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Multiphase Flow Laboratory

Multiphase Flow Laboratory

SINTEF Multiphase Flow Laboratory is one of the world's largest multiphase test facilities.

We provide world leading expertise within multiphase technology and a wide range of excellent experimental facilities for R&D applications as well as testing and verification of downhole, subsea and topside equipment and tools.

Our key expertise and focus is flow assurance – the successful transport of produced fluids from the reservoir to the final processing facility

Why choose SINTEF?

  • We have more than 30 year experience in professional testing and experimental work
  • We have an infrastructure able to:
    • Handle equipment in a broad range of sizes up to full industrial scale
    • Handle Ex requirements
  • We have a near-perfect HSE (HMS) record
The extended Tiller facility. Photo: SINTEF/Thor Nielsen

SINTEF Multiphase Flow Laboratory consists of different facilities that can be adapted based on the needs of our clients.

Published 10 July 2017
Laboratory Manager

The Large scale loop

The Large Scale Loop is an industrial-sized three-phase flow laboratory. The capabilities cover a wide range of industry conditions to allow studies of all major flow challenges during production.

This test facility, the largest of its kind, has been the foundation for development in subsea oil and gas production in cold environments and over long transportation distances (See the film). The facility process equipment allows flexibility to accommodate customized testing geometries that differ to the standard pipe configuration.

Technical specifications

Large Scale Flow Loop

Operating pressure 5 – 90 barg
Operating temperature 10 – 50°C
Flow rate, gas  2 – 1500 m³/h
Flow rate, oil 0 – 1500 m³/h
Flow rate, water 0 – 200 m³/h
Gas phase Nitrogen (any inert gas)
Oil phase Any clean oil, 0.2 to 200 cP
Water phase Tap water, brine
Near horizontal pipe length (0 to 2.5°) 800 m
Vertical pipe length 55 m
Pipe sizes 8" typically; 4" to 12" available
Material Carbon steel

 Instrumentation:​

  • Flow rates​
  • Temperature​
  • Pressure​
  • Flow visualization​
  • Phase densities​
  • Phase fractions in the test section​
  • Available advanced instrumentation

 Services:​

  • Detailed multiphase flow in transport lines, wells and risers​
  • Independent third- party verification and testing of equipment and sensors (Separators, pumps, valves, DTS, DAS, phase meters)​
  • Evaluation of fluid properties effect in the flow (Viscosity, Density, surface tension)​
  • Design of custom facilities​

The medium scale loop

The Medium Scale Loop is located indoor in a 60 m long laboratory hall. This is a 3-phase flow test facility that includes an 11 m³ separator that provides long retention times so that less easily separable fluids, such as viscous oils can be used. In addition by using SF6 as the gas phase, gas densities equal to that of methane at 88 bar can be reached. The use of crude oils with flash point higher than ambient temperature can be tested allowing testing closer to field conditions.​

This facility allows the study of multiphase flow in much greater detail than what is possible in the Large Scale Loop. For example: oil droplets, gas entrainment into oil and droplet entrainment into the gas phase, may be studied in this facility. ​

The testing geometry is decided by the client within the loop capacity.​

multiphase flow laboratory SINTEF, medium scale loop,
Multiphase flow laboratory at SINTEF, the medium scale loop.

Technical specifications

Medium Scale Flow Loop

Operating pressure 1 – 12 barg
Operating temperature Ambient, limits 5 – 50°C
Flow rate, gas  2 – 160 Am³/h
Flow rate, oil 0.1 – 80 m³/h
Flow rate, water 0.1 – 120 m³/h
Gas phase Nitrogen, air, sulphur hexafluoride (any inert gas)
Oil phase Any non-flammable, clean oil
Water phase Tap water, brine
Near horizontal pipe length Up to 200 m
Inclinations -4 to 4°
Pipe sizes Ideal size 3"; 2.5" to 5" available
Vertical pipe length 35 m
Material Stainless steel

 Measurements:​

  • Flow rates​
  • Temperature​
  • Pressure​
  • Flow visualization​
  • Phase densities​
  • Phase fractions in the test section​
  • Phase fractions profile in the separator ​
  • Available advanced instrumentation

 Services:​

  • Detailed multiphase flow in transport lines and wells​
  • Independent third- party verification and testing of equipment and sensors (i.e. Separators, pumps, valves, DTS, DAS, phase meters)​
  • Evaluation of fluid properties effect in the flow (Viscosity, Density, surface tension)​
  • Design of custom facilities

The safety cells

 The laboratory for experiments that are explosive and poisonous. Different setups can be built within the Safety cells. Some of the features of the cells are:​

  • Safe drain and vent​
  • Gas detection​
  • Temperature controlled chambers​
  • Instrumentation and logging infrastructure​
  • Gas distribution​

Currently the following test facilities are built using the building infrastructure​

  • The small scale loop​
  • The wheels​
  • The plug-index cell
Multiphase flow laboratory at SINTEF, the safety cells
Multiphase flow laboratory at SINTEF, the safety cells.

The small scale loop

The small scale loop allows work on high pressure high-temperature (HPHT) fluids. In the past has been used mainly for hydrate studies specifically for demonstration and development of the cold flow technology​

  • ​The test loop consists of a 50m long 1" pipe distributed in 7 straight 6 m long 1" stainless steel sections. Three of these can be set to an inclination between 0 and 45°, one going up and one going down for studying complex geometries​
  • It is possible to set up a 3-4m high 1" vertical section​
  • The test loop can be pressurized up to 100bar, and is inside a temperature-controlled room from -10ºC to +50ºC​
  • The loop is well suited for CO2 transport studies. The temperature and pressure range covers both two-phase region and the supercritical region​

Technical specifications

Small Scale Flow Loop

Operating pressure 1 – 90 barg
Operating temperature -10 – 80°C
Flow rate, gas  0 – 8 Am³/h
Flow rate, oil 0 – 5 m³/h
Flow rate, water 0 – 5 m³/h
Gas phase Any non-corrosive gas
Oil phase Any crude or refined oil
Water phase Any water chemistry
Near horizontal pipe length (0 to 2.5°) 50 m
Vertical pipe length 2 m
Pipe sizes 1" 
Material Stainless steel
Multiphase flow laboratory at SINTEF, the small scale loop
Multiphase flow laboratory at SINTEF, the small scale loop

The wheel flow loops

This test facility consists of a steel pipe manufactured as closed hoop. The wheel is installed in vertical orientation and mounted on a shaft, which is rotated by an engine. The flow is driven by gravity, thus no pump or compressor is required. The fluids inside the wheel "see" an endless pipe through which they flow as multiphase mixture. All wheels are equipped with a torque sensor. Visual observation is possible for individual wheels. Placed in a climate chamber, temperature can be controlled precisely​.

Services:​

  • Screening of production chemicals (Such as hydrate inhibitors, demulisifiers, drag reducers)​
  • Hydrate management: Long-term evalaution of plugging risk or deposition under restart, shut-in or transport situations ​
  • Study of timescales for flow development (formation and separation of emulsions)​
  • Study of stability of drilling fluids (realistic PVT)​
The wheel flow loops, Multiphase flow laboratory at SINTEF

 Measurements:​

  • Temperature​
  • Pressure​
  • Flow visualization​
  • Velocity​
  • Torque​

The wetting index cell​

This test facility provides an easy and fast way to understand the risk of hydrate agglomeration. ​

The plug index (Wetting index) is a crude oil (or condensate) parameter. It is a quantitative measure of the tendency of an oil to form agglomerating/plugging gas ydrates. Thus the PI parameter can be used for evaluation of the anti-agglomerating properties of oils, either as an indigenous oil property or as a result of chemical additives​

Background​
It has been found that the formation of hydrate dispersions can be related to hydrate wettability, i.e. the tendency of water or oil to spread on or adhere to the hydrate surface. Oil-wet behavior generally promotes dispersions that can easily be transported within the fluid flow, while water-wet behavior promotes agglomerating and plugging hydrate systems. For oil/brine/hydrate systems, the hydrate wettability, and thus the hydrate plugging tendency of the oil, can be quantitatively determined by the pluging index PI​.

Recent publications

Contact

Multiphase Flow Laboratory (Tiller)

Postal address:
P.O. Box 4763 Torgarden, NO-7465 Trondheim
Visiting address:
Tillerbruvegen 200, NO-7092 Trondheim
Phone: +47 464 17 000