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Energies 2018, 11(1), 180; doi:10.3390/en11010180

A Review of Experiments and Modeling of Gas-Liquid Flow in Electrical Submersible Pumps

McDougall School of Petroleum Engineering, The University of Tulsa, Tulsa, OK 74104, USA
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Received: 18 October 2017 / Revised: 23 December 2017 / Accepted: 3 January 2018 / Published: 11 January 2018
(This article belongs to the Section Energy Fundamentals and Conversion)

Abstract

As the second most widely used artificial lift method in petroleum production (and first in produced amount), electrical submersible pump (ESP) maintains or increases flow rate by converting kinetic energy to hydraulic pressure of hydrocarbon fluids. To facilitate its optimal working conditions, an ESP has to be operated within a narrow application window. Issues like gas involvement, changing production rate and high oil viscosity, greatly impede ESP boosting pressure. Previous experimental studies showed that the presence of gas would cause ESP hydraulic head degradation. The flow behaviors inside ESPs under gassy conditions, such as pressure surging and gas pockets, further deteriorate ESP pressure boosting ability. Therefore, it is important to know what parameters govern the gas-liquid flow structure inside a rotating ESP and how it can be modeled. This paper presents a comprehensive review on the key factors that affect ESP performance under gassy flow conditions. Furthermore, the empirical and mechanistic models for predicting ESP pressure increment are discussed. The computational fluid dynamics (CFD)-based modeling approach for studying the multiphase flow in a rotating ESP is explained as well. The closure relationships that are critical to both mechanistic and numerical models are reviewed, which are helpful for further development of more accurate models for predicting ESP gas-liquid flow behaviors. View Full-Text
Keywords: electrical submersible pump (ESP); multiphase flow; mechanistic modeling; CFD; flow pattern; viscosity effect; drag coefficient; bubble size; in-situ gas void fraction electrical submersible pump (ESP); multiphase flow; mechanistic modeling; CFD; flow pattern; viscosity effect; drag coefficient; bubble size; in-situ gas void fraction
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Zhu, J.; Zhang, H.-Q. A Review of Experiments and Modeling of Gas-Liquid Flow in Electrical Submersible Pumps. Energies 2018, 11, 180.

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