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Imaging of gas–liquid annular flows for underbalanced drilling using electrical resistance tomographyThe underbalanced drilling technique, which is also known as managed-pressure drilling, is playing an important role in oil and gas sector, as it reduces common conventional drilling problems such as minimal drilling rates and formation damage, differential sticking and lost circulation. Flow regime monitoring is one of the key topics in annular multiphase flow research, particularly for underbalanced drilling technique. Prediction of the prevailing flow regime in an annulus is of particular importance in the design and installation of underbalanced drilling facilities. Especially, for establishing a suitable pressure drop model based on the characteristics of the active flow regime. The methods of flow regime prediction (or visualisation) in an annulus that are currently in use are very limited, this is evidently due to poor accuracy or they are simply not applicable to underbalanced drilling operation in practice. Therefore, this paper presents a monitoring method, in which Electrical Resistance Tomography (ERT) is used to rapidly image the prevailing flow regime in an annulus with a metallic inner pipe. Experiments were carried out using an air–waterflow loop with a test section 50 mm diameter flow pipe. The two-phase air–waterflow regimes are visualised in the upward vertical annulus with a radius ratio (r/R) 0.4.This paper highlights the visualisation results of only three flow regimes, namely bubble flow, transitional bubble-slug flow and slug flow. The flow regimes are visualised through axial images stacked from50 mm diameter-pixels of 2D tomograms reconstructed with the Conjugate Gradient Method (SCG). Gas volume fraction profiles within the annular flow channel are also illustrated. The profiles are extracted using the Modified Sensitivity coefficient Back-Projection (MSBP) method with a sensitivity matrix generated from a realistic phantom in the finite element method software. The results are compared with visual observations (e.g. photographs) of the active flow regime at the time of ERT measurements.
Measurement of vertical oil-in-water two-phase flow using dual-modality ERT–EMF systemOil-in-water two-phase flows are often encountered in the upstream petroleum industry. The measurement of phase flow rates is of particular importance for managing oil production and water disposal and/or water reinjection. The complexity of oil-in-water flow structures creates a challenge to flow measurement. This paper proposes a new method of two-phase flow metering, which is based on the use of dual-modality system and multidimensional data fusion. The Electrical Resistance Tomography system (ERT) is used in combination with a commercial off-the-shelf Electromagnetic Flow meter (EMF) to measure the volumetric flow rate of each constituent phase. The water flow rate is determined from the EMF with an input of the mean oil-fraction measured by the ERT. The dispersed oil-phase flow rate is determined from the mean oil fraction and the mean oil velocity measured by the ERT cross-correlation velocity profiling. Experiments were carried out on a vertical upward oil-in-water pipe flow, 50 mm inner-diameter test section, at different total liquid flow rates covering the range of 8–16 m3/hr. The oil and water flow rate measurements obtained from the ERT and the EMF are compared to their respective references. The accuracy of these measurements is discussed and the capability of the measurement system is assessed.
A new visualisation and measurement technology for water continuous multiphase flowsThis paper reports the performance of a research prototype of a new multiphase flow instrument to noninvasively measure the phase flow rates, with the capability to rapidly image the flow distributions of two- and three-phase (gas and/or oil in water) flows. The research prototype is based on the novel concepts of combining vector Electrical Impedance Tomography (EIT) sensor (for measuring dispersedphase velocity and fraction) with an electromagnetic flow metre (EMF, for measuring continuous-phase velocity with the EIT input) and a gradiomanometer flow-mixture density metre (FDM), in addition to on-line water conductivity, temperature and absolute pressure measurements. EIT–EMF–FDM data fusion embedded in the research prototype, including online calibration/compensation of conductivity change due to the change of fluids' temperature or ionic concentration, enables the determination of mean concentration, mean velocity and hence the mean flow rate of each individual phase based on the measurement of dispersed-phase distributions and velocity profiles. Results from first flow-loop experiments conducted at Schlumberger Gould Research (SGR) will be described. The performance of the research prototype in flow-rate measurements are evaluated by comparison with the flow-loop references. The results indicate that optimum performance of the research prototype for three-phase flows is confined within the measuring envelope 45–100% Water-in-Liquid Ratio (WLR) and 0–45% Gas Volume Fraction (GVF). Within the scope of this joint research project funded by the UK Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), only vertical flows with a conductive continuous liquid phase will be addressed.
Online conductivity calibration methods for EIT gas/oil in water flow measurementElectrical Impedance Tomography (EIT) is a fast imaging technique displaying the electrical conductivity contrast of multiphase flow. It is increasingly utilised for industrial process measurement and control. In principle, EIT has to obtain the prior information of homogenous continuous phase in terms of conductivity as a reference benchmark. This reference significantly influences the quality of subsequent multiphase flow measurement. During dynamic industrial process, the conductivity of continuous phase varies due to the effects from the changes of ambient and fluid temperature, ionic concentration, and internal energy conversion in fluid. It is not practical to stop industrial process frequently and measure the conductivity of continuous phase for taking the EIT reference. If without monitoring conductivity of continuous phase, EIT cannot present accurate and useful measurement results. To online calibrate the electrical conductivity of continuous phase and eliminate drift error of EIT measurement, two methods are discussed in this paper. Based on the linear approximation between fluid temperature and conductivity, the first method monitors fluid temperature and indirectly calibrates conductivity. In the second method, a novel conductivity cell is designed. It consists of a gravitational separation chamber with refreshing bypass and grounded shielding plate. The conductivity of continuous phase is directly sensed by the conductivity cell and fed to EIT system for online calibration. Both static and dynamic experiments were conducted to demonstrate the function and accuracy the conductivity cell.