Technical Paper: Using a Multiphase Transient Simulator to Predict the Onset of Corrosion in Wellbore

Society: SPE
Paper Number: 170403
Presentation Date: 2014
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Tubing corrosion, a major well integrity challenge faced during a well lifecycle. Corrosion onset conditions need to be predicted with accuracy so that corrective actions can be taken before corrosion results into a safety hazard. One of the requirements for corrosion onset is the accumulation of free water along the wellbore. Given the transient nature of multiphase flow inside the wellbore, a transient multiphase simulator is required to accurately predict water accumulation inside the wellbore.

A comprehensive-transient-multiphase-simulator has been used to evaluate the conditions that would allow or prevent water droplets in emulsion to wet the tubing and create corrosive conditions for two candidate wells as a laboratory study indicated a stable emulsion with water dispersed in oil hence pointing to no tubing wetting whereas field inspections showed severe corrosion. The aim of the study is to virtually recreate the field conditions by tuning different model parameters. Flow regime and emulsion analysis were done for the candidate wells to understand the likelihood of corrosion in the tubing.Further,sensitivities were performed for parameters like inner-diameter, water-cut, flow rate, roughness.

The model predictions for the first well (a dual-string-well) indicated that both strings experience stratified flow till the bubble point with free water presence near the tubing wall indicating the likelihood of corrosion.

For the second well (horizontal well with ICDs), simulations indicated that emulsion is formed inside the ICD orifice but the water phase still touches wall surface. Once the fluid enters the tubing; flow regime is stratified with water touching the wall thus making the conditions ripe for onset of corrosion.

This study underscores the role of transient simulations in predicting the flow regime and emulsion formation in multiphase flow inside wellbores and thereby providing valuable information for assessing the likelihood of corrosion inside the wellbore.

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