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Abstract: A reliable estimation of the pressure drop in well tubing is essential for the solution of a nwnber of
important production engineering and reservoir analysis problems. Many empirical correlation and mechanistic
models have been proposed to estimate the pressure drop in vertical wells that produce a mixture of oil, water
and gas. Although, many correlations and models are available to calculate the pressure loss, these models
developed based on certain asswnption and for particular range of data where it may not be applicable to be
used in different sets of data. This study presents an investigation on the predictive performance evaluation
for the reliable methods used to calculate the pressure drop in multiphase vertical wells taking into
consideration the dimensions of each model. Most correlations and models created to calculate pressure drop
were developed based on accurately and reliably measured flow parameters. However, it can only work best
on the proposed data range. Statistical error analysis and graphical error analysis are used to analyze the
variation between predicted values and actual ones. Hence, it showed most reliable methods that can perform
well in different well conditions. Based on the analysis of this study, the artificial neural network models had
showed better prediction accuracy and minimwn nwnber of variables even if other data beyond the range of
data is used.
conditions such as: Emulsions, nonNewtonian flow oil. This correlation involves only dimensionless groups
behavior, excessive scale or wax deposition on the of variables and it can be applied over a much wider range
tubing wall, etc., can pose severe problems. of conditions compared to other correlations.
Accordingly, predictions in such cases could be doubtful This correlation had developed an equation for
(Takacs, 2001 ). twophase pressure drops in flowing and gaslift
The early approaches used the empirical correlation production wells over a wide range of well conditions with
methods such as (Hagedorn and Brown, 1965; Duns and range of precision about 10%. The method is an extension
Ros, 1963; Orkiszewski, 1967). Then the trend shift into of the study by Griffith and Wallis (I 961 ). The correlation
mechanistic modelling methods (Ansari et al., 1994; is valid for several flow regimes such as; bubble flow, slug
Aziz and Govier, 1972) and lately the researchers have flow, transition flow and annularmist flow. Orkiszewski
introduced the use of artificial intelligence into the oil and (I 967) proved his assumptions by comparing the
gas industry by using artificial neural networks such as measured pressure drop results of 184 wells to the
(Ayoub, 2004; Mohammadpoor et al., 2010). calculated ones. The parameters considered in his
The main purpose of this study is to evaluate and equation for the pressure drop are the effect by the
assess the cwrent empirical correlations, mechanistic energy lost by friction, the change in potential energy and
model and artificial neural networks for pressure drop the change in kinetic energy. The results obtained by
estimation in multiphase flow in vertical wells by these methods are still applicable for wide range of well
comparing the most common methods in this area. The conditions (e.g., heavy oil). But, there are some well
parameters affecting the pressure drop are very important conditions that have not been evaluated (e.g., flow in the
for the pressure calculation. Therefore, it will also be taken casing annulus and in the mist flow regime).
into accmmt in the evaluation.
Beggs and Brill (I 973), developed a method to predict
the pressure drop for horiwntal, inclined and vertical flow.
EMPIRICAL CORRELATIONS
It also takes into account the several flow regimes in the
multiphase flow. Therefore, Beggs and Brill (I 973)
The empirical correlation was created by using
correlation is the most widely used and reliable one by the
mathematical equations based on experimental data. Most
industry. In their experiment, they used 90 ft long acrylic
of the early pressure drop calculation was based on this
pipes data. Fluids used were air and water and 584 tests
correlations because of its direct applicability and fair
were conducted. Gas rate, liquid rate and average system
accuracy to the data range used in the model generation.
pressure was varied. Pipes of 1 and 1.5 inch diameter
In this study, the empirical correlations for pressure drop
were used. The parameters used are gas flow rate, Liquid
estimation in multiphase flow in vertical wells are reviewed
flow rate, pipe diameter, inclination angel, liquid holdup,
and evaluated with consideration of its required
pressure gradient and horizontal flow regime. This
dimensions, performance, limitation and range of
correlation has been developed so it can be used to
applicability.
This empirical correlation is resulted from laboratory predict the liquid holdup and pressure drop.
experiments with some modification and adjustments in AP! (I 978) stated that the Gray correlation was
the correlation by using actual field data. Duns and Ros developed by Gray (I 978), specifically for wet gas wells.
(1963) correlation is in terms of a dimensionless gas Although, this correlation was developed for wet gas
velocity number, diameter number, liquid velocity number vertical flow but it can also be used in multiphase vertical
and a dimensionless mathematical expression. The and inclined flow. In his correlation flow is treated as
acceleration gradient is neglected in the methods. single phase and dropped out water or condensate is
Although, this method is developed to calculate the assumed to adhere to the pipe wall. The parameters
pressure drop with dry oil/gas mixtures, it can also be considered in this method are the phase velocity, tube
used with wet oil/gas mixtures in some cases. size gas condensate ratio and water ratio. The pressure
Correlation is one of the most common correlations difference due to friction is calculated using the Fanning
used in the industry. Hagedorn and Brown (I 965) friction pressure loss equation.
developed a correlation using an experimental study of Mukherjee and Brill (I 985) proposed a correlation for
pressure gradients occurrmg during continuous Pressure loss, Holdup and flow map. Their correlation was
twophase flow in small diameter vertical conduits, a developed following a study of pressure drop behaviour
1500 ft vertical wellbore and considering 5 different fluids in twophase inclined flow. However, it can also be
types in the experiment which is water and four types of applied to vertical flow. Prior knowledge of the liquid
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J. Applied Sci., 14 (23): 31623171, 2014
holdup is needed to compute the pressure drop using that is composed of 1775 well cases, with 371 of them from
Mukherjee and Brill (I 985) correlation. The results Prudhoe Bay data. Ansari el al. (1994) claimed that the
obtained from their experiments were verified with overall performance of the comprehensive model is
Prudhoe Bay and North Sea data. superior to all other methods considered with an
exception of Hagedorn and Brov\Tll (1965) empirical
MECHANISTIC MODELS correlation due to extensive data used in its development
and modifications made to the correlation.
Mechanistic models or knovVll also as semiempirical
correlations deal with the physical phenomena of the ARTIF1CIAL NEURAL NETWORKS
multiphase flow. These kinds of models are developed by
using mathematical modelling approach. A flmdamental An artificial neural networks model is a structure
hypothesis in this type of models is the existence of (network) composed of a nwnber of interconnected mrits
various flow configurations or flow patterns, including (artificial neurons). Each unit has an Input/Output (1/0)
stratified flow, slug flow, annular flow, bubble flow, chwn characteristic and implements a local computation or
flow and dispersed bubble flow. The first objective of this function (Jahanandish el al., 2011). It has been only a few
approach is thus, to predict the existing flow pattern for a years since neural networks first gained popularity. In the
given system. Although, most of the cwrent presented past two to three years banks, credit card a companies,
mechanistic models have been developed rmder certain manufacturing companies, high tech companies and many
conditions which limit their ability to be used in different more institutions have adopted neural nets to help in their
range of data, these models are expected to be more daytoday operation. Most researchers believe that
reliable and general because they incorporate the artificial neural networks may be able to produce what rule
mechanisms and the flow important parameters based artificial intelligence (expert systems) have
(Gomez et al., 2000). promised for so long but failed to deliver.
Aziz and Govier (1972), have proposed a simple The use of Artificial Neural Networks (ANNs) in
mechanistically based scheme for pressure drop petrolewn industry can be tracked back several years ago.
calculation in wells producing oil and gas. The scheme The literature has many industry problems solved by
was based on the identification of the flow pattern map. several authors using ANNs models. ANNs have been
The mechanical energy equation was presented in the used in several area of oil and gas industry such as;
relationship between the pressure gradient, the flow rate, permeability prediction, well testing, enhanced oil
the fluid properties and the geometry of the flow duct. recovery, PVT properties prediction, improvement of gas
While the model proposed new equations for bubble and well production, prediction and optimization of well
slug flow patterns, it recommended the old Drm and Ros performance and integrated reservoir characterization and
equations for annular mist pattern. The new prediction portfolio management (Ayoub, 2004).
method incorporates an empirical estimation of the Experience showed that empirical correlations and
distribution of the liquid phase between that flowing as a mechanistic models failed to provide a satisfactory and
film on the wall and that entrained in the gas core. It reliable tool for estimating pressure drop in multiphase
employs separate momentum equations for the gasliquid flowing wells. Large errors are usually associated with
mixture in the core and for the total contents of the pipe. these models and correlations (Takacs, 2001 ). Artificial
The model has presented 44 values of predicted pressure neural networks gained wide popularity in solving difficult
drop with absolute error almost equal to that for and complex problems, especially m petrolewn
Orkiszewski (1967) correlation. However, the rmcertainties engineering (Mohaghegh and Arneri, 1995).
and lack of some filed data made it difficult to develop a Ayoub (2004) model, presented an Artificial Neural
fully mechanistically, reliable based computation method. Networks (ANNs) model for prediction bottomhole
Mechanistic model is developed by Ansari et al. flowing pressure and consequently the pressure drop in
(1994), for upward twophase flow in wellbores. This vertical multiphase flow. The model was developed and
model was developed as part of the Tulsa University Fluid tested using field data covering a wide range of variables.
Flow Projects (TUFFP) research program. The model A total of 206 field data sets collected from Middle East
predicted the existence of four flow patterns which are; fields; were used to develop the ANN model. These data
bubble flow, slug flow, chwn flow and annular flow. The sets were divided into training, cross validation and
model was evaluated by using the TUFFP well databank testing sets in the ratio of 3: 1: 1. The testing subset of data
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J. Applied Sci., 14 (23): 31623171, 2014
which was not seen by the ANN model during the training • Mukherjee and Brill (1985) correlation
phase, was used to test the prediction accuracy of the • Orkiszewski (1967) correlation
model. Trend analysis of the model showed that the model
correctly predicted the expected effects of the EVALUATION PROCESS
independent variables on bottomhole flowing pressure.
This indicated that the model simulates the actual The common obstacle for using a pressure drop
physical process. Although, the results showed that his method whether it's an empirical correlation, a mechanistic
model significantly outperformed all existing methods and model or an artificial neural network model that most of
provided predictions with higher accuracy. The author these models are applicable for specific range of data and
claimed that his model can be used only within the range conditions in order to predict the pressured drop
of used data. Consequently, caution should be taken accurately. However, in some cases, it can work well also
beyond the range of used input variables. Ayoub (2004) in some actual filed data with acceptable perdition error.
model demonstrates the power of artificial neural networks To analyse and compare the effectiveness of each
correlation or model, the values of both measured and
model in solving complicated engineering problems.
predicted pressure drop are recorded. All the selected
correlations and models are evaluated using actual filed
SOURCE OF DATA
data where the predicted pressure drop is compared to the
measured one. The analysis is conducted via statistical
A total of 260 data sets were collected from different
and graphical error analysis.
Middle East fields and believed to be quite reliable. The
Statistical error analysis has been used to check the
data used for comparing the different pressure predicting
accuracy of the model. The statistical parameters used in
methods covers an oil rate from 4519618 BPD, water cut
this study are average absolute percent relative error,
upto 91.8%, oil gravity from 13.6037.00API and wellhead average percent relative error, maximwn absolute
pressure from 5640 psi. All data sets which consistently percentage error, minimwn absolute percentage error, root
resulted in poor predictions by all correlations and mean square error, coefficient of determination and the
mechanistic models were considered to be invalid; hence, standard deviation of error. Equations for those
it has been removed. Table 1 shows the statistical parameters are given in the appendix. To confinn the
analysis of the used data. obtained results only one graphical error analysis used
which is cross plot. Cross plots were used to compare the
Selected methods for evaluation: Based on the extensive performance of all the selected models. A 45° straight line
literature study carried out by the authors, six empirical between the calculated pressure drop values versus
correlations, from which two mechanistic models and one measured pressure drop values is plotted which
artificial neural networks model were selected for represents a perfect correlation line. "When the values go
evaluation. These are: closer to the line, it indicates better agreement between
the measured and the estimated values.
• Ansari el al. (1994) model
• Ayoub (2004) model MODEL EVALUATION
• Aziz and Govier (1972) model
• Beggs and Brill (1973) correlation The evaluation for each methods will be based on the
• Duns and Ros (1963) correlation bottom hole pressure prediction and then and the
• Gray (1978) correlation estimated pressure drop. Table 2 shows the average
• Hagedorn and Brown (1965) correlation absolute percentage relative error, average percentage
relative error, maximwn absolute relative error, minimwn
Table 1: Statistical analysis of the used data absolute relative error, root mean square error, coefficient
Flow earameter Min Max Average STD of determination and the Standard deviation of all the
Bottomhole pressure (psi) 1019. 79 3105.00 2205.30 486.66 selected methods (Appendix 1 ). Aziz and Govier (1972)
Oil rate (bbl/D) 45.20 19618.00 4552.16 4598.26
Water rate (bbl/D) 0.00 7900.00 1784.68 2368.18
model has achieved the highest average absolute
Gas rate (Mscf/D) 0.00 12495.00 2203.67 2755.98 percentage relative error with 12.1 % while Ayoub (2004)
Depth (ft) 2726.38 8070.87 5810.17 1049.09 model achieved the lowest value with 4.8%. Figure 1
Tubing diameter (in) 2.00 4.00 3.75 0.33
Surface temperature ( 0 F) 70.00 160.00 113.55 27.44
shows the absolute and relative error of each empirical
Wellhead pressure (psi) 5.00 640.00 240.81 148.88 correlation, mechanistic model and artificial neural
Oil .![aVi!Y tAPI2 13.60 37.00 30.77 5.85 networks.
3165
J. Applied Sci., 14 (23): 31623171, 2014
14 CAAPE
12.0968 CAPE
11.9864 11.8941
12    11.0000

10 
10.3 126
9.9174 9.1 695
8.7381 
 7.6344 7.5593
  6.4278
~ 6
5.8956

~_:2474
~
4 .8010

4.0663 
4

8.5755
2.1967
n
2
1.3000
0
n
Aziz et al. Hagedron Gray Orkzwiski Mukhrejee Ansari et al. Duns and Beggs and Ayoub
and brown and Brill Ros Brill
Fig. 1: Absolute (AAPE) and relative (APE) percentage error of all models
13
12 12.0968 11 .9864 11.8941
  
11
11 .0000
10 
9
8 9. 1695
~
~ 7 
L1l
~ 6
7.6344 7.5593
5  
4
3 
6.4278
2
4.8010
0
Aziz et al. Hagedron Gray Orkzwiski Mukhrejee Ansari et al. Duns and Ros Beggs and
n
Ayoub
and Brown and Brill Brill
Figure 24 indicate the performance of all investigated achieved the worst average absolute relative error
models. Aziz and Govier (1972) mechanistic model (AAPE), Root Mean Square Error (RMSE) and coefficient
3166
J. Applied Sci., 14 (23): 31623171, 2014
18
15.8240
16
14.3411
14 13.7535
 13.0893
gJ 11.4425
~ 12
10 9.5011 9.3525
 8.2240
8 
6.6274
6 i~~.~r~~___,~..~~.~~r~~.~~.~n~.
Aziz et al. Hagedron Gray Orkzwiski Mukhrejee Ansari et al. Duns and Ros Beggs and Ayoub
and brown and Brill Brill
0.95
0.9095
0.90
0.8667

0.8442 0.8537

0
0.85
0.8065
0.7981
 ~
.s~  0.7875
0.80
 0.7692 
~ 
!""
0
0.75
i:i 0.70
"
~ 0.65
u"
0
0.60
0.55
0.5158
0.50 +_.ri
____....._~................~''~'........~''~'........~  '   '   ~........__,_~_.__...........,
Aziz et al. Hagedron Gray Orkzwiski Mukhrejee Ansari et al. Duns and Ros Beggs and Ayoub
and brown and Brill Brill
of determination (R2) among all investigated models while Also, average absolute relative error (AAPE) of each
Ayoub (2004) model achieves the best results. model has been plotted against the confident of
A close result can be extracted when Root Mean determination (R2), as presented in Fig. 6. However, this
Square Error (RMSE) of each model has been plotted time the best model will be located at the upper left comer
against the standard deviation (STD) of errors, as which is indicated by the intersection of both low AAPE
presented in Fig. 5. The best model will be located at the value with High R2. As in this case, Ayoub (2004) model
lower left comer which is indicated by the intersection of performed the best, followed by Beggs and Brill (1973)
both lower values of RMSE and STD. As in this case, correlation, Duns and Ros (1963) correlation and
Ayoub (2004) model performed the best, followed by Ansari et al. (1994) model.
Beggs and Brill (1973) correlation, Duns and Ros (1963) Figure 715 present crossplots of estimated pressure
correlation and Ansari et al. (l 994) model. drop versus measured pressure drop for each of the
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J. Applied Sci. , 14 (23) : 316231 71, 2014
6.0000  ~    .      .     ,      ,       ,
6.0000 8.0000 10.0000 12.0000 14.0000 16.0000
RMSE
Fig. 5: Root mean square error against standard deviation for all models
•Aziz eta/.
0.9300 + Hagedron and brown
0.9100 D •Gray
0.8900 :rOrkzwiski
0.8700 " Mukhrejee and Brill
0.8500 x Ansari et al.
0.8300
 Duns and Ros
0.8100
0.7900
+ • Beggs and Brill
0 • Ayoub
0.7700
0.7500 +~~~~.~~~
0.0000 2.0000 4.0000 6.0000 8.0000 10.0000 12.0000 14.0000
AAPE(%)
Fig. 6: Average absolute relative error against the coefficient of determination for all models
3000 3000
Predicted pressure drop (psi)
.......
2500 2500
• •
2000
2000
..:..'1t···
1500 1500
• ~:,: .•.
R2 = 0.8537 R2 = 0.7692
1000 1000
1000 1500 2000 2500 3000 1000 1500 2000 2500 3000
Measured pressure drop (psi) Measured pressure drop (psi)
Fig. 7: Cross plot of pressure drop for Duns and Ros Fig. 9: Cross plot of pressure drop for Beggs and Brill
(1963) correlation (1973) correlation
3000 3500
Predicted pressure drop (psi)
Predicted pressure drop (psi)
3000
2500
• ••
2500
~~·=
,....·,
........~ .
2000
2000
1500
R2 = 0.8065
1500
1000
...
•
("'
R2 = 0.8667
1000
1000 1500 2000 2500 3000 1000 1500 2000 2500 3000
Measured pressure drop (psi) Measured pressure drop (psi)
Fig. 8: Cross plot of pressure drop for Hagedorn and Fig. 10: Cross plot of pressure drop for Orkiszewski (1967)
Brown (1965) correlation correlation
3168
J. Applied Sci., 14 (23): 316231 71, 2014
1500
~_...;.,:,..
Coefficient of determination: 2500 ~
1 _ ~ ~= 1 [ (nP)m  (nP)c ]
....• •••••..,,..
''\~· .. ••~
2000
R '=
.· . .
~ :=,[(nP)m  MP ] .
1500
Standard deviation: •:.. R2 = 0.5158
1000
1000 1500 2000 2500 3000
STD =
1(_ _11[:t
1 r[ (nPJm
− −
∆
∆
− (nP)c
∆ ]1 100]'
× Measured pressure drop (psi)
m n l )Ji=tl
Ll (P)m J
where, E; is the relative deviation of a calculated value from the measured Fig. 13: Cross plot of pressure drop for Aziz and Govier
value: (1972) model
Whei·e: 2500
(nP)m = Measured value pressure drop
(nP\ = Calculated value pressure drop
2000
MP = _!_ L[(nPm)],
n i=l
1500
3000
R2 = 0.8442
Predicted pressure drop (psi)
1000
2500 1000 1500 2000 2500 3000
Measured pressure drop (psi)
2000
3169
J.Applied Sci. , 14 (23) : 31623171, 2014
2500
is not available
• More improvements and developments in the
artificial neural networks models for predicting
2000
pressure drop in the multiphase vertical flowing wells
will definitely lead to better and accurate prediction
1500 in the future. Hence, all focuses and researches are
highly recommended to go through that direction
R2 = 0.9095
1000
1000 1500 2000 2500 3000 Not to be forgotten, there are still many empirical
Measured pressure drop (psi)
correlations, mechanistic models and artificial neural
networks in the literature which have not been evaluated
Fig. 15: Cross plot of pressure drop for Ayoub (2004) in this study and may have more or less accurate results
model when predicting pressure drop in vertical wells . However,
the methods were selected based on the authors'
Mukherjee and Brill (1985) and Aziz and Govier (1972) perspective. Therefore, all the conclusions and
tend to underestimate the pressure drop value. On the recommendations were based on the selected methods.
other hand, Ansari et al. (1994) and Ayoub (2004) have
showed a quite good correlation around the actual ACKNOWLEDGMENT
values.
The authors would like to thank the Petroleum
CONCLUSION Engineering Department in Universiti Teknologi
PETRONAS for supporting this study.
The main aim of this study is to compare the current
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