The Faja Petrolifera del Orinoco (FPO), located in the southern part of the Eastern Basin of Venezuela, has the largest reserves of heavy and extra heavy oil in the world. These oils are highly viscous and their API gravities values are between 7 and 15, these properties together with the existence of multiphase flow make the production and transportation of these oil is highly complex. Therefore, it is necessary to use heavy oil transportation methods focused on reducing the viscosity of oil, this is achieved be removing or modifying the oil compounds that have been pointed out as the main cause of the high viscosity of these oils, such as: partial or total upgrading or slurry transportation.
This study presents a flow modeling of a solid-liquid dispersion through horizontal pipes, which represents a slurry transportation, using a software of computational fluid dynamics (CFD) called FLUENT 6.3. For the simulation methodology was selected Euler-mixture in a three dimensional pipe model, with different concentrations of solids. The simulations were validated with experimental data development by PDVSA Intevep that contains pressure drops, temperature, solid characterizations and reological behavior of the slurry.
The performance evaluation by the CFD model showed an acceptable fit when it is compared against experimental data, this results allow to understand the hydraulic behavior of heavy oil slurry transport through pipeline.