Modeling Study of Wellbore Vortex Flow and Helical Angle Design of Downhole Vortex Tool

Zhou, Chao (SINOPEC Research Institute of Petroleum Engineering, China University of Petroleum-Beijing) | Zhang, Tongyi (SINOPEC Research Institute of Petroleum Engineering) | Wu, Xiaodong (China University of Petroleum-Beijing) | Zhao, Fei (Engineering Technology Research Institute of Huabei Oilfield Company) | Xiong, Xiaofei (China University of Petroleum-Beijing)

OnePetro 

Abstract

Vortex drainage gas recovery is a new drainage gas recovery technology. However, its operating mechanism has not been figured out. Theoretical analysis of force condition of the liquid film in the wellbore vortex flow field is still lacking, and dynamic analysis method of the liquid film is not established. The objective of the proposed paper is to establish the liquid film dynamic analysis model and calculate the optimal helical angle of the vortex tool. Dynamic analysis of the liquid film in the wellbore vortex flow field is carried out on the basis of the flow pattern and force condition of the liquid film. Expression of each acting force is determined and the force equilibrium equation is obtained. Referring to the annular flow theory, friction coefficient and average thickness of the liquid film are calculated. Through derivation of the vertical resultant force equation of the liquid film, the optimal helical angle of the vortex tool is obtained. Then, vortex tools were designed and deployed in the wellbore of a gas well in field. Field study shows that the relative difference of the optimal helical angle obtained by liquid film dynamic analysis relative to that obtained by numerical simulation is less than 4%. The optimal helical angle calculated by the liquid film dynamic analysis model is reliable and provides guidance for the structure optimization of vortex tools. Optimal helical angle would increase with well depth decreases because of enhancement of fluid-carrying capability of the gas. The liquid film dynamic analysis model can reasonably explain the motion and force condition of the liquid phase in the wellbore vortex flow. Compared with the conventional annular flow field, vortex flow filed includes additional centrifugal force on the liquid film, which may benefit the upward motion of the liquid film. The liquid film dynamic analysis model in the wellbore vortex flow field and the formula for calculating the optimal helical angle of the vortex tool are established for the first time, whose results fill the gap in existing studies and have a guiding significance for optimization design and field application of vortex tools.