A novel approach for simulating multiphase flow in wells and pipelines
With the constant increase of exploration and production in deep water reservoirs such as the Brazilian pre-salt, the challenges faced by the Oil & Gas industry to produce in a safe and optimized way have become considerably larger.
Therefore, the use of simulators has become essential for assisting production engineering teams in predicting the system’s behavior, assure production and reduce the risks associated with these complex projects.
Based on the new challenges presented by the Brazilian Pre-salt, which include very deep wells, high pressure, high CO2 content in fluids and long tiebacks, ESSS began the development of ALFAsim (Artificial Lift and Flow Assurance Simulator) in collaboration with ISDB FlowTech, a Brazilian Research Institute, and sponsored by Petrogal Brasil, a subsidiary of GALP Energia. ALFAsim’s initial conceptual idea started as a Research and Development project which employed the R&D levy funds from ANP, the Brazilian Agency of Petroleum & Gas.
The primary goal of the project was to develop the next generation of 1D multiphase flow simulators, combining novel modeling approaches and modern software architecture. The tool was designed to be not only a simulation tool, but also a research platform. In that light, one of its main characteristics is the extensibility provided by its plug-in infrastructure, which enables universities, research institutes and oil companies to implement their own modules. New extension possibilities include new multiphase flow correlations, empirical models for flow assurance problems (e.g. wax deposition, scale formation, and others), and additional customizations which are important to rotinary engineering applications.
Another notable ALFAsim highlight is the model verification and validation process employed during its development, which is conducted in partnership with ISDB FlowTech, the former SINTEF branch in Brazil. Within this agreement, ISDB validates ALFAsim models and closure correlations against the same classical databases used in the development of the main commercial multiphase flow simulators available in the market.