The relatively recent evolution of technology allowing the extraction of hydrocarbon oil and gas from unconventional resources such as tight sands and shales has resulted in a significant increase in reserves and associated production especially onshore in the United States [1].

The availability of infrastructure to handle bringing such hydrocarbons to market has lagged the exploitation and development of the unconventional resources. To this extent, operating companies have looked towards the conversion of existing primarily single phase systems to cope with the transport of second and occasionally third fluid phases.

The present paper discusses a recent study undertaken for a major US onshore operator wherein the feasibility of conversion is assessed in light of the requirement to handle not insignificant quantities of liquids in a complex pipeline system originally designed to handle predominantly single phase gas.

The paper will review analyses performed to quantify the amount and location of liquid hold-up as well as the operational approach to handling such quantities of liquid.


The deployment of hydrocarbon transportation infrastructure in the form of pipelines is a capital intensive undertaking and may be justified but once in the process of new venture approval. The redeployment of such infrastructure is, therefore attractive when considering additional ventures given that the capital costs would have probably already been amortized. One such redeployment is the conversion of pipeline systems originally designed to transport gas to ones that can transport liquids, and, indeed, multiphase fluids.

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