Go with the Flow

Published: 06/29/2015

Schlumberger Oilfield Services

Few things are more challenging to model or more crucial to the success of operator long range plans than understanding the behavior of a multiphase fluid flow stream as it moves from formation to processing facilities.  Modeling is challenging because pressure, temperature, volume, and fluid composition may change many times between the two end points; fluid behavior is crucial because it impacts nearly all operator decisions on field development. 

By understanding how the fluid will behave in wells, pipelines and facilities, operators are better equipped to select the optimal number, location, and completion designs for wells. Operators also use these insights to guide them in decisions about sizes and materials for piping, valves, vessels, and other process facilities components during the front-end engineering and design phases of field planning. Additionally, engineers implement models to help estimate and mitigate flow assurance and to incorporate appropriate preventive or mitigation strategies into field architecture. 

For years, operators have relied on output from flow simulations that approximate multiphase flow behavior for help in making these decisions. An article in the May 2015 issue of Oilfield Review, “Multiphase Flow Simulation—Optimizing Field Productivity,” describes the evolution of flow simulation methodologies and places an emphasis on advances in the simulation of upstream and midstream transient multiphase flow in wells and pipeline networks. 

The article also discusses how flow simulators have moved from those that modeled two-phase fluid systems under steady-state conditions to those able to model multiphase systems in which fluid and flow properties change over time. 

Case histories highlight how the OLGA dynamic multiphase flow simulator has helped optimize well construction and production processes for operators working off the coasts of West Africa, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia. 

Oilfield Review is the Schlumberger flagship journal of technology, innovation and the science of E&P.  


Aziz, A.B.A., Brandt, I., Gunasekera, D., Hatveit, B., Havre, K., Weisz, G., Xu, Z.G., Nas, S., Spilling,  K.E., Yokote, R. and Songn, S.: “Multiphase Flow Simulation—Optimizing Field Productivity,” Oilfield Review (May 2015), 27, No. 1, 26–37.

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