Xodus enters Phase 2 of multi-phase flow research

Offshore staff

ABERDEEN, UK Xodus Group and TNO have completed the first phase of a joint industry project (JIP) into the dynamic forces which affect the integrity of piping systems, in particular through multi-phase flow. Expected to run three stages, the second phase of the project is now open for new participants to join the project.

The aim of the JIP is to investigate and understand the forces induced by multi-phase flow on piping systems, and generate validation data for multi-phase computational fluid dynamics (CFD) to model and analyze its occurrence.

Multi-phase flow, the passage of more than one fluid, gas or chemical substance through a pipeline, can cause flow induced vibration. This is an increasing concern on production piping systems, both subsea and topsides.

Phase 1 was valued at more than £500,000 ($759,850) and involved testing on a 1.5 R/D stiff bend for a range of flow conditions. The inlet pipe to the bend had three configurations: straight, u-bend vertical, and u-bend horizontal. Detailed measurements were made to analyze the forces acting on the bend, pressure and void fraction distributions upstream, downstream and within the bend. CFD calculations were carried out to compare test results with a range of flow conditions.

Phase 2 will look to extend the work carried out in Phase 1 to cover a range of bend radii. It aims to begin in 3Q 2015. The scope is as follows:

  • Testing additional bend configurations
  • Preparation for testing at in service conditions for Phase 3
  • Additional CFD studies.

The goal is to raise awareness of this complex issue and increase knowledge to incorporate into advance screening, simulation, and prediction models.

Eight companies were involved in the first phase of the project: BP, Statoil, Total, Suncor, Shell, Lundin, Aker Solutions, and FMC Technologies. TNO carried out the bulk of the test work at its facilities in the Netherlands, while Xodus managed the program and developed CFD schemes to be able to reproduce the measured results. Based on the outcome of analyses by both companies, new scaling rules were produced. Additionally, CD-adapco provided software and carried out simulations in support of the JIP.

“This project will extend intelligence from small-scale laboratory tests to ‘industrial scale’ piping systems,” said Mike Lewis, global lead - Computational Fluid Dynamics with Xodus Group. “As E&P activity goes ever deeper and into more extreme environments, and as subsea equipment becomes more complex, with the additional subsea processing for example, the potential increases for FIV to go unnoticed.

“The JIP is addressing this area of uncertainty in the industry and will provide a benchmark in order to carry out more accurate design calculations and prediction work. This will ultimately improve piping integrity, potentially increase production, and mitigate risk in this high consequence arena.”

“The experimental results thus far have given us new insights on how to improve the mechanical integrity analyses of subsea templates,” said Erik Nennie, project manager – Heat Transfer and Fluid Dynamics with TNO. “The outcome of the next phases will further improve the modeling tools for integrity analysis, as both design and operation of subsea templates can greatly benefit from these studies.”


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