Use of a Bubble Tracking Method for Prediction of Downhole Natural Separation Efficiency

[+] Author and Article Information
Bin Liu, Mauricio Prado

 University of Tulsa, 600 S. College Ave., Tulsa, OK 74104

J. Pressure Vessel Technol 127(4), 479-486 (Jun 09, 2005) (8 pages) doi:10.1115/1.2043199 History: Received August 19, 2004; Revised June 09, 2005

For any pumping artificial lift system in the petroleum industry, the free gas significantly affects the performance of the pump and the system above the pump. A model, though not a complete two-phase flow model, has been developed for the effective prediction of separation efficiency across a wide range of production conditions. The model presented is divided into two main parts, the single-phase flow-field solution and the bubble-tracking method. The first part of the model solves the single-phase liquid flow field using the computational fluid dynamics approach. Then, a simple bubble-tracking method was applied to estimate the down-hole natural separation efficiency for two-phase flow. A comparison between the results of the model and the experimental data was conducted. It shows a very good agreement with the experimental data for lower gas void fractions (bubble flow regime).

Copyright © 2005 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figure 1

Sketch of the natural separation process

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Figure 2

Modeling procedure

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Figure 3

Single cell domain at pump intake

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Figure 4

Typical curve for separation efficiency

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Figure 5

Comparison between Alhanati’s modeling results and the experimental data

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Figure 6

Domain of bubble tracking

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Figure 7

Force balance analysis for a bubble in liquid phase

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Figure 8

Illustrative graph of the bubble trajectory

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Figure 9

Illustrative graph of the imaginary separation circle

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Figure 10

Correlation of separation efficiency based on experimental data

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Figure 11

Correlation of bubble size from full-range tuned data

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Figure 12

Comparison between the computed result and experimental data

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Figure 13

Compare the computed efficiency with experimental data at 150psi

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Figure 14

Effects of intake pressure on tuned bubble size

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Figure 15

Computed separation efficiency at 100psi



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