Pressure Waves in Pipelines and Impulse Pumping: Physical Principles, Model Development and Numerical Simulation
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The primary purpose of the work was to describe the physical principles of impulse pumping and investigate its potential applications in petroleum engineering. Investigations of the potential applications of impulse pumping were based on analysis of head, flow rate and efficiency performances for pumping of hydrocarbon fluids. The secondary purpose of the work was to analyse pressure wave propagation and attenuation models in fluid-filled production tubings. Additionally, one dimensional numerical simulation methods were investigated for accurate modelling of pressure transient events in pipelines, such as water hammer phenomena. Pressure wave propagation, transmission and reflection characteristics were first studied. Finite volume methods were also studied for numerical simulation of one-dimensional pressure transient phenomena. Accuracy of pressure wave attenuation models was then analysed using a contradiction method, relying on analysis of numerical simulation tools for pressure transient events. Impulse pumping physical principles were next described using fundamentals of pressure wave propagation. A numerical simulation tool was then developed to reproduce impulse pumping physical principles, using a finite volume numerical scheme. Impulse pumping performances were modelled afterwards in terms of lifting heights, flow rates and efficiency, based on results from the developed numerical simulation tool. Potential applications of impulse pumping in petroleum engineering were then analysed using the performance model. Impulse pumping generates flow from bottomhole to wellhead using pressure waves generated at wellhead. Fluid can be transported from bottomhole to wellhead without theoretical lifting height limitations using impulse pumping. Impulse pumping performances were illustrated and a range of petroleum engineering applications was investigated. Impulse pumping greatest efficiency is obtained for artificial lift of water from shallow wells. Impulse pumping performances depend on pressure wave amplitude, wellhead pressure, lifting height, fluid compressibility and volume occupied in the production tubing.