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Title: A study of gas lift on oil/water flow in vertical risers
Author: Brini Ahmed, Salem Kalifa
ISNI:       0000 0004 5365 6492
Awarding Body: Cranfield University
Current Institution: Cranfield University
Date of Award: 2014
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Gas lift is a means of enhancing oil recovery from hydrocarbon reservoirs. Gas injected at the production riser base reduces the gravity component of the pressure drop and thereby, increases the supply of oil from the reservoir. Also, gas injection at the base of a riser helps to mitigate slugging and thus, improving the performance of the topside facility. In order to improve the efficiency of the gas lifting technique, a good understanding of the characteristics of gas-liquid multiphase flow in vertical pipes is very important. In this study, experiments of gas/liquid (air/water) two-phase flows, liquid/liquid of oil/water two-phase flows and gas/liquid/liquid (air/oil/water) three-phase flows were conducted in a 10.5 m high 52 mm ID vertical riser. These experiments were performed at liquid and gas superficial velocities ranging from 0.25 to 2 m/s and ~0.1 to ~6.30 m/s, respectively. Dielectric oil and tap water were used as test fluids. Instruments such as Coriolis mass flow meter, single beam gamma densitometer and wire-mesh sensor (WMS) were employed for investigating the flow characteristics. For the experiments of gas/liquid (air/water) two-phase flow, flow patterns of Bubbly, slug, churn flow regimes and transition regions were identified under the experimental conditions. Also, for flow pattern identification and void fraction measurements, the capacitance WMS results are consistent with those obtained simultaneously by the gamma densitometer. Generally, the total pressure gradient along the vertical riser has shown a significant decrease as the injected gas superficial velocity increased. In addition, the rate of decrease in total pressure gradient at the lower injected gas superficial velocities was found to be higher than that for higher gas superficial velocities. The frictional pressure gradient was also found to increase as the injected gas superficial velocity increased. For oil-water experiments, mixture density and total pressure gradient across the riser were found to increase with increasing water cut (ranging between 0 - 100%) and/or mixture superficial velocity. Phase slip between the oil and water was calculated and found to be significant at lower throughputs of 0.25 and 0.5 m/s. The phase inversion point always takes place at a point of input water cut of 42% when the experiments started from pure oil to water, and at an input water cut of 45% when the experiment’s route started from water to pure oil. The phase inversion point was accompanied by a peak increase of pressure gradient, particularly at higher oil-water mixture superficial velocities of 1, 1.5 and 2 m/s. The effects of air injection rates on the fluid flow characteristics were studied by emphasizing the total pressure gradient behaviour and identifying the flow pattern by analysing the output signals from gamma and WMS in air/oil/water experiments. Generally, riser base gas injection does not affect the water cut at the phase inversion point. However, a slight shift forward for the identified phase inversion point was found at highest flow rates of injected gas where the flow patterns were indicated as churn to annular flow. In terms of pressure gradient, the gas lifting efficiency (lowering pressure gradient) shows greater improvement after the phase inversion point (higher water cuts) than before and also at the inversion point. Also, it was found that the measured mean void fraction reaches its lowest value at the phase inversion point. These void fraction results were found to be consistent with previously published results.
Supervisor: Yeung, Hoi Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Vertical multiphase flow ; gas lift ; phase inversion ; void fraction ; wire mesh sensor