Flow Loop Evaluation of Friction Reducer Performance


A properly designed friction reducer (FR) system provides technical and economic performance that exceeds conventional FR systems in the oil and gas industry, particularly when using recycled produced water.  RJ Lee Group provides flow loop evaluations of friction reducer performance that are free of conflict of interest issues associated with of chemical or completion service contracts.

Controlled evaluation of friction reducers by a single, independent laboratory enables valid and accurate comparison of FR performance that is not possible when tests are completed by multiple labs whose flow loops are not designed and operated equivalently.

 

Figure 1. FR XYZ – 0.3 gpt – 33%FW/67%PW

 

Flow loop data provides a means of:

  • Comparing FRs from the same or different vendors
  • Evaluating FR performance in different water matrices
  • Evaluating the effect of other additives on FR performance
  • Minimizing FR dosage required for a specified friction reduction
  • Maximizing the volume of produced water in produced water/fresh water blended fluids

 

 

Figure 2. Comparison of FR performance for Multiple Tests

The RJ Lee Group flow loop is constructed of a progressive cavity pump and speed controller that produces flow rates ranging from 5 to 50 gpm.  The pressure drop across a section of polished stainless steel tubing in the presence and in the absence of a FR is measured to assess the magnitude of friction reduction.  The flow loop system is capable of achieving Reynold’s Numbers from approximately 25,000 to 300,000.  The ability to provide FR measurements at Reynold’s Numbers exceeding 125,000 provides a more accurate simulation of field conditions than can be provided by many competitors.   Both instrument control and data logging are executed through a microcontroller and custom-developed software.  Reports include the friction reduction data and profile for each test (Figure 1) and a comparison of friction reduction for multiple test conditions (Figure 2).

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Vincent B. Conrad, Ph.D.

About Vincent B. Conrad, Ph.D.

Dr. Vince Conrad is a Consulting Scientist at RJ Lee Group, where he is responsible for coordinating the development of laboratory/technical services and implementation of projects to address the constantly changing needs of the coal, gas, power generation, and water industries. As former Director of Technical Services at CONSOL Energy (R&D), Dr. Conrad used his analytical chemistry background to resolve environmental, maintenance, safety, and supply chain management issues and worked with engineers to develop new processes and procedures to solve operational, environmental, and maintenance problems.  
 
Dr. Conrad has more than thirty years of experience directing laboratory support for technical service projects including characterization of Marcellus flowback and produced water, implementing proactive maintenance support for mining equipment, and coordinating analytical support for coal mine fires as well as for research projects that evaluated priority pollutants, fine particulate, mercury, and trace element emissions from power plants.  
 
Dr. Conrad received his bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from the Indiana University of Pennsylvania and his doctorate in Analytical Chemistry from the University of Tennessee. He has published in peer-reviewed journals and presented numerous papers at professional symposia.

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