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Operations (I)

Calculation and Gas Well Loading

A.R. Khaz’ali

arkhazali@ut.ac.ir

Pressure Traverse Calculation

Using the presented methods in the previous

lecture, the pressure gradient for a multiphase

flow can be calculated for any point in the

tubing (or pipe).

Typically our main goal is to calculate the

pressure drop over a considerable distance in a

tubing and over this distance the pressure

gradient in gas-liquid flow may vary

significantly as the downhole flow properties

change with temperature and pressure.

Pressure Traverse Calculation

Thus, we must divide the total distance into

segments small enough that the flow properties,

and hence, the pressure gradient are almost

constant in each one of them. Summing the

pressure drop in each segment yields the

overall pressure drop. This stepwise calculation

is named as pressure traverse calculation.

Since both temperature and pressure will be

varying, a pressure traverse calculation is

usually iterative.

Pressure Traverse Calculation

Temperature profile is usually approximated

as being linear between the surface and the

bottomhole temperature. (in black oil models)

Pressure traverse calculations can be

performed using one of the following methods:

1- Fixing the length of the segment and

finding the pressure drop over this segment.

2- Fixing the pressure drop and finding the

length of the segment over which this

pressure drop could occur.

Pressure Traverse Calculation

The first method is more convenient to use in

computer programming. The second method is

better for hand calculation.

Usually the needed calculations are so

intensive that hand calculations are impractical.

Pressure Traverse Calculation:

Fixed Length Segment

Starting with a known pressure p1 at position L1

(normally the surface or bottomhole conditions) , the

following procedure is followed:

1- Select segment length, ∆L. A typical value for

flow in tubing is 200ft.

2- Estimate the pressure drop ∆p. A starting point is

to calculate the no-slip average density and from

this, the potential energy pressure gradient. The

estimated ∆p is then the potential energy pressure

gradient times the segment length. This will

generally underestimate the pressure drop.

Pressure Traverse Calculation:

Fixed Length Segment

3- Calculate all fluid properties at the average

pressure (p1+∆p/2) and average temperature

(T1+∆T/2).

4- Calculate the pressure gradient dp/dz, with a

two-phase flow correlation.

5- Obtain a new estimate of ∆p from:

dp

∆p new = ∆L

dz

5- If ∆pnew≠∆pold within a prescribed tolerance, go

back to step 3 and repeat the procedure with the

new estimate of ∆p.

Pressure Traverse Calculation:

Fixed Pressure Drop

Starting with a known pressure p1 at position L1

(normally the surface or bottomhole conditions) , the

following procedure is followed:

1- Select a pressure drop increment, ∆p. The

pressure drop in the increment should be less than

10% of the pressure p1 and can be varied from one

step to the next.

2- Estimate the segment length. This can be done

using the no-slip density to estimate the pressure

gradient, as was suggested for the fixed-length

procedure. (∆p divided by no-slip potential energy

pressure gradient)

Pressure Traverse Calculation:

Fixed Pressure Drop

3- Calculate al necessary fluid properties at the

average pressure, p1+∆p/2 and the estimated

average temperature, T1+∆T/2.

4- Calculate the estimated pressure gradient, dp/dz,

using a two-phase flow correlation.

5- Estimate the segment length by:

∆p

∆L new =

(dp dz )

6- If ∆Lnew≠∆Lold within a prescribed tolerance, go

back to step 3 and repeat the procedure.

Pressure Traverse Calculation

In the “fixed pressure drop” method, since

temperature is changing more slowly in a well

an the average pressure of the segment is fixed,

convergence should be rapid. If the well can be

assumed to be isothermal, no iteration is

required.

Sometimes, tubing profile changes (e.g.

changes in diameter, inclination and etc) or

in/out flow to/from several parts of tubing,

force us to choose “fixed length segment”

method.

Example

A horizontal well with a 5” ID is producing

15000bbl/d at a GOR of 1000 along a 3000ft

interval from the saturated reservoir. From a

production log, the fluid entries were found to

be distributed approximately as shown in next

slide. The pressure at the beginning of the

horizontal section is 3000psia. Estimate the

pressure profile along the horizontal production

interval.

Example

T= 180 ºF

Rs= 562 ft3/bbl

ρo= 46.8 lbm/ft3

µo= 0.69 cp

Bo= 1.29 Convert surface rates to

downhole conditions rates

Bg= 5.071×10-3

ρg= 10.7 lbm/ft3

µg= 0.02 cp

q l = B o qo q g = B g ( GOR − R s ) qo

Example Solution

Since petroleum is entering in the well at

three distinct points, “fixed segment length”

method must be used.

We divide the horizontal part of the well into

the three segments:

1- Point 1 to 2: 1000ft.

2- Point 2 to 3: 1000ft.

3- Point 3 to 4: 1000ft.

Example Solution

Calculating downhole flow rates and superficial velocities:

bbl

q l = 15000 ×1.29 = 19350

d

3

ft

q g = 5.071×10−3 (1000 − 562 ) ×15000 = 33316.47

d

bbl ft 3 1 d

19350 5.615

ql d bbl 86400 s ft

u sl = = 2

= 9.22

A π 1 ft s

5in ×

4 12 in

ft 3 1 d

33316.47

q g d 86400 s

ft

u sg = = 2

= 2.83

A π 1 ft s

5in ×

4 12 in

Example Solution:

Calculating No-slip Holdups

ft

u m = u sl + u sg = 12.05

s

u sl 9.22

λl = = = 0.765

u m 12.05

λg = 1 − λl = 1 − 0.765 = 0.235

Example Solution:

Calculating Dimensionless Parameters

u m2 12.052

N FR = = = 10.83

gD 32.17 × 5

12

L 2 = 0.0009252λl−2.4684 = 0.0009252 × 0.765−2.4684 = 0.0017923

L3 = 0.10λ l

−1.4516

= 0.10 × 0.765 −1.4516

= 0.148

L 4 = 0.5λl−6.738 = 0.5 × 0.765−6.738 = 3.0399

Example Solution:

Determining Flow Regime

Since λl ≥ 0.4 and NFR > L4, the flow regime

is distributed.

Beggs and Brill constants are therefore:

a = 1.065

b = 0.5824

c = 0.0609

ψ=1

C=0

Example Solution:

Calculating Liquid Holdup

Since well is horizontal, the potential energy

pressure drop is zero. However, holdup must be

calculated to use in calculation of frictional

pressure drop.

y lo = c = 0.0609

= 0.788

N FR 10.83

Example Solution:

Calculating Reynolds Number

lb m

ρ m = ρl λl + ρ g λg = 46.8 × 0.765 + 10.7 × 0.235 = 38.32 3

ft

5

38.32 ×12.05 ×

ρ u D 12 = 537127

N Re m = 1488 m m = 1488 ×

µm 0.533

Example Solution:

Calculating Friction Factor

From Moody diagram (or any equivalent correlation) no-slip friction factor for zero

relative roughness is found as:

f n = 0.0032

f tp = f n e S

ln ( x )

S =

{−0.0523 + 3.182 ln ( x ) − 0.8725 ln ( x ) + 0.01853 ln ( x ) }

2 4

λl0.765

x = 2 = 2

= 1.232

y l 0.788

Example Solution:

Calculating Friction Factor

ln (1.232 )

S =

{ −0.0523 + 3.182 ln (1.232 ) − 0.8725 ln (1.232 ) + 0.01853 ln (1.232 )

2 4

}

S = 0.364

Example Solution:

Calculating Pressure Drop Over The First Segment

= = = 3.82 = 0.02652

dz F gc D 5 ft 2 ft

32.17 ×

12

Since there is no potential energy pressure drop, and the kinetic energy pressure

drop is ignored, we can write:

dp dp

=

dz dz F

And finally:

dp

∆p = ∆L = 0.02681×1000 = 26.52psi

dz

Example Solution:

Second Segment

The flow rate for the second segment is

10000bbl/d. Since the pressure changed a little,

it can be assumed that the fluid properties does

not change.

The calculation procedure is the same as the

first segment. The flow regime is also

distributed. The pressure drop over the second

segment will be calculated as:

dp

∆p = ×1000 = 11psi

dz F

Example Solution:

Third Segment

The flow rate for the second segment is

4000bbl/d. Since the pressure changed a little,

it can be assumed that the fluid properties does

not change.

The calculation procedure is the same as the

first segment. The flow regime will be

intermittent. The pressure drop over the second

segment will be calculated as:

dp

∆p = ×1000 = 1.7psi

dz F

Example Solution:

Total Pressure Drop

Summing the pressure drop over three

segments yields total pressure drop over the

horizontal part of the well:

Pressure Traverse Calculation

This must be mentioned that the smaller the

segments length, the more accurate the pressure

traverse calculation.

Obviously, the reasonably accurate solution

for such problems can not be gained without

computer programming.

Pressure Traverse:

Gradient Curves

pressure traverse can be estimated rather

quickly using gradient curves.

Gradient curves, such as those which have

been proposed by Gilbert (1954), have been

developed based on the field data or multiphase

flow correlations.

Gilbert noted that the main parameters in

vertical multiphase pipe flow are pipe diameter,

oil rate, and gas/liquid ratio (GLR).

Pressure Traverse:

Gradient Curves

which might have an effect on pressure

gradient include liquid surface tension,

viscosity, fluids densities, flowing temperature,

gas/liquid solubility and water cut.

If an emulsion forms in the tubing, gradient

curves can not be used.

Usually, gradient curves are based on the

nominal diameter of the tubing, not the tubing

internal diameter (ID).

Pressure Traverse:

Gradient Curves

Four points should be noted about the usage of the

gradient curves:

1- The vertical axis represents distance traveled

vertically from a given point where pressure is known.

From a given point with known pressure it is possible

to determine the pressure at any other point by moving

along the gradient curve for a distance corresponding

to the distance between the points. Alternatively, if the

pressure at the second point is known, it is possible to

determine which distance corresponds to the pressure

difference between the two points by moving along

the gradient curve an interval corresponding to the

pressure change between the two points.

Pressure Traverse:

Gradient Curves

gas/liquid ratio (GLR) until a minimum gradient is

reached. Thereafter the trend reverses and dp/dz

increases with increasing GLR. The physical reason

for this is a change in the predominant pressure loss

mechanism from potential energy pressure drop to

frictional pressure drop.

3- For convenience, The high-GLR gradient curves are

shifted down on the depth scale to avoid intersection

with lower-GLR curves.

4- If production is water-free, then GLR (gas liquid

ratio) equals GOR (gas oil ratio).

Pressure Traverse:

Gradient Curves

Developed From Field Data

Developed From Multiphase Flow Correlations

Tubing Performance Relation

The relation between bottomhole flowing

pressure and oil rate which enters the tubing is

called Tubing Performance Relation (TPR) or

Vertical Lift Performance (VLP); However

TPR term is used in the cases in which a tubing

is responsible for delivering the reservoir fluid

to the wellhead.

VLP or TPR curves are diagrams of

bottomhole pressure versus flow rate.

Tubing Performance Relation

It can be calculated either by the single or

multiphase flow correlations or the gradient

curves. Given a wellhead pressure, one must

calculate the bottomhole pressure for several

flow rates (for multiphase flow, oil rate).

Connecting the resulted points, VLP curve is

resulted.

Tubing Performance Relation

Given the wellhead pressure, the pressure

elements constituting a VLP curve can be

shown as:

Tubing Performance Relation

In the case of single-phase liquid, density is

assumed constant and the hydrostatic pressure gradient

is a constant also. Friction loss is rate dependent,

characterized by two flow regimes (i.e. laminar &

turbulent) separated by a transition zone. The rate

dependence of frictional pressure drop differs with the

flow regime. At low rates the flow is laminar and the

pressure gradient changes linearly with rate or flow

velocity. At high rates, the flow is turbulent and the

pressure gradient increase more than linearly with

increasing flow rate.

Tubing Performance Relation

In gas wells, there is interdependence

between flow rate, flow velocity, density and

pressure. In general, increasing gas rate results

in increasing total pressure loss.

In multiphase mixtures, increasing rate may

change the governing pressure loss mechanism

from predominantly gravitational to

predominantly frictional. The results of this

shift is change of trend in the TPR curve.

Tubing Performance Relation

Generally, VLP curves (specially in the case of

multiphase fluids, which are more common in field):

are fairly linear with little slope.

for low GOR fluids and low rates have very flat

slope because potential energy dominants with very

little friction effect.

can be highly non linear for high rate wells and

gas wells since friction effects are significant.

may have a “minimum” BHP value due to

combination of potential (hydrostatic) and

frictional effects, which is an ideal point because

the lower the BHP, the higher the production.

Oilfield Production

Operations (I)

Gas Well Loading

Gas wells often produce a liquid phase along

the gas which might be oil, condensate and/or

water.

If the velocity of the gas is sufficiently high,

the wellbore liquids will be entrained in the gas

and carried up to the surface.

In low permeability gas wells, specially at

low reservoir pressures, the gas velocity may

not be sufficient to lift the liquid phase to the

surface.

Gas Well Loading

In that situations, the liquid accumulates in

the well and will eventually curtail production

entirely.

This phenomenon is known as Gas Well

Loading.

The gas well loading problem can be reduced

and eliminated by proper tubing string design.

Periodic change out of the tubing string,

moving to even smaller tubing sizes allows

maintenance of high gas velocities at pressure

declines.

Gas Well Loading

Historical Canadian data suggests that

among of all methods which predict the

minimum gas velocity (flow rate) required to

continuously lift the liquid phase up to the

surface, the method suggested by Turner et al.

(1969) is very accurate.

Other methods are very similar to Turner et

al. method.

Gas Well Loading

Turner suggest the gas velocity required to

lift the liquids at every point in the tubing must

exceed the free fall terminal velocity of the

liquid drops which is described by:

1

σ L ( ρL − ρ g ) 4 Minimum gas velocity required to

u t = 1.912 prevent the liquid loading.

ρg

2

and gas), ρL (liquid density) and ρg (gas

density) are in ft/s, dyne/cm, lbm/ft3 and lbm/ft3

respectively.

Gas Well Loading

The critical gas flow rate (minimum gas flow

rate which is needed to continuously lift liquids

to the surface) can be calculated as:

A

q sc = 3.06 pwhu t

TZ

where:

qsc = critical gas flow rate MMSCF/d

A = cross-sectional area of flow, ft2

pwh = wellhead pressure , psia

T = surface flowing temperature, ºR

Z = gas compressibility factor @ (T, pwh)

Gas Well Loading

Turner criterion can be considered the point

at which annular (annular mist) flow is

maintained through the wellbore.

It may be thought of as defining the

transition between slug or churn and annular

(annular mist) flow.

Gas Well Loading

Since fourth root of density and interfacial

tension of low molecular weight hydrocarbons

varies only slightly with changes in molecular

weight and temperature, in the absence of data

for such cases, one can use the following values:

dyne lb m

σ L = 20 ρ L = 45 3

cm ft

Same statements can be made about the water:

dyne lb m

σ L = 60 ρ L = 67 3

cm ft

Gas Well Loading

Turner method was originally stated to be

applicable for LGR (Liquid to Gas Ratio,

inverse of GLR) less than 130 bbl/MMSCF; but

it has been found to give good results up to 250

bbl/MMSCF.

Example

A well producing gas with 0.67 gravity at

wellhead pressure and temperature of 450 psia

and 170 ºF. If the well also produces minor

amount of water with 1.06 gravity, using Turner

criterion calculate the lowest gas production

rate that will allow continuous unloading in a

2,7/8” (ID = 2.544”) tubing?

Assume gas/water interfacial tension (IFT) is

55 dynes/cm.

Example Solution

Calculating Gas Density

critical properties:

ppc ≈ 670 psia

Tpc ≈ 370 ºR

from its pseudo reduced properties as follows:

450

p pr = = 0.672

670

⇒ Z = 0.962

(170 + 460)

T pr = = 1.703

370

Example Solution

Calculating Gas & Water Density

28.97γ g p γg p

ρg = = 2.7

RZT ZT

0.67 × 450 lb m

ρ g = 2.7 = 1.343 3

0.962 × (170 + 460 ) ft

and:

Example Solution

Calculating Terminal Velocity

1

σ L ( ρL − ρ g ) 4

u t = 1.912

ρg

2

1

55 × ( 66.144 − 1.343) 4

ft

u t = 1.912 2 = 12.748

1.343 s

Example Solution

Calculating Critical Flow Rate

A

q sc = 3.06 pwhu t

TZ

2

2.44

×π

πD 2

12

A= = = 0.0325ft 2

4 4

And finally:

0.0323

q sc = 3.06 × 450 ×12.748 × = 0.936 MMSCFD

(170 + 460 ) × 0.962

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