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Research Papers: Petroleum Transport/Pipelines/Multiphase Flow

Experiment Research of Phase Inversion in Mineral Oil-Water Two-Phase Flow in Horizontal Pipe

[+] Author and Article Information
Wei Wang

Beijing Key Laboratory of Urban Oil and Gas Distribution Technology, Key Laboratory of Ministry of Education in Petroleum Engineering, China University of Petroleum, Beijing, 102249, P.R. Chinaw.wang@cup.edu.cn

Jing Gong

Beijing Key Laboratory of Urban Oil and Gas Distribution Technology, Key Laboratory of Ministry of Education in Petroleum Engineering, China University of Petroleum, Beijing, 102249, P.R. China

J. Energy Resour. Technol 131(4), 043001 (Nov 12, 2009) (6 pages) doi:10.1115/1.4000324 History: Received June 17, 2007; Revised August 17, 2009; Published November 12, 2009; Online November 12, 2009

In oil-water two-phase dispersed flow, phase inversion may occur when the continuous phase becomes dispersed. This phenomenon, which controls the nature of the phase in contact with the pipe, has a great importance on the corrosion and on the pressure drop, which dramatically affects the delivery ability and operational modality. It is therefore imperative for the phase inversion research to be taken into consideration. However, most of the knowledge on phase inversion is for light mineral oil with low viscosity, few research focuses on high viscosity oil-water phase inversion. Arirachakaran (1989, “An Analysis of Oil/Water Flow Phenomena in Horizontal Pipes,” SPE Professional Product Operating Symposium, Oklahoma, SPE Paper No. 18836) found that critical water fraction when inversion occurred was dramatically reduced with the increment of oil viscosity, and the existing phase inversion models are invalidated. In this paper, an experimental study has been made of high viscosity mineral oil-water flow through a horizontal pipe loop. Results indicate that phase inversion for oil phase with high viscosity occurs much earlier than low viscosity oil, and phase inversion tends to be delayed, with the increment in experimental temperature. The influence of mixture velocities on the inversion process could be neglected in the range of mixture velocities that we studied. As well, inversion point obtain by our experiment are best predicted by the correlation of Arirachakaran (1989, “An Analysis of Oil/Water Flow Phenomena in Horizontal Pipes,” SPE Professional Product Operating Symposium, Oklahoma, SPE Paper No. 18836). Models of Decarre and Fabre (1997, “Phase Inversion Prediction Study,” Rev. Inst. Fr. Pet., 52, pp. 415–424) and Braunerand Ullmann (2002, “Modeling of Phase Inversion Phenomenon in Two-Phase Pipe Flows,” Int. J. Multiph. Flow, 28, pp. 1177–1204), based on minimization of system total energy, seem to be invalidated for high viscosity oil.

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Figures

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Figure 1

Sketch of the experimental facilities

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Figure 2

Sketch of the probe system

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Figure 3

Impedance signal of the parallel wire probes for stratified, O/W, and W/O dispersed flow

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Figure 4

Structure of the local sampling device

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Figure 5

Scaled pressure drop as function of water volume fraction at a mixture velocity of 2.5 m/s (30°C)

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Figure 6

Scaled pressure drop as function of water volume fraction at a mixture velocity of 2.5 m/s (50°C)

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Figure 7

Scaled pressure drop as function of time at water fraction of 18% and mixture velocity of 2.5 m/s (30°C)

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Figure 8

Water volume fraction at phase inversion point as function of temperature and mixture velocity

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Figure 9

Phase inversion point correlation (1)

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