Detailed Analysis of Pressure Drop in a Large Diameter Vertical Pipe.


With the ever increasing need to optimize production, the accurate understanding of the mechanics of multi-phase flow and its effect on the pressure drop along the oil-well flow string is becoming more pertinent.

The efficient design of gas-lift pump, electric submersible pumps, separators, flow strings and other production equipment depends on the accurate prediction of the pressure drop along the flow pipe.

Pressure is the energy of the reservoir/well and it is crucial to understand how a change in fluid properties, flow conditions and pipe geometric properties affect this important parameter in the oil and gas industry.

Extensive work on this subject has been done by numerous investigators albeit in small diameter pipes.

Reliance on the empirical correlations from this investigators has been somewhat misleading in modelling pressure drop in large diameter pipes (usually >100 mm) because of the limitations imposed by the diameter at which they were developed and the range of data and conditions used in deriving them.

In this work, experimental data from the experimental study by Dr. Mukhtar Abdulkadir was used as the data source.

The gas velocities, liquid velocities, film fraction, gas and liquid properties and the pipe geometric properties from the above mentioned experiment were used to model the frictional and total pressure drop from six correlations. Results were analyzed and compared with the experimental results.


Profitable production of oil and gas fields relies on accurate prediction of the multi-phase well flow. The determination of flowing bottom-hole pressure (BHP) in oil wells is very important to petroleum engineers.

It helps in designing production tubing, determination of artificial lift requirements and in many other production engineering aspects such as avoiding producing a well below its bubble point in the sand-face to maintain completion stability around the well bore (Ahmed, 2011).

Well fluids above bubble point pressure exist as a single phase as it is being produced from the reservoir.

However, as they navigate their way through the network of interconnected pores in the reservoir to the well bore, there is a continuous reduction in pressure as overburden stress is gradually reduced.


Mohammed Zangana, (2011), “Film Behavior of Vertical Gas-Liquid Flow in a Large Diameter Pipe”. Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering, University of Nottingham, UK.

M.Zangana, G.P. Van der Meulen and B.J.Azzopardi (2010), “The Effect of Gas and Liquid Velocities on Frictional Pressure Drop in Two Phase Flow for Large Diameter Vertical Pipe”. Process and Environmental Engineering Research Division, Faculty of Engineering, University of Nottingham, UK.

Gabor Takacs, (2001), “Considerations on the Selection of an Optimum Vertical Multiphase Pressure Drop Prediction Model for Oil Wells”. University of Miskolc, Hungary.

Mars Khasanov, Rinat Khabibullin, Vitaly Krasnov, Alexander Pashali, and Slava Guk, (2007), “A Simple Mechanistic Model for Void Fraction and Pressure Gradient Prediction in Vertical and Inclined Gas/Liquid Flow”. Rosneft Oil Company.

Poettmann and Carpenter (1952), “The Multi-phase Flow of Gas, Oil, and Water through Vertical Flow String with Application to the Design of Gas-lift Installations” Philips Company, Okla.

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