Petroleum engineering lab receives upgrade from differential tuition

Tommy E. Lohman Gas Engineering Laboratory

The Tommy E. Lohman Gas Engineering Laboratory in the Harold Vance Department of Petroleum Engineering has received a grant from the college's Differential Tuition fund to upgrade the lab to fully support PETE 325, Petroleum Production Systems.

In addition to existing single-station orifice plate gas flow loop and gas reservoir for P/Z experiments, the grant has allowed purchase of duplicate workstations for a number of experiments. With the duplicate stations, small teams of students can now perform hands-on experiments (rather than observe demonstrations by teaching assistants) even with enrollments in the course currently more than 130 students in eight lab sections.

New equipment and experiments include:Single-station orifice plate gas flow loop and gas reservoir

  • Two gas “reservoirs” of 120-gallon volume, each outfitted with accurate pressure gauges and mass flow meters so that two teams of students can perform P/Z reservoir depletion and projected ultimate recovery experiments simultaneously.
  • Two fluid friction pressure stations for measuring liquid friction pressure drops through various sized pipe with different surface roughness, including effects of pipe bends and presence of valves and similar flow restrictions. The experiments are relevant to design of well tubing, surface piping and related hardware.
  • Two gas-liquid two-phase flow loops with 3-inch, 2-inch and 1-inch clear piping for determining two-phase flow regimes in horizontal and vertical flow. In addition to setting up various flow regimes by varying air and water throughput, students relate the various regimes to such diverse phenomena as gas lift, liquid holdup/loading and slugging problems during production.
  • Two twin centrifugal pump benches. The two pumps on each bench can be arranged singly, in parallel (mimics high flow rate/low pressure drop of liquids at the surface) and in series (mimics two stages of an electrical submersible pump). Experiments lead to computation of pump efficiency, head horsepower, recommended operating range and effects of added pump stages. Limitations of C-pumps, such as cavitation and loss of prime are also examined.
  • Three phase separator benches. The acrylic separators are transparent so that students can design and observe efficient separation of air, water and hydraulic oil as well as process upsets such as emulsion formation and carryover. Fluid input flow rates are measured with pitot tube (air), turbine meter (water) and gear meter (oil). Separated liquid drainage rates are measured with sonic meters attached to drain lines.

In addition to the above equipment with two workstations each, the lab’s gas flow loop with three spools containing different size orifice plates has been upgraded with upstream and downstream variable chokes, mass flowmeter, and Barton gauges so that students can become familiar with methodology of field gas flow measurement.