Scaling of Multiphase Flow Pressure Loss and Multiphase Flow Metering in Annuli
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The hydrocarbon reserves of conventional/unconventional sources will remain a major source of the worldâ s energy supply even with the fastest growth of other energy sources including renewable energy. The petroleum and energy industry must be capable of low-energy intensive extraction and transportation of these resources, in an environmentally benign manner. Drilling wellbores is one of the most important part of extracting petroleum resources from the reservoirs. Very complex spatio-temporal flow patterns of multiphase flow, which are often observed in annuli during drilling fluid circulation and wellbore production, are not fully understood. Fundamental understanding of the effects of complex multiphase flow regime on hydrodynamic scaling and geometric scaling is an open challenge. This understanding is essential for substantial economic growth of oil and gas industry. The proposed study will serve as a major tool in multiphase annuli/wellbore design and operation and, more importantly, in the development of future generation multiphase transport processes and provide early detection of well control events lead by migration of formation fluids/gas to wellbore circulating fluid. This will improve safety and protect environment during well development. The proposed experiments and numerical simulations in this project will help to understand the multiphase (gas/liquid/solid) flow behavior in annuli under various operating, hydrodynamic and geometric conditions. The scale-up from lab-scale experiments (multiphase flow in annuli at low pressure and temperature) to real industrial-scale application (drilling fluid circulation in annuli at high pressure and temperature) is a challenging task, which is at present in its infancy. The proposed project will directly contribute to the development of up-scaling laws of multiphase flow in annuli. Further flow model calibration with actual flow data at in-situ pressure and temperature of oil well will be history matched with lab model for verification. The overarching goals of this project are as follows: 1) to develop a tool or model which will optimize and suggest meaningful surface operating parameters for efficient wellbore cleaning and drill cuttings transmittal to surface, particularly during horizontal drilling wells (cuttings settling in the tangential section), 2) to predict multiphase volume fractions (flow metering) and pressure loss in annuli with a wide range of operating, hydrodynamic and geometric conditions, and 3) early detection of mini-kicks (formation gas invasion to circulating fluids) and provide real-time changes to surface operating parameters before it turns to a well control event and a possible blow-out..........