Abstract

This paper investigates issues around four-phase (Oil/CO2/water/sand) flows occurring within subsea pipelines. Multi-phase flows are the norm, as production fluid from reservoirs typically include sand with water. However, these multi-phase flow mixtures, whether three- or four-phase, are at risk of forming slug flows. The inclusion of sand in this mixture is concerning, as it not only leads to increased levels of pipeline erosion but it also has the potential, to accumulate sand at the bottom of the pipe, blocking the pipe or at the very least hindering the flow. This latter impact can prove problematic, as a minimum fluid velocity must be maintained to ensure the safe and regulated flow of particles along a pipeline. The presence of low amounts of sand particles in oil/gas/water flow mixtures can serve to reduce the pressure exerted on bends. The sand volume fraction must in this case, be relatively low such that the particles’ resistance causes only a moderate loss in pressure. Therefore, the study aims to gauge the impact of oil/gas/water/sand mixtures on various pipeline structures as well as to further investigate the phenomenon of flow-induced vibration to determine the optimal flow variables which can be applied predicting the structural responses of subsea pipelines.

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