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An Experimental and Numerical Investigation on Gas Hydrate Plug Flow in the Inclined Pipes and Bends

Authors: M. M. Shabani, O. J. Nydal, R. Larsen


Gas hydrates can agglomerate and block multiphase oil and gas pipelines when water is present at hydrate forming conditions. Using "Cold Flow Technology", the aim is to condition gas hydrates so that they can be transported as a slurry mixture without a risk of agglomeration. During the pipeline shut down however, hydrate particles may settle in bends and build hydrate plugs. An experimental setup has been designed and constructed to study the flow of such plugs at start up operations. Experiments have been performed using model fluid and model hydrate particles. The propagations of initial plugs in a bend were recorded with impedance probes along the pipe. The experimental results show a dispersion of the plug front. A peak in pressure drop was also recorded when the plugs were passing the bend. The evolutions of the plugs have been simulated by numerical integration of the incompressible mass balance equations, with an imposed mixture velocity. The slip between particles and carrier fluid has been calculated using a drag relation together with a particle-fluid force balance.

Keywords: Cold Flow Technology, Gas Hydrate Plug Flow Experiments, One Dimensional Incompressible Two Fluid Model, Slurry Flow in Inclined Pipes and Bends, Transient Slurry Flow

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