AbstractsBusiness Management & Administration

Experimental investigation of gas hydrate formation, plugging and transportability in partially dispersed and water continuous systems

by Prithvi Vijayamohan

Institution: Colorado School of Mines
Year: 2016
Keywords: Flow assurance; Gas hydrates; Multiphase flow; Partially dispersed systems; Transportability; Water continuous systems
Posted: 02/05/2017
Record ID: 2135590
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/11124/170016


As oil/gas subsea fields mature, the amount of water produced increases significantly due to the production methods employed to enhance the recovery of oil. This is true especially in the case of oil reservoirs. This increase in the water hold up increases the risk of hydrate plug formation in the pipelines, thereby resulting in higher inhibition cost strategies. A major industry concern is to reduce the severe safety risks associated with hydrate plug formation, and significantly extending subsea tieback distances by providing a cost effective flow assurance management/safety tool for mature fields. Developing fundamental understanding of the key mechanistic steps towards hydrate plug formation for different multiphase flow conditions is a key challenge to the flow assurance community. Such understanding can ultimately provide new insight and hydrate management guidelines to diminish the safety risks due to hydrate formation and accumulation in deepwater flowlines and facilities. The transportability of hydrates in pipelines is a function of the operating parameters, such as temperature, pressure, fluid mixture velocity, liquid loading, and fluid system characteristics. Specifically, the hydrate formation rate and plugging onset characteristics can be significantly different for water continuous, oil continuous, and partially dispersed systems. The latter is defined as a system containing oil/gas/water, where the water is present both as a free phase and partially dispersed in the oil phase (i.e., entrained water in the oil). Since hydrate formation from oil dispersed in water systems and partially dispersed water systems is an area which is poorly understood, this thesis aims to address some key questions in these systems. Abstract Selected experiments have been performed at the University of Tulsa flowloop to study the hydrate formation and plugging characteristics for the partially dispersed water/oil/gas systems as well as systems where the oil is completely dispersed in water. These experiments indicate that the partially dispersed systems tend to be problematic and are more severe cases with respect to flow assurance when compared to systems where the water is completely dispersed in oil. We have found that the partially dispersed systems are distinct, and are not an intermediate case between water dominated, and water-in-oil emulsified systems. Instead the experiments indicate that the hydrate formation and plugging mechanism for these systems are very complex. Hydrate growth is very rapid for such systems when compared to 100% water cut systems. The plugging mechanism for these systems is a combination of various phenomena (wall growth, agglomeration, bedding/settling, etc). Three different oils with different viscosities have been used to investigate the transportability of hydrates with respect to oil properties. The experiments indicate that the transportability of hydrates increases with increase in oil viscosity. The data from the tests performed provide the basis for a mechanistic model for hydrate… Advisors/Committee Members: Sum, Amadeu K. (advisor), Koh, Carolyn A. (Carolyn Ann) (committee member), Maupin, C. Mark (committee member), Estanga, Douglas (committee member), Zerpa, Luis E. (committee member).