Study of the two-phase liquid loading phenomenon by applying CFD techniques

J Vieiro, M Asuaje, G Polanco


In order to understand the liquid loading phenomenon, 2D (axisymmetric) numerical simulations were performed. This phenomenon appears when the gas velocity reduces to a value below the critical speed of drop extraction in two-phase production wells, and as consequence liquid is accumulated in the tubing, increasing the pressure drop and reducing the flow rate within the tube. Simulations were made using air-water as working fluids over a vertical pipe of 4 meters long through a commercial package of CFD. Comparison between the simulation results and the experimental data available in the literature shows a good capability of homogeneous models to predict the flow characteristics for a given velocity range close to the critical gas velocity; over 100% of this parameter the model significantly overestimates the pressure drop.

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