Application of Ultrasonic Velocity Profiler (UVP) in the Crude Oil Emulsion Pipeline Flow

Emulsion formation is undesirable in the oil and gas industry because it affects flow regimes and behaviour, reduces crude oil quality, occupies space in the pipeline, reduces mass flow rate, requires longer retention time in separation vessels, causes corrosion to the transport system, and contaminates catalyst used in the rinsing process. However, this is inescapable because oil will always be produced in conjunction with water from the reservoir, and towards the end of the reservoir’s life, with an increasing volume of water, particularly if the reservoir is fed by a water aquifer. The pipeline flow of water-in-oil (W/O) emulsions has received less attention. As a result, one of the goals of this study is to look at the development of W/O emulsions in a continuous flow loop, where the emulsification process is triggered by flow shear and turbulence effects such as pipeline constriction disturbances. The experimental portion of this investigation is carried out utilising a model lab-scale continuous flow rig with a 90° bend pipeline constriction and Bintulu crude oil. Using an ultrasonic velocity profiler (UVP) instrument, the researchers are investigating the effect of flow velocity and turbulence in the development of emulsions. The UVP study sheds light on the role of turbulence in the creation of emulsions. This will largely contribute to crude transportation, i.e. with fewer emulsions forming, because the energy required for emulsion formation may be managed appropriately with a better understanding of the roles of turbulent activities in the emulsification process.

Author (S) Details

Wong Siew Fan
Xiamen University, Malaysia.

Sharul Sham Dol
Department of Mechanical Engineering, Abu Dhabi University, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

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