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Research Papers: Petroleum Engineering

Modeling 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), 042902 (Nov 10, 2011) (10 pages) doi:10.1115/1.4004967 History: Received March 22, 2010; Revised August 12, 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. The theoretical study includes a mechanistic model for the prediction of the flow behavior inside the pump. The model comprises a one-dimensional force balance to predict occurrence of the stagnant bubbles at the channel intake. This model depends on two important variables, namely the stagnant bubble size and the bubble drag coefficient. The bubble size has been measured and a physically based correlation is presented. A new correlation for the drag coefficient is proposed as a function of rotational speed and Reynolds number. The model enables the prediction of the operational envelope of the ESP, namely the transition to surging.

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Copyright © 2011 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figures

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Figure 1

Schematic of physical phenomenon for mechanistic model

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Figure 2

Operational drag coefficients for bubbles in a centrifugal field

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Figure 3

Operational and predicted drag coefficients for bubbles in a centrifugal field from Eq. 21

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Figure 4

Drag coefficients for bubbles in a centrifugal field from Eq. 21 and comparison with Ihme’s correlation

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Figure 5

dmax versus db_surg

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Figure 6

Nonslip gas void fraction versus db_surg

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Figure 7

Comparisons between measured and predicted bubble diameter (db_surg)

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Figure 8

Overall comparisons between measured and predicted bubble diameters

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Figure 9

Comparison between predicted surging flow rates and experimental data at 600 rpm

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Figure 10

Comparison between predicted surging flow rates and experimental data at 900 rpm

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Figure 11

Comparison between predicted surging flow rates and experimental data at 1200 rpm

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Figure 12

Comparison between predicted surging flow rates and experimental data at 1500 rpm

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Figure 13

Overall comparison between predicted and measured surging flow rates for all rotational speeds tested

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Figure 14

Curvilinear trajectory of a particle

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