Overview of Important Considerations in Wet Gas Compression Testing and Analysis
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During upstream production of natural gas fields, it is common that a gas-liquid mixture of product is brought to the surface. The mixture, termed wet gas, is generally made up of mostly gas with a small amount of liquid, typically up to 5% by volume of the mixture. Because of the difficulties of compressing wet gas, the practical approach has been to separate the liquid and gas phases before compression. However, large separation equipment is unfavorable for subsea installations because of the cost to place machinery on the sea floor. Instead, a compressor designed for wet gas operation is preferred because it eliminates the need for large separation equipment leading to plant simplification and cost reduction. To address this design need, researchers have been active in addressing the challenges with wet gas compression. As result, experimental work has been conducted to study the effects of wet gas on compressor aerodynamic and mechanical performance. This experimental research has presented many challenges in recreating wet gas conditions and quantifying the effect of the liquid on the compressor performance. The results from this testing have helped to characterize the performance effects. But so far each work has focused on a range of test variables without identifying those that have the largest effect on compressor performance. This paper aims to provide the reader with an overview of the completed wet gas research, the challenges associated with doing the experimental work, and a discussion of the resulting trends observed in most of the wet gas research. This will include an in-depth review of relevant literature on wet gas compression testing and performance, a discussion of the important research topics in wet gas compression, and a description on how wet gas experiments are set-up, performed, and the challenges associated with that testing. Also, this paper reviews the available test data using a multiple regression analysis to identify the important test variables and their effect on compressor power and pressure ratio. Some of the test parameters that are discussed are inlet pressure and temperature, gas-liquid temperature difference, liquid volume fraction, and speed. The results of the analysis are useful for establishing variables for a future test program to focus on operating conditions with the largest effect on performance. Additionally, the effects of wet gas on machinery performance are discussed relative to machine vibration and seals. Using the observed trends in test data and the knowledge from previous wet gas research, conclusions are presented to guide future analytical and experimental work in the area of wet gas compression.
Musgrove, Grant O.; Poerner, Melissa A.; Cirri, Massimiliano; Bertoneri, Matteo (2014). Overview of Important Considerations in Wet Gas Compression Testing and Analysis. Texas A&M University. Turbomachinery Laboratories. Available electronically from