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Water Wetting Joint Industry Project (WW-JIP)

Background | Wettability Measurements | Deliverables | Papers

Please contact Luciano Paolinelli for more information on the WW-JIP.

Background
Internal corrosion of oil and gas wells and pipelines made from carbon steel is associated with the presence of water on the pipeline surface. When the circumference of the pipe is fully coated with oil, corrosion will not occur. Increased knowledge of water wetting can increase the confidence of the corrosion engineers and operators on the integrity of the pipeline and can decrease the cost associated with corrosion mitigation.

The factors that contribute to water wetting in pipelines are both hydrodynamical and chemical. Higher oil flow rates and heavier, more viscous oils will have a less tendency for water wetting, while low oil flow rates, light oils and large diameter pipelines are associated with a greater tendency for water wetting. Furthermore, surface active components from the oil, either naturally occurring or added as inhibitors, can alter the wettability of the steel surface, so that it is less likely to be wetted with water, even under less desirable hydrodynamical circumstances.

Wettability Measurements
The Institute for Corrosion and Multiphase Technology (ICMT) has built an extensive knowledge of the water wetting phenomena starting in 2004. In the first phase of the project, the emphasis was on two-phase oil-water flow and in the second phase, which started in November 2009, the emphasis is on three-phase, oil-water-gas flow. The introduction of the third phase (gas) has a tremendous effect on the distribution of liquids on the circumference, and has an extensive effect on water wetting. Knowledge of the wettability of three-phase flow has a special importance for wells, both horizontal and vertical.



Figure 1. The three-phase flow loop is mounted on an inclinable rig, allowing for multiphase and wettability measurements at various inclinations (0°±90°).

In order to investigate multiphase flows, the ICMT employs a 4” inclinable flow rig, which allows for measurements to be performed at horizontal, inclined or vertical orientation, in both upwards, and downwards facing flows. The wettability is assessed using conductivity probes, which detect conductivity at the steel surface. Complimentary measurement techniques include fluid sampling, ER-probes, traversing inductance probe and measurements of changes in the concentration of iron, which only occurs if water can wet the pipe surface.

Figure 2. The doughnut cell allows for small scale testing of wettability in two-phase oil-water flow. Animation courtesy of Dan Li.

A small-scale benchtop apparatus has been developed and tested at the ICMT to simulate pipeline flow. This apparatus is named “Doughnut Cell” and makes it possible to conduct two-phase, oil-water flow testing at a much smaller scale than the flow loop testing. As an example, doughnut cell tests take only about 2 gallons of oil, compared to 850 gallons for the flow loop test. Water wetting in two-phase system can therefore be simulated much quicker and in a much less expensive manner.

Deliverables

  • Improved understanding of water wetting and the key factors affecting it
  • A small scale benchtop apparatus for testing of water wetting
  • A costume wettability assessment for particular crude oils
  • Full reports (every six months) documenting the results, analysis and outlining future work
  • A database of water wetting and multiphase flow data which can be made available to other software developers under by special agreement
  • State-of-the-art model of water wetting in oil/water two- and gas/oil/water three phase flows

Papers


Ohio University
Russ College of Engineering
Department of Chemical Engineering
Institute for Corrosion

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Institute for Corrosion and Multiphase Technology
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342 West State Street
Athens, Ohio 45701
Telephone: 740-593-0283
Fax: 740-593-9949