Multiphase Flow Loop Tower Lab

Known as the Tower Lab, the Petroleum Engineering Department at Texas A&M designed and built this 140-ft tall vertical flow loop to investigate various aspects of two-phase flow.  The loop can use pipes of various sizes (1 to 6-in ID) to investigate flow through a single tube or through an annulus. The ability to capture high-speed video and pressure at various locations creates unique potential for a multi-media database for two phase upward flow. 

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Texas A&M is in the forefront of the new wave of research focused on understanding the dynamic interaction of wellbore and formation under loading conditions. The Tower Lab, has been rebuilt for this purpose. During a 3-year period, research within the Tower Lab has collected a considerable amount of experimental data. Dr. Valko and Dr. Hasan wish to address one of the identified weaknesses of current models: the lack of connection between critical rate correlations and wellbore hold-up correlations. They plan to make modifications to the Tower Lab main loop in order to observe hold-up both in the section above and below the entry point of the gas-liquid mixture. By direct comparison to hold-up results obtained with bottom entry, they will attempt to better understand the partial flow reversal phenomenon needed to fully understand liquid-loading. Their ultimate goal is to improve existing hold-up correlations and to quantify liquid accumulation rate in the well. They plan to use these results to develop a coupled dynamic model of the well/reservoir system. They have recently developed the concept of multi-phase zero-flow pressure (MPZFP, P0) that would be utilized in their model to enable the determination of flow direction (well to formation or vice-versa) in the individual connections. Experimental results and new correlations are the main technical deliverables of this project.