An X-ray 2D and 3-phase computed tomography (CT) device has been used within NEL's multiphase facility to identify multiphase flow structures and flow regimes for mixtures of gas, oil and water flows at low pressure. This paper demonstrates the application of this technology for the digital reconstruction of flow regimes and assessment of slugging frequencies. Experiments were conducted in a 4-inch section of horizontal pipework for mixtures of gas, oil and water at various superficial velocities. The X-ray 2D and 3-phase device is shown to be a valuable tool which is suitable for high pressure applications to quantify flow structures.
During the extraction of oil from a well, a multiphase flow exists which comprises time-dependent ratios of oil, water and gas. The ratio of the 3 phases will lead to various flow patterns dependent on the ratios of gas and liquid, operating pressure, temperature, velocity, pipe deviation and fluid properties. The principal method of determining flow patterns has been by visual observation through a transparent viewing section and more recently with tomography equipment which typically has limited resolution and is restricted mainly to 2-phase gas-liquid regimes (1, 2).