Investigation of Swirl Flows Applied to the Oil and Gas Industry

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Title: Investigation of Swirl Flows Applied to the Oil and Gas Industry
Author: Ravuri Venkata Krish, Meher Surendra
Abstract: Understanding how swirl flows can be applied to processes in the oil and gas industry and how problems might hinder them , are the focus of this thesis . Three application areas were identified : wet gas metering , liquid loading in gas wells and erosion at pipe bends due to sand transport . For all three areas , Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD ) simulations were performed . Where available , experimental data were used to validate the CFD results . As a part of this project , a new test loop was conceived for the investigation of sand erosion in pipes . The results obtained from CFD simulations of two -phase (air -water ) flow through a pipe with a swirl -inducing device show that generating swirl flow leads to separation of the phases and creates distinct flow patterns within the pipe . This effect can be used in each of the three application areas of interest . For the wet gas metering application , a chart was generated , which suggests the location of maximum liquid deposition downstream of the swirling device used in the ANUMET meter . This will allow taking pressure and phase fraction measurements (from which the liquid flow rate can be determined ) where they are most representative of the flow pattern assumed for the ANUMET calculation algorithms . For the liquid loading application , which was taken as an upscaling of the dimensions investigated for the wet gas metering application , the main focus was on the liquid hold -up . This parameter is defined as the ratio of the flowing area occupied by liquid to the total area . Results obtained with CFD simulations showed that as the water rate increases , the liquid hold -up increases , implying a more effective liquid removal . Thus , it was concluded that the introduction of a swirler can help unload liquid from a gas well , although no investigation was carried out on the persistance of the swirl motion downstream of the device . For the third and final application , the erosion at pipe bends due to sand transport , the main focus was to check the erosion rate on the pipe wall with and without the introduction of a swirler . The erosion rate was predicted by CFD simulations . The flow that was investigated consisted of a liquid phase with solid particles suspended in it . The CFD results showed a significant reduction in erosion rate at the pipe walls when the swirler was introduced , which could translate into an extended working life for the pipe . An extensive literature review performed on this topic , complemented by the CFD simulations , showed the need for a dedicated multiphase test loop for the investigation of sand erosion in horizontal pipes and at bends . The design of a facility of this type is included in this thesis . The results obtained with this work are very encouraging and provide a broad perspective of applications of swirl flows and CFD for the oil and gas industry .
URI: http : / /hdl .handle .net /1969 .1 /ETD -TAMU -2009 -05 -446
Date: 2010-01-16

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Investigation of Swirl Flows Applied to the Oil and Gas Industry. Available electronically from http : / /hdl .handle .net /1969 .1 /ETD -TAMU -2009 -05 -446 .

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