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Research Papers: Petroleum Transport/Pipelines/Multiphase Flow

Experimental and Numerical Investigation of Separator Pressure Fluctuation Effect on Terrain Slugging in a Hilly Terrain Two-Phase Flow Pipeline

[+] Author and Article Information
Eissa Al-Safran

Petroleum Engineering Department, Kuwait University, Safat 13060, Kuwait

Leonidas Kappos

 Scandpower Petroleum Technology, Dubi, UAE

Cem Sarica

TUFFP, University of Tulsa, Tulsa, OK 74104

J. Energy Resour. Technol 130(3), 033001 (Aug 11, 2008) (13 pages) doi:10.1115/1.2955483 History: Received February 12, 2007; Revised April 10, 2008; Published August 11, 2008

Two-phase slug flow in horizontal and near horizontal pipes is a common occurrence in many engineering applications and industrial operations. The objective of this study is to experimentally investigate the effects of separator pressure fluctuations on terrain slugging and slug flow characteristics along and downstream of a hilly terrain pipeline. A further objective is to numerically simulate the flow behavior using a transient multiphase flow simulator to match the simulation predictions with the experimental data. Experimental results revealed that during the separator pressure decline, slug initiation is promoted due to the increase in slip velocity, which enhances the slug initiation mechanisms at the lower elbow. On the other hand, during the separator pressure increase, the analyses show slug suppression. In terms of slug flow characteristics, the mean slug velocity, mean slug length, and maximum slug length increased during the separator pressure decline condition and decreased during the separator pressure increase condition. Furthermore, separator pressure has a significant decreasing effect on slug frequency, maximum slug length, and slug length variance downstream of the hilly terrain section. The statistical analysis shows mixed results of decreasing and increasing trends on mean slug lengths under the fluctuated separator pressure when compared with constant separator pressure conditions. The numerical simulation results showed a close match of liquid holdup downstream of the lower elbow and a fair match at the lower elbow. Furthermore, the model was successful in matching the pressure fluctuation at the lower elbow of the experimental data.

Copyright © 2008 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figures

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Figure 3

Separator pressure effect on slug initiation at the bottom elbow (vSL=0.31 m/s, vSg=1.5 m/s, and θ=2 deg)

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Figure 4

Separator pressure effect terrain slugging for different superficial gas velocities

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Figure 5

Separator pressure effect on terrain slugging for different superficial liquid velocities

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Figure 6

Separator pressure effect on terrain slugging for different hilly terrain inclination angles

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Figure 7

Separator pressure effect on slug flow characteristics

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Figure 8

Extremely long slug generation during separator pressure increase interval (vSL=0.31 m/s, vSg=0.62 m/s, and θ=1 deg)

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Figure 9

Flow development along and downstream of the hilly terrain section (vSL=0.61 m/s, vSg=1.5 m/s, and θ=2 deg)

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Figure 10

Flow development along and downstream of the hilly terrain section (vSL=0.31 m/s, vSg=2.14 m/s, and θ=2 deg)

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Figure 11

Maximum slug length comparison

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Figure 12

Slug frequency comparison

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Figure 13

Schematic of the simulated loop

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Figure 14

Separator pressure values used in the model

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Figure 15

Liquid holdup for location CS8 as a function of the separator pressure

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Figure 16

Liquid holdup for location CS9 as a function of the separator pressure

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Figure 17

Pressure for location CS8

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Figure 18

Liquid holdup for location CS10 as a function of the separator pressure

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Figure 19

Liquid holdup for location CS11 as a function of the separator pressure

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