionless pressure gradient expressed The production rate was controlled by a bottom-
in terms of a friction term and a liquid hold-up hole choke located at 6,077 ft. Once a particular
term (depending on slip only) for various flow flow rate had been set by a predetermined bottom-
patterns. However, this correlation is only for hole choke size, this particular liquid flow rate was
two-phase flow but may be linearly interpolated on maintained over a range of gas volume rates. This
the basis of percentage water-cut in the case of technique made possible the production of each
oil, water and gas systems (considerable error may barrel of liquid at different gas-liquid ratios. These
be introduced by this interpolation). Using our gas-liquid ratios changed from 9,433 scf/bbl for the
data, Ros reported agreement was excellent in all lowest liquid rates, to as low as 250 scf/bbl for
ranges of flow rates and gas-liquid ratios (+0.60 the highest liquid rates. The upper range of gas-
bias using his improved method). It should be liquid ratios was limited only by the maximum rate
emphasized that this method is extremely tedious at which gas could be supplied. Fortunately, a
and complicated for ordinary field use unless a peak gas supply of over 1.4 MMscf/D was available.
large computer is available. In order to be able to lift each liquid rate with
This paper represents the continuous-flow portion varying volumes of gas, a flexible-sleeve gas-lift
of an experimental gas -lift project covering both valve was used. It operates essentially as an
continuous and intermittent flow. The project was expanding-orifice regulator (Fig. 1). The resilient
conducted by The U. of Texas and was jointly element acts as an expanding orifice, and will open
sponsored by the Marathon Oil Co. (formerly the to pass the desired gas. This, in turn, allows one
Ohio Oil Co.), Sun Oil Co. and Otis Engineering predetermined liquid rate to be produced with vary-
Corp. A paper on intermittent flow was repotted by ing gas volumes. For example, the resilient element
Brown and Jessen. 13 This was also given in more could pass both the maximum rate of 1.4 MMscf/D and
detail in a technical re,r0rt to Marathon Oil, Sun Oil the minimum rate of 34 Mscf/D. A valve of this type
and Otis Engineering,1 as well as in a dissertation was necessary for these tests because a fixed-
orif~ce valve would not allow this flexibility.
by Brown. 1S
The purpose of these tests was to establish FIg. 2 shows all of the down-hole equipment. As
pressure traverses in 2 3/8-in. OD tubing for vary- can be seen, some 10 flexible-sleeve gas-lift valves
ing liquid flow rates as produced with varying gas- were installed along with 10 Maihak electronic
liquid ratios. The range of liquid flow rates was pressure transmitters. These pressure transmitters
between 75 and 936 BID. Each liquid flow rate was have been described previously in detail;17 there-
produced with a gas-liquid ratio that varied from fore, only a brief discussion will be presented.
105 to 9,433 scf/bbl, depending upon the total liquid These instruments measure the frequency of a
volume. stressed wire which is correlated with pressure.
It was futther intended to establish the reliability TABLE 1 - PHYSICAL PROPERTIES OF
of known methods for calculating pressure traverses. OIL, WATER AND GAS
Poettmann 8 had mentioned the possible limitations API Gravity at 60 F ____________________________ 34.0 0
of his method in the range of high gas-liquid ratios Farmation Volume Factor
and very low densities. Also, it has been anticipated at 3,375 psig ---------------------------------- 1.313
Gas in Solution at 3,375 psig ____________ 620 scf/bbl
that at high gas-liquid ratios a reversal in curvature
Oil Viscosity at 3,375 psig ________________ 0.46 cp
occurred in the pressure traverse. This investiga- Salt Water-Chlorides __________________________ 60,000 ppm
tion afforded an oppottunity to establish the exact Estimated Specific Gravity ________________ 1.065
gas-liquid ratio at which reversal occurred. Specific Gravity of Injected Gas
Because the well was making 95 per cent water, at Standard Cond it ions __________________ 0.57
the effect of viscosity could not be ascertained. Specific Gravity of So1ution Gas
at Standard Conditions _________________ 0.65
However, it has been pointed out by other authors 8 , 16
Bottom-Hole Pressure, March 14, 1961-- 3,375 psig
that viscous shear is negligible. In addition, be-
Original Reservoir Pressure---------------- 3,575 psig
cause water is more difficult to lift than oil, the Original Reservoir Temperature ------------ 193 F
water-gradient curves can be used with confidence Saturation Pressure ____________________________ 3,575 psig
for the purpose of artificial-lift design. Tubing Size ------------------------------------- 2 3/B-in. OD
Another objective was to obtain sufficient pressure- Plastic-coated

60 SOCIETY OF PETROLEUM ENGINEERS JOURNAL


Each transmitter was connected by one conductor to METHODS OF PREDICTING
the surface with the tubing acting as ground to PRESSURE GRADIENTS
complete the circuit. By individually swit.ching from
Many methods have been developed for predicting
one transmitter to the other, a recordlOg of the
pressure gradients in vertical, multiphase flow.
pressure at each transmitter location could be
However, this discussion is limited to Poettmann
obtained. Calibration both before and after each
and Carpenter's method 8 because it seems to be
test indicated a maximum error of 0.62 per cent for
the most reliable and is the generally accepted
anyone instrument. Most of the continuous-flow
method. Also, a correlation which is based on
tests were conducted with gas being injected at a
Poettmann and Carpenter's work has been developed.
valve located at 2,774 ft. The valves above and
It is shown that their method can be extended to
below were closed to prevent the installation from
include other ranges of flow.
moving from one valve to the other as the rate of
gas injection was changed. POETTMANN AND CARPENTER'S METHOD
As can be seen from the surface installation (Fig.
This semi-empirical correlation of Poettmann and
3) an input-gas regulator was used to maintain a
Carpenter is based on field data from 49 wells (34
c;nstant downstream pressure and a uniform rate of
flowing wells and 15 gas-lift wells) covering only a
gas injection. The liquid and gas production was
limited range of flow rates and gas-liquid ratios.
measured to the nearest 1 14 gal by a Rollo Test
The gas-oil ratios or gas-liquid ratios were con-
Separator. Production was also measured at another
stant for each flow rate. Most of the tests on the
calibrated test separator and liquid test meter before
gas-lift wells were in the range of total liquid flow
entering the tanks.
rates between 300 and 800 BID and gas-liquid ratios
The pressure was recorded at all points above
between 100 and 800 scf/bbl.
the point of injection. Gas was injected through
An energy balance between any two points in the
Valve No.9 or 10 at 2,774 ft or 2,182 ft, respectively
flowing string in which the flowing fluid was treated
(Fig. 2). Therefore, pressure recordings were made
as a single homogeneous phase was developed as
using Maihak Pressure Transmitters 7, 8, 9 and 10 the basis for their correlation. The irreversible
located at 477,969, 1,685 and 2,493 ft, respectively,
energy losses were incorporated in a Fanning-type
and at the surface. From these recordings (all above
friction-factor term. A correlation was developed by
the point of gas injection), the pressure traverse
back-calculating the friction term from field data
down the hole was obtained for a controlled gas-
and plotting it against the numerator of the Reynolds
liquid ratio.
number. Viscosity effects were not included in this
correlation due to the high degree of turbulence of
both phases. Viscous shear is negligible if both

r- -
,-----
---+- PROOUCTION

~
:NJECTION GAS----+-~

.",",._. ,JI
,.25 ""
OTIS SLEEVE VALVE#IQ-218Z' 1
r
[
. " , . , PRESSUR' , . . . .",rTfR _

hlAIHAK PRESS TRANS IIIf 9

."HA,.RESS ,.ANS _ . . ,'


-9~
,o-m'

(600P51)
r;.-'MA1HAK PRESS TRANS -#1-249"

QTISSLEEVE VALVE # 9-2174'


(57~ PSI)

OTIS SLEEVE VALVE" 8 - 3269' ,.,.-'MAIHAK PRESS TRANS #6 -3302'


(~!>O?SI)

ons SLEE'V vALvt_7-4072'


(5~PSI)
r+-MA1HAK PRESS TRANS #5- 4290'

OTIS SLEEVE VALVE #6-4785'


(500 P5 1)

ons SLfEYE VALli[


(4~PSI)
'II' -5377'
r+-MAIHAK pRESS T'RA"" ..... -5t.O

r;.- .....tHAI( TfMP. TRANS ..... '-5n7'


CAMeo fiIIM YAHOREl - 5914'
ons SlEEVE VALVE.3 -'924' (45O PSI VI6" PORT )
ons SLEEVE VALVE # Z-'936'
(4SOPSI- 1/2" PORT)
OTIS GAS Uf'T VALVE #!-!948'
(4~ PSt-! POftT) f,.. IIlAtHAI< PRSS TRANS .. 2-!956'
80TTOM HOLE CHOKE - 6077' -
~ ,.,.. MA'HAII: PRESS TRMS .. I -6UO'

2 roo TUBING----- 5f CA$(NG


CtOSED ~fNfO

... ""eKE" - 7840'


PERFQftATEO - 7870 73'-f

FIG. 1 - FLEXIBLE SLEEVE VALVE. FIG. 2 - DOWN -HOLE EQUIPMENT.

MARCH, 1963
61
phases are in a high degree of turbulence. However, was assumed to be linear and the average flowing
for highly viscous fluids, a calculation of the temperature was used. In several tests, the flowing
Reynolds number may show one fluid to be in the surface temperature was obtained from the corre-
viscous flow region. It is known that, if either lation between flowing surface temperature flow
fluid is in the viscous flow region, then viscosity rate and gas-liquid ratio. (Fig. 4) Also, the compres-
cannot be neglected. Poettmann has pointed out sibility factor of the gas was assumed equal to one.
that their correlation is not valid for those regions This should not be neglected for high pressures and
of flow where either fluid is in the viscous flow gases with numerous impurities. In these tests, a
region.! Also, the slippage of the gas by the liquid dry gas (specific gravity = 0.57) and pressures less
was not separated from wall friction in their corre- than 600 psig were encountered. Two comparisons
lation. were made using the program procedure and the
However, this irreversible energy loss is inher- original method, with no assumptions. The maximum
ently incorporated in their friction-factor correlation deviation between the two procedures was 0.80
because it was obtained empirically from field data per cent.
in which slippage undoubtedly occurred.
In programming Poettmann and Carpenter's method PROPOSED CORRELATION
for the 1604 Control Data Corp. computer, it was When Poettmann and Carpenter's correlation was
necessary to make several assumptions and ap- applied to the field data, deviations were noted in
proximations. Equations were written for the so- several ranges of flow rates and gas-liquid ratios
lution gas and formation volume factor as a function (Figs. 24 through 32). Because of these deviations,
of pressure. Two simplifying assumptions were an empirical correlation based on their method was
also necessary. The flowing temperature gradient developed to fit the field data for the particular

fi-
_.r TUB'NG .... ESSURE

GAGE

MANUAL
RECEIVER

CENTRAL CONTROL PANEL

~------------------------
FIG. 3 - SURFACE TESTING EQUIPMENT.

I
.. ~
_.10 --- -- . I----

i- f-- _.- 1-- -


I
_+- _____ 1'0

t=:=: --- r---


0 ~

--r-=::-----
100 . , . :-.:::::: I i

'Xl
eo.,. i-----':: 1 .0
I ,

'20
>00 810

~~.ID
,
t- r----
r-- ;::::lt--
t-- -~ -. 20

o~-.-
--=
--
. '0

100 810

I-- .
~. .

I ,
t-_
tI ~ ~. -
t
1----+ t-. -.---
,
,
>-
t
0 i i I .
I
100 )()()
"00 XlO
."'" '100 1000 2'00 nco zooo Z70D 2900 3100 00 >000 "00 ""'"
.1 00

GAS- LIQUID ... TID

FIG. 4 - CORRELATION FOR SURFACE FLOWING TEMPERATURE.

62 SOCIETY OF PETROLEUM ENGINEERS JOURNAL


ranges of flow rates and gas-liquid ratios involved. P = flowing density, lb/ cu ft,
Viscous shear was also found to be negligible d
in these tests due to the high degree of turbulence
jfJ = pressure gradient, psi/ft,
of both phases. However, the original Poettmann q oil flow rate, B/D,
and Carpenter correlation was extended to cover d diameter of pipe, ft.
the lower density ranges (in particular less than
10 lb / cu ft for 2 - in. tubing), which Poettmann The Fanning-type friction factor was plotted
stated was outside the range of their original data'! against the numerator of the Reynolds number (Fig.
This lower density range was further correlated by 5). The scattering of points in this correlation sug-
using the producing gas-liquid ratio as an addition- gests that an important parameter (or parameters)
al parameter. was neglected. By employing the gas-liquid ratio
The irreversible-energy-loss term was evaluated as an additional parameter, a correlation was de-
by back-calculation using field data to determine veloped between the Fanning friction factor and
the pressure gradient from the following equation. the numerator of the Reynolds number for three
ranges of gas-liquid ratios (Figs. 7, 8 and 9). In
f = 7.413 x 10 10 (p)(d)5 x 144[(dp/dH) comparing this correlation to that of Poettmann and
_ p]!q2 x M2 . . . (1) Carpenter (Fig. 6), only a small deviation is found
for gas-liquid ratios below 1. 5 Mscf/bbl and qM/ d's
where f = Fanning-type friction factor, between 15 and 50. This is to be expected because
.3.---------------, Poettmann's correlation was based on data in these
.. ,. .
ranges. Also, it should be noted that, as the gas-
liquid ratio increases, the wall friction decreases
FRICTION FACTOR' 7.4131f 'Nt 0
(Fig. 6). Although the friction factor is decreasing,
(Iv. (h.-h,) the pressure gradient increases at high gas-liquid
ratios due to a decrease in the flowing density as
shown in the following equation.

...
I
03

. . .. ...... . .

.. .... . .".... 0.1

... .. ..... ~.

.01
. . .. . ...... 000 0 0
I

10 40

1,4737.IO"MQ/O
FIG. 5 - BACK-CALCULATED FRICTION
FACTOR.
,,0..-----,---------------,
10 50
1.4737110"110/0

FIG. 7 - FRICTION-FACTOR CORRELA-


TION.
,I
~.--------------------,

..:
'"u
0
FRICTION FACTOR
CAl.CULATiON FROM
FIE'LD IlIEI'A FOR

..~
!l
1500<GIl < 3000

01
e:

COl

OOIL-~~~~~L_~~~~~~~~~~~ ,OC'~S--~~~~~IO~---~--~-~~J60
~ m 00
0pV'1.47371 10"M0/0 1.4737 liD" MOlD

FIG. 6 -- COMPARISON OF FRICTION-FACTOR FIG. 8 - FRICTION-FACTOR CORRELA-


CORRELATION. TION.

MARCH, 1963 63
deviations were less than 10 per cent in all ranges
dp =_1_ (2) of gas-liquid ratios for flow rates greater than 414
dH 144 B/D. In general, for flow rates less than 414 B/D,
considerable deviation was found, regardless of
Therefore, as the gas-liquid ratio increases and the gas -liquid ratio. In particular, for flow rates
the liquid rate decreases, pressure gradients calcu- less than 312 B/D, average deviations were greater
lated from Eq. 2 are influenced more and more by than - 20 per cent. For gas-liquid ratios greater
the second term of Eq. 2. than 1 Mscf/bbl and for flow rates less than 192
Correlations were developed for the producing B/D, the average deviations were greater than - 80
gas-liquid ratio (Figs. 6 through 9). Correlations per cent (Figs. 27, 28, 31 and 32).
have been previously developed for in situ gas- These results are to be expected from Poettmann
liquid ratios. However, it was found that excellent and Carpenter's correlation since, as mentioned
agreement was obtained by using the producing previously, all irreversible energy losses are in-
gas-liquid ratio as a parameter. corporated in a friction-factor term, for the range
of their data, and fail to hold for the low density
DISCUSSION 0 F RESULTS ranges. This correlation shows that the original
In discussing the results of this investigation, Poettmann and Carpenter correlation can be used
the reliability and range of application of both cor- to give greater accuracy in the low density ranges
relations, viscosity, the effect of gas-liquid ratio, by using the gas-liquid ratio as a parameter (Fig. 6).
heading phenomena and reverse curvature will be
discussed. PROPOSED CORRELATION
POETTMANN AND CARPENTER'S CORRELATION Predicted pressure traverses were in excellent
agree me nt for all flow rates and gas-liquid ratios
Pressure traverses predicted by this method were for liquid flow rates greater than 330 B/D (Figs.
in close agreement to field data for flow rates of 13 through 23). The maximum error was 5.8 per
936 to 420 B/D in the range of gas-liquid ratios cent. For flow rates between 192 and 330 B/D,
possible to obtain (Figs. 13 through 22). For flow the maximum average deviation was - 22.2 per cent;
rates greater than 600 B/D in all ranges of gas- however, in all but four tests, the deviation was
liquid ratios, the average deviations were less than less than 10.8 per cent. In general, for flow rates
5.0 per cent. For flow rates of 552 and 504 B/D below 192 B/D, agreement was good for all ranges
and gas-liquid ratios of 1.7 and 1.9 Mscf/bbl, the of gas-liquid ratios (Figs. 26 through 32). The av-
average per cent deviations were - 10.3 and - 11.7, erage deviation exceeded 10 per cent in only five
respectively. Except for these two flow rates, all tests in which the maximum deviation was - 26.7
~~------------------------,
per cent. In this range of flow rates and gas-liquid
QIO-,------------------,
FRICTION FACTOR
CAI.llAA1'tD . - FRICTION 'ACTOR
FIELD DATA FOR
CALCULATED
GIL>sooo 'ROM FIELD DoCTA
'OR
1500 < GIL <3000

' .
.01

.OOSL--~-~~~~~I:':-O--~~-~--~-'::!IOO
.oaI L -~-'-~~......l10---~-~---:50
3
1.4737,10"'MQ
1.4737,10-'MQlO 01'0,.
FIG. 9 -- FRICTION-FACTOR CORRELA- FIG. 11 -- FRICTION-FACTOR CORRELA-
TION. TION INCLUDING THE LIQUID VISCOSITY.
~r-------------------------------,
.10,..------------------,
FRICTION FACTOR
CALCULA)EO FRICTION FACTOR
01 FROM FIELO OATA CALCULATED
FOR
~If
FROM FIElD DilTA
0< GIL < 1500

~ro.
O!

;. .:. GIL >3000

01
"
0
.
01

.006
003'L------~--~10---~~~~100~--~~----- 10 100

1.4737,10-' MO 1.4737,10-'MO

0,.,,0- 01'''
FIG. 10 -- FRICTION-FACTOR CORRELA- FIG. 12 -- FRICTION-FACTOR CORRELA-
TION INCLUDING THE LIQUID VISCOSITY. TION INCLUDING THE LIQUID VISCOSITY.

64 SOCIETY OF PETROLEUM ENGINEERS JOURNAl.


ratios, Poettmann's correlation resulted in devi-
tests that the viscosity of the liquid mixture was
ations greater than - 100 per cent for most tests negligible (Figs. 10, 11 and 12).
(Figs. 31 and 32). Again, it should be emphasized
Poettmann and Carpenter 8 found that viscous
that Poettmann and Carpenter did not expect their
shear was negligible. This is true if both phases
correlation to hold for all these ranges.
are in highly turbulent flow, as was the case for
VISCOSITY their correlation. However, Ros12 indicated that
the viscosity has a significant effect on pressure-
The effect of viscosity on the friction-factor cor-
traverse predictions for fluids with viscosities
reI ation was investigated. It was determined in these
greater than 6 cstk. This undoubtedly places the
o
liquid in a viscous or partial-viscous flow region.
~
I
0.936 BID

\\ GIL- 324 SCFI BBl

~
\ o - 792 BID
1------------
6 FIELD DATA
~~ G/l-e90 SCF/BBl
"2
.
POETTlIANH 8 CARPENTER
I\, I

6
2
1::
-L
Ii:
~ ~
CALCULATED FROM FRICTION
FACTOR CORRELAnON
-

12
_\ 6. FIELD DATA

POETTMANN 8 CARPENTER
~

_\ 16
"0
.
..... '\ 0 CALCULATED
"<e"
FRICTION
FACTOR OORREl..ATION

\
20
t-
~ o ~ ----- ------

\
24

24 -- -

0
aN 00 600 eoo
PMSSlIIE. PSI

o 200 400 6 0 800


FIG. 13 - COMPARISON OF PRESSURE TRAVERSES. PRESSURE. PSI

o FIG. 16 - COMPARISON OF PRESSURE TRAVERSES.

\ I o


\
o - 936 1110
GIL 525 SCF/BEL \ o 696 BID
l"ELD DATA
\
,
GIL - 643 SCF/BEL

1\ a POETT....N CARPENTER 8

\
I
6 FIELD DATA

,
12 o CALCULATED fROM FRICTION -
"2

\
a POE TTMAHN 8 CARPlNTER
FACTOR CCIIRLATION.

I. t" 2

1\
o CALQJLATED FROM FRAC110H
FACTOf' CORRELATlON.
-

20
\ 6
~ .. as {COUftTES"I' OF SHELL}

\ . 0

~

0
_zoo 400 100 eoo
4

0
PRESSURE,PSI
200 ~ )Q

FIG. 14 - COMP A RISON OF PRESSURE TRAVERSES.


FIG. 17 - COMPARISON OF PRESSURE TRAVERSES.
o

\
o

\

\ Q .799 BID
GIL '400 SCF/BBL
~
~
Q 696 BID

\,
GIL' 1195 SCF/BBL
'" FIELD DlU --

~
t::. FIELD DATA
a POETTMAHN CARPENTER POETTMAHN CARPENTER
12 -

~
o CALCULATED ftROM .... CTI(III 12 o CAL..QI..AT'tD FROM FRtCTlON -

.'."'
"2
\\
0 FACTOR CClfWtELATIOH
FACTOR CORRELATION.
I. 16
t:'

II)
~.
I!I
\ ~
.
Ii:
i!i
\\
20

\~
4

~
o 200 400 500 800 0
200 400 00 BOO
I'IIDSUIIl. " ' ~PSI

FIG. 15 - COMPARISON OF PRESSURE TRAVERSES. FIG. 18 - COMPARISON OF PRESSURE TRAVERSES.

MARCH. 1963
65
However, it was impossible to establish the effect For any mass flow rate, the friction term de-
of viscosity on the pressure traverse because the creases as the gas-liquid ratio increases. Due to
well was producing 95 per cent salt water. this fact, separate friction-factor correlations were
developed for three ranges of gas-liquid ratios -
GAS-LIQUID RATIO
o to 1.5 Mscf/bbl, 1.5 to 3.0 Mscf/bbl, and greater
The results indicate that the gas-liquid ratio is than 3.0 Mscf/bbl. Using the gas-liquid ratio as an
a very important parameter. In particular, it must be additional parameter, accurate pressure traverses
considered for flow rates less than 300 BID, re- were predicted for all flow rates and gas-liquid ratios.
gardless of the gas-liquid ratio.
o

8
\1\.
, o 600 BID
GIL' 178 SCFI BBL
I I:. FIELD DATA

"
t:. FIELD DATA
o POETTMANN Eli CARPENTER
a POETTN ANN S CARPENTER 12
2 - o CALCULATED FROM FRICTION
Q CALCULATED FROM FlICTtON

. I\.
0 FACTOR CORRELATION
FACTOR CCARELATION.
16
.
>-
16

~,
%
I-
o.
l'l 20~~---~--~~~-------+-----~---~
0

4
"- ~
!
24f------+_

200 400 600 o 200 400 600 800


PRESSuFE, PSI PRESSURE, PSI

FIG. 19 - COMPARISON OF PRESSURE TRAVERSES. FIG. 22 - COMPARISON OF PRESSURE TRAVERSES.

o
o I .~ I

\ ~
0, - 336 BID
GI L - 2 180 SCF/BBL
400
4
I
f\
0-600B/D
GIL' I 0~6 SCFI BBL
I 800 \"1\ A FIELD OITA -

\ ~ \
A FIELD DATA o POETT..... a CARPENT1t
c POETTMANN a CAfl=lENTER o CALCULATED FROM
12 - 1200 FRICTION FACTOR CCJItRE-

16
~

t
. \
o CALC\,l...ATEO ~OM

fACTOR CORRELATION
FRICTION

1600 1\ 1\ LATtON

\
"'\ " 1\
X
I-
o.
20
l!! 2000

240 0
\~
1\1
24
\':
o 200 400 600 o 100 200 300
I
400 500 600 100 800
PRESSURE. PSI PRESSURE. PSI

FIG. 23 - COOPARISON OF PRESSURE TRAVERSES.


FIG. 20 - COMPARISON OF PRESSURE TRAVERSES.

o 0

\ ~

12
-- \ , o - ~04 BID
GIL 790 SCF/BBL

o
I

o
FIELD DATA

POETTMA~ "

CALCULATED fROM
CARPENTA

fRICTIQN-
4

12
\\
\ 1\
o - 312
GIL -2 21~ SCFI BBL
I
BIO

A FIELD DATA

a POETTMANN a CAfFENTR
-

~ \ \
o CALCULATED !=HOM FRICTlON
1> FACTOR OORRElATICIriI
0
RtCTOR COMELATION
16 t: 16 ..... ~ )( ROS (COURTESY OF SHELL) -

l
"\\
-i
0
Ii:
l!! ~
4

FIG. 21 -
PRESSURE.PSI
200 400

COMPARISON OF PRESSURE TRAVERSES.


000 800
24

o
PRESSURE. PSI

FIG. 24 -
200
"
400
'\
COMPARISON OF PRESSURE TRAVERSES.
600

66 SOCIETY OF PETROLEUM ENGINEERS JOURNAL


HEADING sure traverses recorded. These pressure variations
Severe heading occurred in several tests (Figs. cannot be attributed to end-effects because the fluid
26, 27 and 32). In these figures, all pressures re- level was well above the bottom-hole choke and
corded at 477, 969, 1,685 and 2,493 ft were plotted critical flow existed through the gas-lift valve. Great
and indicate the pressure variations; i.e., the pres- care was taken also to minimize surface restrictions
sure did not stabilize as in the other tests. The which might affect the flow. The casing pressure
dash lines indicate the maximum and minimum pres- remained constant during each test, but the tubing
pressure fluctuated (Fig. 33). No correlation could
oF=~==~====~====~======~==~ be found between heading, flow rate and gas-liquid

4~--~~~~-- ______~________L-______~________~
Q. 192 BID 0~=4~~=====+======~====~======
GIL' 1035 SCF/BBL

l'::. fIELD DATA

a POETTWAHN a CARPENTER
12
0 o CALCULATED FROM FRICTION b. FiELD DATA
FACTOR CORRELATION

......
o POETTMANN a CARPENTER
16 )C ROS (COURTESY OF SHEt..L) 12 f - - - - - + - \ \
o CALCULATED FROM FRICTION

0
~ FACTOR CORRELATION

20 16 ::::_-------I-~------I---~ )0( ROS (eOURTE SY OF SHEL Ll


...x
2< 20 ~
~-r-----
200 400 .00 800
2<f-----f--~~-~ -----+1--
PRESSURE, PSI

FIG. 25 -- COMPARISON OF PRESSURE TRAVERSES. 200 <00 600 800


PRESSURE, PSI

FIG. 28 -- COMPARISON OF PRESSURE TRAVERSES.

0~~==4======+======~====~====~
~--~~~-------+----~-~~------~------~
Q. 144 BID
GIL' 795 SCF/BBL

l'::. FIELD DATA

o POE TTMANN a CARPENTER


6. FJELD DATA
121-----+--\.-*----';-----\:---+---
o CALCULATED FROM FRICTION
o POHlMANN 8 CARPENTER
FACTOR CORRELATION
12
CALCULATED FROM FRlCTOli
" :---~-~~~-~J------,-----y----~ <:>
..."- FACTOR CORRELATIC:W
i
:. 16
...x >< ROS (COURTESY OF SHELL)

20~O~_ _~~-+\-~~-+-\,---~~--.---+------ ~
20
24'------+\-_\_
2<

o 200 <00 .00 800


PRESSURE, PSI 600 800
PRESSUfIE,PSI
FIG. 26 -- COMPARISON OF PRESSURE TRAVERSES.
FIG. 29 -- COMPARISON OF PRESSURE TRAVERSES.

Q. 144 BID
G/L'1541 SCF/BBL
O' 114 BID
GIL' 1000 SCF/BBL

l'::. FIELD DATA


..:, FIELD DATA
D PO E TTMANN a CAR PENT[R

,
12 c: POETTMANN a CARPENTER
0
o CALCULATED FROM FRICTION. 12 f-------\A-
FACTOR CORRELATION o CALCULATED FROM FRICTION

...... )0( ReS (COURTESY OF SHELL)


FACTOR CORRELATION

" ~ -------+_lM_

--+---+--
16

~
\ ,.. ROS (eOURTES Y OF SHELL)

20
0 \ I
\ 201---"'------~-+

\ I i

: I 1
24 \--. t
I
2< --~-t------+--
I

200 a 200 400 600 BOO


PRESSURE, PS I PRESSURE, PSJ

FIG. 27 -- COMPARISON OF PRESSURE TRAVERSES. FIG. 30 -- COMPARISON OF PRESSURE TRAVERSES.

MARCH, 1963 67
ratio. However, heading always occurred at flow 2. In general, the proposed correlation is valid
rates below 192 BID. for all flow rates and gas-liquid ratios in the range
This heading phenomenon would make the design of these tests with an accuracy of 10 per cent.
of a gas-lift installation somewhat more difficult. 3. The gas-liquid ratio is definitely a significant
A safe design would be to use the maximum pres- parameter in the friction-factor correlation.
sure traverse occurring, whereas the use of the av- 4. Severe heading was noted in several ranges of
erage traver se might result in a stymied condition gas-liquid ratios for flow rates less than 192 BID;
in attempting to reach the operating gas-lift valve. however, it was impossible to determine any cor-
relation between heading, flow rate and gas-liquid
REVERSE CURVATURE
ratio.
At very high gas-liquid ratios, a reversal in cur- 5. A reversal in curvature occurs in pressure
vature in the pressure traverse (9) was expected. traverses for flow rates in the low pressure region
However, the reversal in curvature appears to be and low density regions.
not only a function of the gas-liquid ratio, but also 6. It is believed that these data will allow ad-
of the flow rate and pressure. In general, as the ditional correlations to be checked.
flow rate decreases and the gas-liquid ratio increases,
a reversal in curvature occurs at a particular gas- RECOMMENDA nONS
liquid ratio for flow rates less than 400 BID (Figs. This work shou'rd be extended to cover the fol-
23, 28 and 32). In particular, for flow rates of 336, lowing factor s.
312 to 192, 144 and 114 BID, a reversal in curvature 1. These tests should be extended to cover other
occurred for gas-liquid ratios greater than 2.0, 3.0, tubing sizes because it might be erroneous to at-
4.0 and 4.5 Mscf/bbl, respectively. Both correla- tempt to correlate these results to any other size
tions predict a reversal in curvature for flow rates of pipe.
below 400 BID, regardless of the gas-liquid ratio. 2. A complete set of pressure traverses should
A reversal in curvature is expected to occur at the be established for small tubing sizes.
very low pressures and low density ranges. 3. The effect of viscosity should be established
for all tubing sizes.
CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS 4. A complete set of working curves should be
Foettmann and Carpenter's method of correlation prepared to eliminate tedious calculations. (Fig. 34)
is shown to be applicable to predict pressure gra- ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
dients outside the range of their original data. This The authors wish to thank the managements of
has been done by including the gas-liquid ratio as the Marathon Oil Co. (formerly The Ohio Oil Co.),
an additional parameter. Their original correlation Sun Oil Co. and Otis Engineering Corp. for furnish-
has been shown to give excellent agreement in the ing the experimental well, surface equipment, down-
medium-to-high density range. Deviations begin to hole equipment and tubing jobs. In particular, they
occur at the point in their correlation where low extend thanks to Messrs. Wheeler, Grimes, Shearer,
densities occur. This was the point where a reversal Spellman and Herring of Marathon's Houston office;
in curvature was shown to occur and the point at to Bill Howard, Doyle Jones, Gilbert Naert, Cris
which Poettmann indicated that their correlation Murry and the men of the gang and gas plant; to Jim
may not hold. 1 Evans, petroleum engineer with Marathon; to Carlos
Canalizo, Don Taylor and Wally Robertson of the
CONCL USIONS
Dallas office of Otis Engineering; to Bill Bertman,
1. Poettmann and Carpenter's correlation shows Harold Menke and Walter Groth of the Otis Engineer-
excellent agreement for high flow rates, but results ing Bay City (Tex.) area; and to Messrs. Hodges
in large deviations for low flow rates and low density and Weiss of Sun Oil.
ranges. In particular, the authors would like to thank

8 ~

6. FIELD DATA

12

16
0

~
----i o POETTMANN

o CALCULATED
fACTOR
a
FROM
CARPENTER

CORRELATION
FRICTION

x ROS (COURTESY Of SHELL 1


12

16
--
0

~-
a POETTMANN

o CALCULATED
FACTOR
a
FROM
CARPENTER

CORRELATION
FRICTION

)( RDS (COURTESY OF SHE:lL)

~ ~
20 20f--"'--\--*--'.--
+-~t--
24f--- 24 f------t--+I\c-

000 200 800


PRESSURE, PSI PRESSURE, PSI

FIG. 31 - COMPARISON OF PRESSURE TRAVERSES. FIG. 32 - COMPARISON OF PRESSURE TRAVERSES.

68 SOCIETY OF PETROLEUM ENGINEERS JOURNAL


Q 600 BID ~_ _ _ _ _~

WOR 19/1

'f 11,!:t F
4~-~~--~~~------+--~~---t-----,

~5! ---
- - - G I L -'00 SCf/BBL

6 ----~~~---~~~------------~----------~
..
>'
%
~-------~~--~~~----
I!I

PMSSUft GRADIENT _--ll<-~~_+_--=----,--"",-_G:::./:::.L~'2::50::::.,:S::C:..:F/:::.BBL~_ _ _---1

'0 1000 4000


PRESSURE. PSI

FIG. 34 - WORKING CURVES.


7. Moore, T. V. and Schilthuis, R. J.: "Calculations of
Pressure Drops in Flowing Wells", Trans . AIME
(1933) Vol. 103, 170.
FIG. 33 - EXAMPLE OF HEADING.
8. Poettmann, F. H. and Carpenter, P. G.: "The Multi-
phase Flow of Gas, Oil and Water through Vertical
Fred Poettmann of Marathon for his original interest Flow Strings with Application to the Design of Gas-
in the project and for his n:any comments and sug- Lift Installations", Drill. and Prod. Prac., API (1952)
gestions in preparing this paper. . 257.
It was from his original suggestiOn - that his 9. Gilbert, W. E.: "Flowing and Gas Lift Performance",
correlation may not be valid in the very low density Drill. and Prod. Prac .. API (1954) 126.
ranges - that this project was instigated. 10. Baxendell, P. B. and Thomas, R.: "The Calculation
of Pressure of Gradients in High-Rate Flowing Wells",
Thanks are due to Ralph Schilthuis of Humble
Trans., AIME (1961) Vol. 222, 1023.
Oil & Refining Co. for his suggestions and interest
11. Tek, M. Rasin: "Multiphase Flow of Water, Oil and
in this project. Natural Gas through Vertical Flow Strings", Trans.,
The authors are grateful to Nick Ros and H. E. AIME (1961) Vol. 222, 1029.
Gray of Shell Oil Co. for their contributions to the 12. Ros, N. J. C.: "Simultaneous Flow of Gas and Liquid
production of this paper. as Encountered in Well Tubing", Trans., AIME (1961)
Appreciation is also extended to Lloyd Johnson Vol. 222, 1037.
and Osmar Abib for their assistance in programming 13. Brown, K. E. and Jessen, F. W.: "Evaluation of
the computer. Valve Port Size, Surface Chokes, and Fluid Fall
Back in Intermittent Gas-Lift Installations", Jour.
REFERENCES Pet. Tech. (March, 1962) 315.
1. Poettmann, F. H.: Private Communication. 14. Brown, K. E. and Jessen, F. W.: "Experimental Gas
Lift Project-The Vertical Flow of Liquid Slugs by
2. Versluys, J.: "Mathematical Development of the
Intermittent Gas Lift", Tech. Report to the Marathon
Theory of Flowing Oil Wells", Trans., AIME (1930)
Oil Co. (then Ohio Oil Co.), Sun Oil Co. and Otis
Vol. 86, 192. Engineering Corp. (May 1, 1962) 18.
3. Uren, L. C., et al: Oil and Gas Jour. (Oct. 3, 1929) 15. Brown, K. E.: "The Vertical Flow of Liquid Slugs
Vol. 28, 148. by Intermittent Gas Lift", Dissertation, The U. of
4. Gosline, J. E.: "Experiments on the Vertical Flow Texas (June, 1962).
of Gas-Liquid Mixtures in Glass Pipes", Trans., AIME 16. Brown, G. G. and Associates: Unit Operations, John
(1936) Vol. 118, 56. Wiley & Sons, Inc., N. Y. (1950).
5. May, C. J.: "Efficiency of Flowing Wells", Trans., 17. Lozano, G. and Harthorn, W. A.: "Field Tests Con-
AIME (1935) Vol. 114, 99. firm Accuracy of New Bottom-Hole Pressure Gauge",
6. Moore, T. V. and Wilde, H. D.: "Experimental Meas- Jour. Pet. Tech. (Feb., 1949) Vol. XI, No.2, 26.
urements of Slippage in Flow through Vertical Pipes", 18. Ros, N. C. J.: Private Communication.
Trans., AIME (1931) Vol. 92, 296.
***

MARCH, 1963 69