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Research Papers: Petroleum Engineering

Experimental Visualization of Two-Phase Flow Inside an Electrical Submersible Pump Stage

[+] Author and Article Information
Lissett Barrios

 Exploration & Production Shell Oil, Houston, TX 77025Lissett.barrios@shell.com

Mauricio Gargaglione Prado

Department of Petroleum Engineering,  The University of Tulsa, Tulsa, OK 74104Mauricio.prado@utulsa.edu

J. Energy Resour. Technol 133(4), 042901 (Nov 10, 2011) (12 pages) doi:10.1115/1.4004966 History: Received March 22, 2010; Revised August 11, 2011; Accepted August 30, 2011; Published November 10, 2011; Online November 10, 2011

Dynamic multiphase flow behavior inside a mixed flow electrical submersible pump (ESP) has been studied experimentally and theoretically for the first time. The overall objectives of this study are to determine the flow patterns and bubble behavior inside the ESP and to predict the operational conditions that cause surging. An experimental facility has been designed and constructed to enable flow pattern visualization inside the second stage of a real ESP. Special high-speed instrumentation was selected to acquire visual flow dynamics and bubble size measurements inside the impeller channel. Experimental data were acquired utilizing two types of tests (surging test and bubble diameter measurement test) to completely evaluate the pump behavior at different operational conditions. A similarity analysis performed for single-phase flow inside the pump concluded that viscosity effects are negligible compared to the centrifugal field effects for rotational speeds higher than 600 rpm. Therefore, the two-phase flow tests were performed for a rotational speeds of 600, 900, 1200, and 1500 rpm. Results showed formation of a large gas pocket at the pump intake during surging conditions.

Copyright © 2011 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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References

Figures

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Figure 1

Photos of original and modified diffusers

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Figure 2

Photos of modified impeller and diffuser

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Figure 3

Teflon-lip seal specifications

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Figure 4

Outlet port with Teflon-lip seal

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Figure 5

Schematic view of DP mounted on pump

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Figure 6

Mechanical drawings of upper parts for prototype

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Figure 7

Mechanical drawing of upper part pump assembly

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Figure 8

Completed prototype pump

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Figure 9

Photograph of the experimental facility

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Figure 10

Schematic of the ESP experimental facility

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Figure 11

Illumination technique. ILP-1 light source

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Figure 16

Similarity analysis at ηS = 2000

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Figure 17

Pump performance at 1200 rpm and 343 BPD of liquid flow rate

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Figure 18

Impeller channel flow behavior at 1200 rpm for FS1

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Figure 19

Impeller channel flow behavior at 1200 rpm for FS2

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Figure 20

Impeller channel flow behavior at 1200 rpm for FS3

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Figure 21

Impeller channel flow behavior at 1200 rpm for FS4

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Figure 22

Impeller channel flow behavior at 1200 rpm for FS5

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Figure 23

Impeller channel flow behavior at 1200 rpm for FS6

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Figure 24

Prolate spheroid and its equivalent sphere

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Figure 25

Pump performance at 900 rpm and 0.4 scf/h gas flow rate

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Figure 26

Variation of dmin, db, and dmax at 900 rpm and 0.4 scf/h gas flow rate

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Figure 27

Variation of db_in at different operational speeds and liquid flow rates

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Figure 31

Channel intake droplet size distribution (1500 rpm, liquid 293 BPD, 0.125 scf/h gas)

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Figure 30

Channel intake droplet size distribution (900 rpm, liquid 237 BPD, 0.175 scf/h gas)

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Figure 29

Variation of db_surg versus liquid flow rate in surging condition

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Figure 28

Variation of db_surg versus non-slip gas void fraction in surging condition

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Figure 15

Performance for single-phase flow

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Figure 14

Bubble size measurements in the pump intake

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Figure 13

Bubble size measurement

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Figure 12

Camera, monitor, and light set-up

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