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Research Papers: Petroleum Transport/Pipelines/Multiphase Flow

Experimental Study of DRA for Vertical Two-Phase Annular Flow

[+] Author and Article Information
R. L. J. Fernandes

 WPE/31 Brunei Shell Petroleum Co. Sdn. Bhd., Seria Head Office, Seria KB 3534, Brunei Darussalam

B. A. Fleck

Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AL, T6G 2G8, Canadabrian.fleck@ualberta.ca

T. R. Heidrick, L. Torres

Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AL, T6G 2G8, Canada

M. G. Rodriguez

Facilities Management, Enbridge Pipelines Inc., Calgary, AL, Canadagabriella.rodriguez@enbridge.com

J. Energy Resour. Technol 131(2), 023002 (May 21, 2009) (5 pages) doi:10.1115/1.3120299 History: Received January 30, 2006; Revised March 13, 2009; Published May 21, 2009

Experimental investigation of drag reduction in vertical two-phase annular flow is presented. The work is a feasibility test for applying drag reducing additives (DRAs) in high production-rate gas-condensate wells where friction in the production tubing limits the production rate. The DRAs are intended to reduce the overall pressure gradient and thereby increase the production rate. Since such wells typically operate in the annular-entrained flow regime, the gas and liquid velocities were chosen such that the experiments were in a vertical two-phase annular flow. The drag reducers had two main effects on the flow. As expected, they reduced the frictional component of the pressure gradient by up to 74%. However, they also resulted in a significant increase in the liquid holdup by up to 27%. This phenomenon is identified as “DRA-induced flooding.” Since the flow was vertical, the increase in the liquid holdup increased the hydrostatic component of the pressure gradient by up to 25%, offsetting some of reduction in the frictional component of the pressure gradient. The DRA-induced flooding was most pronounced at the lowest gas velocities. However, the results show that in the annular flow the net effect will generally be a reduction in the overall pressure gradient by up to 82%. The findings here help to establish an envelope of operations for the application of multiphase drag reduction in vertical flows and indicate the conditions where a significant net reduction of the pressure gradient may be expected.

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Copyright © 2009 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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References

Figures

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Figure 1

Experimental schematic of Test Facility for drag reduction in vertical two-phase annular flow

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Figure 2

Drag reduction versus the polymer concentration in the vertical two-phase annular flow experiment

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Figure 3

Friction factor versus gas Reynolds number with and without DRAs.

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Figure 4

Drag reduction versus gas Reynolds number

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Figure 5

Measured holdup versus gas Reynolds number

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Figure 6

Hydrostatic pressure gradient versus Reynolds number with and without DRAs

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