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research-article

A Robust Three-Phase Isenthalpic Flash Algorithm Based on Free-Water Assumption

[+] Author and Article Information
Ruixue Li

School of Mining and Petroleum Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, University of Alberta, 9211 116 Street NW, Edmonton, Canada T6G 1H9
ruixue2@ualberta.ca

Huazhou Li

Assistant Professor, School of Mining and Petroleum Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, University of Alberta, 9211 116 Street NW, Edmonton, Canada T6G 1H9
huazhou@ualberta.ca

1Corresponding author.

ASME doi:10.1115/1.4037901 History: Received July 06, 2017; Revised August 19, 2017

Abstract

Isenthalpic flash is a type of flash calculation conducted at given pressure and enthalpy for a feed mixture. Multiphase isenthalpic flash calculations are often required in compositional simulations of steam-based enhanced oil recovery methods. Based on a free-water assumption that the aqueous phase is pure water, a robust and efficient algorithm is developed to perform isenthalpic three-phase flashes. Assuming the feed is stable, we first determine the temperature by solving the energy conservation equation. Then the stability test on the feed mixture is conducted at the calculated temperature and the given pressure. If the mixture is found unstable, two-phase and three-phase vapor-liquid-aqueous isenthalpic flash can be simultaneously initiated without resorting to stability tests. The outer loop is used to update the temperature by solving the energy conservation equation. The inner loop determines the phase fractions and compositions through a three-phase free-water isothermal flash. A two-phase isothermal flash will be initiated if an open feasible region in the phase fractions appears in any iteration during the three-phase flash or any of the ultimately calculated phase fractions from the three-phase flash do not belong to [0,1]. A number of example calculations for water/hydrocarbon mixtures are carried out, demonstrating that the proposed algorithm is accurate, efficient and robust.

Copyright (c) 2017 by ASME
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