Slug flow study along different well trajectories

Gas-liquid slug flow is one of the most common multiphase flow patterns in oil and gas production. This has a dynamic behavior that can be predicted using the slug frequency and slug length. Based on the values of these parameters, different operational problems can be observed such as poor reservoir inflow, additional downstream/upstream equipment requirements and increase operational costs. Previous studies have established relations between these parameters and operating conditions such as liquid/gas flow rate, inclination angle and pipe diameters in horizontal pipes. However, more recently it has shown that complex well trajectories, drastically modify the slug and frequency length development. Using a small scale and low pressure  experimental facility, metering observations reports slug length values up to four times larger than typical values reported in literature. In this paper a CFD modeling study was carried out to predict this behavior. CFD model was validated with experimental data and extrapolated to more complex trajectories. CFD simulations used VOF multiphase model to correctly describe the phenomenon. This study demonstrates the importance of considering the whole trajectory to analyze expected slug characterization parameter and their effect on the well performance.

Esteban Guerrero
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Oil and Gas
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Colorado School of Mines