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Research Papers: Flows in Complex Systems

Scale-Up Correlation for the Flow of Surfactant-Based Fluids in Circular Coiled Pipes

[+] Author and Article Information
Ahmed H. Ahmed Kamel

Mewbourne School of Petroleum and Geological Engineering, Well Construction Technology Center, University of Oklahoma, T-301 Sarkeys Energy Center, 100 Boyd Street, Norman, OK 73019-1003ahkamel72@ou.edu

Subhash N. Shah

Mewbourne School of Petroleum and Geological Engineering, Well Construction Technology Center, University of Oklahoma, T-301 Sarkeys Energy Center, 100 Boyd Street, Norman, OK 73019-1003subhash@ou.edu

J. Fluids Eng 132(8), 081101 (Aug 02, 2010) (12 pages) doi:10.1115/1.4002007 History: Received September 04, 2008; Revised June 18, 2010; Published August 02, 2010; Online August 02, 2010

This study involves experimental investigation on the flow properties of aqueous surfactant-based (SB) fluids in small and large-scale coiled tubing. It aims at understanding the viscoelastic properties and its effect on the flow behavior of SB fluids in coiled tubing. In spite of SB fluids wide use as friction reducer and/or fracturing fluid in the oil and gas industry, the flow data in large pipe sizes as well as coiled tubing are very scarce. Majority of the available flow data are gathered in straight pipes with small sizes. The scale-up of small-scale flow data is questionable due to the pronounced diameter effect. Furthermore, previous studies have correlated flow behavior of these fluids only through simple power-law model parameters. Limited work with polymeric fluids has been reported that includes fluid elasticity in scale-up procedure and it is nonexistent for highly elastic SB fluids. In this study, the properties of widely used Aromox APA-T, a highly active surfactant used as gelling agent in aqueous and brine base fluids, are thoroughly investigated. Rheological measurements are conducted using Bohlin rheometer for SB fluid concentration of 1.5vol%, 2vol%, 3vol%, and 4vol%. Flow data are gathered using 1.27 cm, 3.81 cm, 6.03 cm, and 7.30 cm OD coiled tubing with various curvature ratios. This study presents the first attempt to investigate the flow behavior SB fluids in large-scale coiled tubing. The results show that SB fluids exhibit non-Newtonian pseudoplastic behavior. Elastic and viscous properties of SB fluids are very sensitive to surfactant concentration. Friction losses in coiled tubing are significantly higher than those in straight pipes due to secondary flow effect. Increasing curvature ratio yields higher friction pressure loss. Also, small-scale data correlations using only simple power-law model fluid rheological parameters lead to erroneous results when scaled-up to large pipe sizes. New technique, based on the modified Deborah number, which includes fluid elasticity and pipe shear effect, has been developed to correlate data from the small laboratory-scale tubing and large field-scale pipes. Correlation to predict Fanning friction factor of SB fluids in coiled tubing as a function of Deborah number and fluid flow behavior index is presented. Correlation is validated by comparing predictions with the experimental data. It is shown that the new correlation accurately predicts friction factor of SB fluids and thus alleviates the scale-up issue.

Copyright © 2010 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figures

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Figure 1

Schematic diagram of small-scale experimental setup

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Figure 2

Schematic diagram of large-scale experimental setup

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Figure 3

Water data through 1.27 cm OD straight and coiled tubing

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Figure 4

Water data through large-scale coiled tubing

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Figure 5

Fanning friction factor of water data through large-scale coiled tubing

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Figure 6

Viscous and elastic modulii of 4% SB fluid at 72°F

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Figure 7

Friction factor for SB fluids in 1.27 cm OD coiled tubing (r/R=0.019)

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Figure 8

Effect of coiled tubing curvature on flow properties of 4% SB fluid 1.27 cm OD coiled tubing

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Figure 9

Comparison between friction factor of SB fluids in 1.27 cm OD coiled tubing (r/R=0.019) and Zhou correlation

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Figure 10

Measured and predicted friction factors of SB fluids in coiled tubing

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Figure 11

Friction factor plot of 4% SB fluid in large-scale coiled tubing

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Figure 12

Fanning friction factor of 4% SB fluid in coiled tubing

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Figure 13

Comparison between experimental and predicted fanning friction factor versus deborah number of SB fluids in coiled tubing

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Figure 14

Comparison between experimental and predicted fanning friction factor versus generalized Reynolds number of SB fluids in coiled tubing

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Figure 15

Comparison between experimental and predicted fanning friction factor versus generalized Reynolds number of 4% SB fluid in 7.30 cm OD coiled tubing

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