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Abstract

Multiphase flow conditions occur in a wide range of engineering applications in the petroleum, chemical, and nuclear industries. The design of production systems involving different fluids requires an accurate prediction of the pressure loss. Existing methods rely on the prediction of flow patterns based on observed field and experimental data. However the patterns are not applicable to all conditions and the predicted pressure drops deviate from actual observations.

This paper describes the new model developed to predict pressure drop for vertical, inclined, and horizontal pipes and wellbores. The model is composed of fluid property correlation, flow pattern prediction, and pressure drop determinations.

The model performance is evaluated using published data, The model predictions are also compared with a commercially available model The overall performance of the model is in good agreement with data. In comparison with the published data, the model predictions resulted in the least average error.

Introduction

Prediction of pressure losses in multiphase pipe flow is a concern to different professionals such as nuclear, chemical, and petroleum engineers. Although the nature of fluids encountered in each discipline is different, the principles and physical laws that apply to multiphase flow are similar. In this paper the focus will be the application of methods for oil and gas flow in pipes.

In early days of oil and gas production, the importance of pressure drop prediction in a pipe has been recognized and different methods proposed by several investigators to predict the pressure loss. Although the methods were based on empirical correlations from experimental studies, the results were generally satisfactory for the conditions under which each model was developed. When flow conditions were different from the cases studied, the pressure drop calculations were not reliable. In general a multi-phase pressure drop model can provide a good tool to design wellbore and pipelines. The future flow conditions can be studied to determine the feasibility of an operation.

The major areas of interest to Petroleum Engineers are the construction of lift curves, tubing size selection, artificial lift completions, and surface gathering lines.

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