Experiments on suppression of liquid loading

During the production of hydrocarbon gas from reservoirs, gas wells often produce also a small amount of condensate (= light oil) and water. This is the so-called wet-gas production, which gives multiphase flow in the well bore. If the well gets older and the reservoir pressure is reduced, the gas in the well bore is no longer able to lift the liquids to the surface, and liquid loading will start, which can finally lead to the full killing of the well production.

In this Master’s project, multiphase flow experiments will be carried out in an existing vertical flow loop. The aim of the project is to investigate new ways of preventing or postponing the onset of liquid loading. One can think of: (i) placing obstructing elements along the wall of the vertical pipe, meant to help the liquid film to be entrained as liquid droplets into the gas core. (ii) blowing gas from the wall into the core, meant to break up the liquid film, or (iii) introducing swirl into the gas, meant again to remove the liquid film from the wall.

Experiments will be carried out using, for example, flow visualization, pressure differential gauges, and conductivity sensors for the liquid film thickness. The work will be carried out in collaboration with the gas and oil industry.

Left figure: Vertical flow facility in the laboratory of the Multiscale Physics Department (water/air, 12 m long, 0.05 m diameter).
Right figure: Conductivity sensors flush mounted in the wall to measure the film thickness.

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