Flow in Tubing
GEORGE H. FANCHER, JR.*
JUNIOR MEMBER AIME THE U. OF TEXAS
KERMIT E. BROWN AUSTIN, TEX.
MEMBER AIME
MARCH, 1963 59
for highrate flowing wells. Similarly, Tek 11 pre traverse data to allow accurate prediction of the
sented a procedure for calculating pressure gradients pressure traverse in 2in. tubing for any liquid flow
in twophase flow by employing a twophase Reynolds rate, and for any gasliquid ratio in the range of
number and frictionfactor 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 setup 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 holdup 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
twophase flow but may be linearly interpolated on maintained over a range of gas volume rates. This
the basis of percentage watercut in the case of technique made possible the production of each
oil, water and gas systems (considerable error may barrel of liquid at different gasliquid ratios. These
be introduced by this interpolation). Using our gasliquid 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 gasliquid 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 continuousflow portion varying volumes of gas, a flexiblesleeve gaslift
of an experimental gas lift project covering both valve was used. It operates essentially as an
continuous and intermittent flow. The project was expandingorifice 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 downhole equipment. As
pressure traverses in 2 3/8in. OD tubing for vary can be seen, some 10 flexiblesleeve gaslift 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 gasliquid 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 gasliquid 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 gasliquid ratios a reversal in curvature
Oil Viscosity at 3,375 psig ________________ 0.46 cp
occurred in the pressure traverse. This investiga Salt WaterChlorides __________________________ 60,000 ppm
tion afforded an oppottunity to establish the exact Estimated Specific Gravity ________________ 1.065
gasliquid 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
BottomHole 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
watergradient curves can be used with confidence Saturation Pressure ____________________________ 3,575 psig
for the purpose of artificiallift design. Tubing Size  2 3/Bin. OD
Another objective was to obtain sufficient pressure Plasticcoated
r 
,
+ PROOUCTION
~
:NJECTION GAS+~
.",",._. ,JI
,.25 ""
OTIS SLEEVE VALVE#IQ218Z' 1
r
[
. " , . , PRESSUR' , . . . .",rTfR _
(600P51)
r;.'MA1HAK PRESS TRANS #1249"
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 gasliquid 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 frictionfactor 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 gasliquid 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
~
FIG. 3  SURFACE TESTING EQUIPMENT.
I
.. ~
_.10   . I
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
...
I
03
. . .. ...... . .
... .. ..... ~.
.01
. . .. . ...... 000 0 0
I
10 40
1,4737.IO"MQ/O
FIG. 5  BACKCALCULATED FRICTION
FACTOR.
,,0..,,
10 50
1.4737110"110/0
..:
'"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
MARCH, 1963 63
deviations were less than 10 per cent in all ranges
dp =_1_ (2) of gasliquid 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 gasliquid 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 gasliquid 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
gasliquid 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
gasliquid ratio as a parameter. corporated in a frictionfactor 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 gasliquid ratio, by using the gasliquid 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 gasliquid 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 gasliquid 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 gasliquid ratios of 1.7 and 1.9 Mscf/bbl, the of gasliquid 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 gasliquid
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  FRICTIONFACTOR CORRELA FIG. 11  FRICTIONFACTOR 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!
01
"
0
.
01
.006
003'L~~10~~~~100~~~ 10 100
1.4737,10' MO 1.4737,10'MO
0,.,,0 01'''
FIG. 10  FRICTIONFACTOR CORRELA FIG. 12  FRICTIONFACTOR CORRELA
TION INCLUDING THE LIQUID VISCOSITY. TION INCLUDING THE LIQUID VISCOSITY.
~
\ o  792 BID
1
6 FIELD DATA
~~ G/le90 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
\ 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
\
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
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 gasliquid ratio increases. Due to
well was producing 95 per cent salt water. this fact, separate frictionfactor correlations were
developed for three ranges of gasliquid ratios 
GASLIQUID RATIO
o to 1.5 Mscf/bbl, 1.5 to 3.0 Mscf/bbl, and greater
The results indicate that the gasliquid ratio is than 3.0 Mscf/bbl. Using the gasliquid 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 gasliquid ratios.
gardless of the gasliquid 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+_
o
o I .~ I
\ ~
0,  336 BID
GI L  2 180 SCF/BBL
400
4
I
f\
0600B/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
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
o
PRESSURE. PSI
FIG. 24 
200
"
400
'\
COMPARISON OF PRESSURE TRAVERSES.
600
4~~~~~ ______~________L______~________~
Q. 192 BID 0~=4~~=====+======~====~======
GIL' 1035 SCF/BBL
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
0~~==4======+======~====~====~
~~~~+~~~~~
Q. 144 BID
GIL' 795 SCF/BBL
20~O~_ _~~+\~~+\,~~.+ ~
20
24'+\_\_
2<
Q. 144 BID
G/L'1541 SCF/BBL
O' 114 BID
GIL' 1000 SCF/BBL
,
12 c: POETTMANN a CARPENTER
0
o CALCULATED FROM FRICTION. 12 f\A
FACTOR CORRELATION o CALCULATED FROM FRICTION
" ~ +_lM_
++
16
~
\ ,.. ROS (eOURTES Y OF SHELL)
20
0 \ I
\ 201"'~+
\ I i
: I 1
24 \. t
I
2< ~t+
I
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 gasliquid ratios in the range
This heading phenomenon would make the design of these tests with an accuracy of 10 per cent.
of a gaslift installation somewhat more difficult. 3. The gasliquid ratio is definitely a significant
A safe design would be to use the maximum pres parameter in the frictionfactor 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 gasliquid ratios for flow rates less than 192 BID;
in attempting to reach the operating gaslift valve. however, it was impossible to determine any cor
relation between heading, flow rate and gasliquid
REVERSE CURVATURE
ratio.
At very high gasliquid 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 gasliquid 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 gasliquid 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 gasliquid 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 gasliquid 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 gasliquid 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
mediumtohigh 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
16

0
~
a POETTMANN
o CALCULATED
FACTOR
a
FROM
CARPENTER
CORRELATION
FRICTION
~ ~
20 20f"'\*'.
+~t
24f 24 ft+I\c
WOR 19/1
'f 11,!:t F
4~~~~~~+~~t,
~5! 
   G I L '00 SCf/BBL
6 ~~~~~~~~
..
>'
%
~~~~~~
I!I
MARCH, 1963 69