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Non-intrusive volumetric fraction, multiphase pressure loss measurements and characterization of upward vertical oil-water and oil-water-air flow patterns

Grant number: 07/02880-7
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): September 01, 2007
Effective date (End): December 31, 2008
Field of knowledge:Engineering - Mechanical Engineering - Transport Phenomena
Principal Investigator:Oscar Mauricio Hernandez Rodriguez
Grantee:Bernardo Bergantini Botamede
Home Institution: Escola de Engenharia de São Carlos (EESC). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Carlos , SP, Brazil


Oil prices worldwide depend on of many factors. It includes production costs. A good example is heavy oils, whose reserves are estimated about trillions of barrels around the world. Many times this kind of oil is discarded due to the lack of a technology for its artificial lift. Researches carried out in Brazil have shown that costs to lift heavy oils can be significantly reduced by adding water to lubricate the oil flow, which results in higher productivity. On the other hand, on Bacia de Campos-RJ, the percentage of water produced naturally increases every year, causing undesirable dispersions and emulsions. However, oil production means gas production too, mainly in off-shore scenario. In that sense, a study about oil-water-gas three-phase flow is in order. The data on upward vertical oil-water-gas flow are quite scanty, especially in near-real-scale geometries. It is not available a heavy oil-water flow map covering all possible flow-rate ranges, including the oil dominated region. This research’s goal is to generate a detailed experimental data bank on oil (100 mPa.s viscosity, 860 Kg/m³ density)-water-gas three-phase flow, covering flow patterns, pressure gradient and in-situ volumetric fraction. The experimental campaign will be carried out in the Pilot Well (borosilicate-glass pipe, 50mm i.d. and 10 m height) of the Thermal-Fluids Engineering Laboratory (NETeF), Escola de Engenharia de São Carlos (EESC - USP). Oil-water two-phase flow experiments will be developed in a first stage for validation of the experimental setup and instrumentation. Optical techniques, differential pressure transducers, a specially designed non-intrusive double-sensor capacitive probe, data acquisition system, National Instruments and LabView software, will be used in this project. The new data will be treated, analyzed and represented through flow maps, pressure gradient and volumetric fraction curves as a function of water, oil and gas flow rates. Finally, the data base will be of great value for calibration and adjustment of phenomenological and numeric models in developed in the NETeF/EESC/USP.