Flowpro Insight - a 3-phase flow simulator of wellbore completions – case study


Customer profile: FlowPro is a Norweigan company providing software for inflow control for petroleum industry.

We have developed numerical software (both simulation algorithms and the GUI) for studying 3-phase flow in the wellbores.

flowpro quickersim numerical simulationProject challenge: 

One of the key problems in the production of oil from reservoirs is the management of water and gas. Although the phases are segregated and the wellbore is drilled at a level ensuring immersion in the oil fraction, the pressure distribution resulting from producing oil also draws gas and water (presented in Fig.).

The wellbore consists of a main bore connected with the oil rig and a surrounding annulus - both regions are connected via devices controlling the inflow phase composition.  Therefore, to maximize oil production, appropriate devices have to be chosen to limit the flow of other fractions.


Customer’s expectations: 

Flowpro Dynamics decided to develop a dedicated simulation tool to address this problem.  The tool was aimed at two use cases:  

Transient analysis of flow in the wellbore for a specific set of reservoir boundary conditions. 

Derivation of so-called pseudo-valve models which characterize the relation between flowrate and pressure drop in a wellbore zone. In this scenario, a grid of simulation cases with different boundary condition values is used to obtain an upscaled model of a wellbore zone. 

The goal of implementing such a tool was to help engineers select the optimal number, position and type of valve for a specific wellbore and reservoir at a low computational cost. Using general-purpose CFD would not be meet these criteria due to the size of the required mesh (approx. > 60 000 000 cells) and the need for transient modelling of multiphase flow.  


Solution we provided:

Considering all the above, we proposed a solution based on 1-D multiphase flow models. This approach has allowed us to capture all the phenomena of interest at a very low computational cost – a transient simulation of a wellbore zone can typically be simulated in a couple of minutes on a PC. It also lends itself well to computing grids of cases that in turn can be used to derive upscaled models of wellbore zones. In example, a study consisting of approx. 700 cases can be completed within 2-3 hours using a 64-core CPU. 

The simulation routines have been highly automated, therefore performing completion analysis does not require expert knowledge in the field of CFD, nor does it involve a lot of configuration work. Furthermore, over time the MATLAB-based tool was transformed into a desktop application with a graphical user interface, further improving user experience. 


Customer's benefits:

Flowpro Insight - the end result of the described effort – is a simulation application that is highly tailored to the needs of oil & gas engineers. It allows to perform advanced wellbore analysis without writing simulation and post-processing scripts, and at a fraction of the cost of using CFD. Namely, it helps in the following tasks: 

  • Predicting the flow characteristics of wellbores completed with inflow control devices. 
  • Comparing the performance of different inflow control devices. 
  • Improving oil recovery, and reducing water and gas production. 

Flowpro Insight has received positive feedback from the petroleum industry and has already been adopted by several companies. To learn more about the product, visit: https://www.flowprodynamics.com/insight. 

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